Why does a dog scratch the door? Humans have been living with dogs for thousands of years and have learned; that our furry friends express their emotions and needs in a very different way than we do. This is why we should never punish or try to solve a behavior problem without knowing the origin of it.
Here we tell you some causes that cause a dog to scratch the door; and we tell you how to avoid them.
Know the context of the dog.
To try to correct the dog’s behavior by scratching the door, it is necessary to find out the cause that provokes such behavior.
To do this, we must observe our dog very well and find out in which situations the inappropriate behavior appears. Does the dog scratch a single door or does it do it with all?, does the behavior occur only in the absence of the tutors?, how often does it scratch the door?, how long ago did it begin to do so?
Why does a dog scratch the door?
As with the vast majority of canine behaviors; there is no single reason that can explain why our dog the door; but in this article we present the most frequent.
If you’ve noticed your dog scratching the door when you leave; that is, only when you are left alone at home or when you are not in the same room as your human family; you are very likely to suffer from separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is a behavioral disorder that appears only when the dog is physically separated from one or more of its guardians. In this context, the dog can reach high levels of stress and discomfort that he will try to relieve through behaviors such as scratching the front door of the house; barking or howling continuously, doing his needs in inappropriate places, panting excessively or wandering from one place to another.
All these behaviors are totally involuntary, so we should not punish the dog if, when returning home, we find that he has broken some things.
Dogs learn primarily by association, which means that if a behavior was successful in the past, they tend to repeat it more times.
Have you ever opened the door to your furry after he hit or scratched her with his paws? If so, the dog may have learned to claim your attention or to ask for access to the street, the garden or a room by scratching the door..
Stress or lack of stimulation
Every dog needs to cover a series of needs on a daily basis and we do not refer only to eating, sleeping and going outside to urinate. Depending on their age, breed, physical condition and temperament, each dog will require a daily amount of physical, mental and social stimulation to release energy and improve their well-being.
If our dog does not have any of his needs covered, he may feel frustrated and experience a high level of stress and therefore, will present inappropriate behaviors such as scratching the door insistently.
How to prevent my dog from scratching the door?
Once any health problem has been ruled out, we can start working on the problem through behavior modification. Although, the treatment will be different depending on the cause we have identified. Therefore, the ideal is to have the help of an ethologist or canine educator to support us during the process.
In case you suspect that your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety; it is highly recommended to video record the moments when he is left alone at home. These recordings provide a lot of information, both to tutors and professionals. On the one hand, it allows us to know if our furry has a hard time when he is separated from us and, on the other, it helps us to establish a work plan adapted to our specific case.
Educating the dog
Also, a problematic behavior that arises as a result of a learning process is usually easier to eradicate. In this case, we must stop reinforcing the behavior to, thus, achieve that it ends up extinguishing. That is, if the dog asks us to go outside scratching the door; we have to ignore this behavior and not open the door at that time.
We will wait to do it when the dog performs a more appropriate action; either of his own volition or at our request, for example, waiting seated.
Finally, it is essential to offer our dog enough daily activity to prevent him from suffering stress and releasing the accumulated energy inappropriately. Go out with him to exercise; allow him to explore new environments with peace of mind during the walk; train skills, encourage socialization with other dogs and people, or use products such as refillable toys; puzzles or sniffing mats are ideas that will help our dog to be more relaxed at home and to show more balanced behaviors that; without a doubt, will improve his quality of life.