How To Stop Dog From Scratching Door – 6 Easy Ways

Many pet owners have a problem with their dogs scratching the doors of their homes. Although it may seem like your dog is trying to damage your property, this behavior could be a way for them to communicate with you.

So how can you stop your dog from scratching at the door?

In today’s article, you will discover how to stop your dog from this unwanted behavior in just 6 easy ways. So let’s get started…

Why Does My Dog Scratch The Door?

Your dog could be scratching the door as a way to communicate with you. It may be out of boredom or many other reasons. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.


If your dog is bored, one thing you could do to stop them from scratching is to play with them more. If your pup doesn’t get enough exercise each day they can become restless and start to act out in ways that they normally wouldn’t.

Separation Anxiety

If your dog is scratching the door when you leave, it could be a sign of separation anxiety.

dog lying near the door

Try to find ways to keep them occupied while you’re away and make sure that they have enough chew toys for their age and breed.

The simplest way to stop this is to get a crate and begin crate training your pup so they can enjoy their time in there while you’re away.

Physical Needs

If your dog starts scratching at the door when you’re home, this may be a sign that they need to go outside and do their business.

By getting them on a schedule and taking them out each time, your pup will understand what to expect and will stop scratching the door for attention.

Crave Attention

Dogs are pack animals, and they crave attention from their owner. If your dog scratches the door without any apparent reason, it may be trying to tell you that it wants to play with you.

Want To Go Outside

If you have a puppy, they may be scratching the door to tell you that they need to go outside for a walk. So whenever possible, take your puppy out before it becomes an issue.

Why Is My Dog Scratching Only At Night?

If your dog is scratching the door at night, it may be due to a few reasons.

It could be anxiety or noise.

It could be that there’s something outside that they want to go and check out, or they’ve been woken up from their sleep.

Try closing the curtains when the night falls to keep light from shining through the windows in your home, which will teach your pup that it’s time to rest.

How To Stop Dog From Scratching Door – 6 Easy Steps

It is your responsibility to find the best communication methods for your dog and you. These 6 easy steps are a great way on how to stop your dog from scratching the door.

Install A Doggie Door

If your home doesn’t have a doggy door, get one installed so that your dog can go in and out of the house whenever they please.

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This will help you stop worrying about your dog scratching the door and keep them happy at the same time.

Construct A Barrier

A baby or dog gate can be used to make a barrier. It is as simple as placing the gate into the doorway. This method takes only a few minutes to construct.

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The barrier will stop your dog from leaving the room but still allow them to see, making them comfortable.

Don’t Reward Unwanted Behavior

This may seem obvious, but don’t reward your dog for scratching the door.

If you let them out every time they scratch then this behavior will continue. If you make a rule that only certain actions will get them what they want, they’ll begin to understand more.

Firmly Say “NO” But Without Yelling

Yelling will only make your dog afraid and anxious, and they may begin to avoid you entirely.

If you firmly say “NO” but without yelling, this can stop your dog from scratching the door.

Prevent Separation Anxiety (Teach Healthy Separation)

If your dog is scratching the door because of separation anxiety, they need to be taught and understand that you always come back.

Teach them that you will return and build their trust with this routine, so they know it’s safe to relax without you there.

Use Chew-proof Door

Get a chew-proof door so that their claws and teeth can’t scratch the doors. This will avoid any further damage and help them learn where it’s safe to scratch.

How To Stop Your Dog From Scratching The Door At Night

Hearing your dog scratching the door at night can be anxious for both you and your dog.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can handle the situation. Here are some methods that have worked for me…

Create A Good Schedule For Your Dog

By creating a good schedule for your dog, you’ll be able to take them out before they have to do their business and give them attention when it’s needed.

This will cure their behavior of scratching the door at night for attention.

Reduce His Anxiety

I remember one time, I was getting my dog ready to go to bed when he overheard noise from outside. He began to whine and scratch the door so much that I couldn’t get him to stop!

This may seem like a small thing, but it can be a big problem if you’re not careful. Make sure your dog is in a calm and relaxed state before you put them to bed or they go asleep.

Firmly Say To Go To Bed

This should tell them it’s not a good time for playtime and they need to sleep. Having a routine will stop the behavior from occurring in general. By being firm but not yelling, your dog should follow your orders.

Give Him Plenty Of Exercise And Games During The Day

This will help you stop your dog from scratching the door at night since they’ll be so exhausted and ready to go to sleep. When dogs are in a deep sleep, they won’t wake up in the middle of the night and scratch on doors in order to get attention.

Keeping them entertained with things such as chew sticks, fluffy toys, and other games throughout the day also tires them out.

Use Positive Reinforcement (Don’t Punish Him For Scratching At Night)

When you stop your dog from scratching the door at night, don’t punish him. They will soon learn that you’re angry when they scratch on the door, and this isn’t right at all.

Instead, reward only when your dog is calm (and not scratching) so that he’ll learn what it’s like to be rewarded.

How To Stop Your Dog From Scratching The Door When You Leave The House

When you go to work or leave your dog in the house for hours, they’ll want some kind of entertainment so they can start scratching at the door.

dog looking outside the glass door

They may also be scared when you’re gone and need to know that everything’s okay.

Here are a few ways that I am regularly practicing.

Address His Emotional Needs

When you’re gone, your dog’s emotional needs will go unfulfilled. You should make sure they get sufficient attention and playtime before or after you leave the house for a period of time.

Reduce Separation Anxiety

If your dog has separation anxiety, you’ll need to spend more time getting it used to being home alone and reducing its anxious feelings.

Build up their confidence and reduce their fears by using positive reinforcement such as treats, games, and toys. Make sure they’re calm before you leave the house for this to work well.

Help Him Stay Calm Before Going Out

If your dog gets too excited and anxious right before you go out, it will make them unable to stay calm when you’re gone.

You can help reduce their anxiety by playing games and activities to keep them busy before leaving the house.

Dangers Of Dogs Scratching Doors

  • Splinters – Just like with humans, a dog’s nails can break and cause splinters. This can be painful and will need medical attention just like us.
  • Broken nails – If your dog’s nails are too long, they can break when scratching the door. This is not only painful but also dangerous if the broken nail goes through the skin.
  • Bloody paws A dog’s paws can bleed if they’re cut or injured by scratching the door. This can be serious depending on the injury, and they’ll need medical attention.
  • Damaged teeth and gums – Dogs can get tooth and gum problems if they gnaw on doorknobs or scratch doors. You’ll need to make sure they get regular checkups at the vet, so you know when there’s a problem.


If your dog is scratching the door, it may be a sign that your dog is bored and wants some attention. Make sure that they have plenty of toys to play with during the day.

If your dog has separation anxiety, try to reduce their anxious feelings and build up their confidence to stop them from scratching at the door.

If your dog scratches the door only when you leave the house, try rewarding them for calm behavior before you go out. They should stop if they know they’ll get a reward or something fun later. If all else fails, put a barrier or gate in front of the door.

A few simple steps can make all of the difference.

How are you preventing door scratching by your dog? Tell us your methods!

I hope this article has helped you learn how to stop your dog from scratching at the door. Don’t forget to share it if you know someone who could benefit from reading it!

Thanks for visiting!

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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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