Make it crystal clear to your dog that scratching the door is an undesirable act. The next time you notice a dog scratching, leave or walk away from the room. Dog’s will sense your disappointment and will think twice when they feel the urge to scratch.
Having said this, never use any forms of anger, violence, or assault to prove your point. Please pay close attention to their emotions and body language. Try to remain calm instead of acting recklessly. Shouting or beating the dog can only make things worse, and it can ruin the love and trust they have in you.
Sometimes they scratch the door while outside as an indicator that they want to come inside. If they are looking at you, you can move to a location where they can’t see. This action makes them understand that scratching the door will not get them in.
Once the dog is calm and stops the scratching, open the door and bring them inside. Feed them treats and reinforce this behavior.
Teach your dog a command to stop scratching. It may take a few repetitions for them to master it. But reward them with tasty treats or comforting words each time they heed to the training.
Positive reinforcement while you train your dog can accelerate their learning process like anything. Teaching the “Stay” or “No” command while you are leaving home or going to work can prove helpful to stop the scratches at the door. Also, giving them some treats when you return can help keep their minds away from loneliness and anxiety.
Providing Objects Of Distraction
Each time you leave home for work or travel, leave them with some dog toys or clothes that smell of you. It will keep them occupied, and your scent on the clothes will ensure they do not miss your presence much.
A good stuffed toy is a sufficient pass-time object for dogs.
Avoid Sources Of Over Excitement
Many dogs scratch or jump around doors due to their excess energy. You can always tone the extra point by engaging them in regular physical exercises or cognitive stimulation games/ dog puzzles.
That will keep them hooked and distracted for hours. Also, regular outdoor workout will keep their energies at optimum levels. After consulting with a professional dog trainer or a registered veterinary doctor, create a workout plan for your dog. Then, implement it as prescribed.
Lack of physical or mental stimulation can build up stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions in your doggo. This, in turn, can act as a trigger to showcase unwanted behavior like scratching of doors or a dog jump.
These were some of the commonly used techniques to avoid door scratching by dogs. Apart from these, some dogs perform repetitive behavior if they have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This is a severe medical condition and should never be taken lightly.
If you notice this behavior to repeat often without any significant reason, we strongly recommend you to seek the help of a vet and get it treated at the earliest. OCD is not something that can be cured in a day. Wait, strictly follow the remedial measures and medications prescribed to notice the benefits gradually. Self-treatment is never a proper solution and must be avoided.
Occasional socialization with other dogs can also work. Enrolling them in doggy daycares can help keep their tensions and separation anxiety in control if you are away the whole day.
Dog therapies can also prove beneficial to your dog. Jimmy, the labrador in our training center, had this exact issue of door scratching. Three months of therapy along with obedience training brought down his OCD symptoms to a great extent. Now he rings a bell each time he needs to go out through the door.