How to Protect My Door from Dog Scratches?

Does Your Dog Scratch or Jump Up on Your Doors?

How Can You Protect Your Doors from Scratches When Your Dog Won’t Listen…

and Scratches the Door Every Time it Either Wants to Go Out or it Wants to Come In?

This has always been a problem with our dogs, at least up until a few years ago…and, once in awhile, I have to admit they occasionally forget and jump up on the door or door frame still. But, for the most part, they just don’t bother doing it anymore.

Yes, they behave now, but in the past they sure made our home look terrible. Especially if you have a wooden door, which most people do in their homes. But, even with a steel exterior door the frame is usually still wood…and if your dog is scratching at more than one door it can get expensive to replace them all.

Usually the doors that got the most abuse for us was our back door that we usually let our dogs outside from all the time…

Back then, they’d get excited and jump up on the door every time they even thought it was time to go out! So, although they never really scratched too much at the door, they still tore it all up after awhile by jumping on it.

And it looked Terrible!

Both the door and the frame around it were gouged and scratched looking…something that’s an issue for a few of our doorways since there’s actually two doors to go through, one in the kitchen and one in our porch.  They’ll need to be at least fixed up and repainted, along with the door frames…

*btw, I’ll share a video on how to do that at the end of this post.

Ways to Protect Your Door from Scratches

  • Teach your Dog not to jump on doors
  • Daily Exercise
  • Install a scratch or door guard
  • Install a doggy door
  • Let dog out/in before it gets a chance to scratch the door

Proper Training

Dog sitting by feetA good way to avoid having scratches and claw marks on your doors is to teach your dog that you don’t approve of it jumping or scratching at the doors in your home. Of course, this can take some time and patience on your part to get your dog to learn the behavior you want it to have.

Most dogs scratch at the door either to be let in or out, or they accidentally scratch it up by jumping up on the door in their excitement when they know it’s time to go out or maybe even when they’re greeting you at the door.

Another common reason a dog will scratch at the door is separation anxiety. If your dog is scratching the door to follow you in another room, it may be a sign of separation anxiety.

The topic of separation anxiety is a rather complicated one, which you can read more about on an older post of mine here Calm Dog Separation Anxiety.

A Few Tips on Training Your Dog to Stop Scratching the Door When It’s Time to Go Out

  • Stay Calm – don’t make a big deal of letting your dog out
  • Say a firm “no” if you dog jumps up on the door or scratches at it
  • Use positive reinforcement when your dog is doing what you want

Teach your dog it isn’t that big of a deal to go outside by walking calmly to the door with your dog. If your dog is like ours used to be, acting hyper by jumping and running circles around you as you go to the door don’t make them more excited by using a lot of energy in your voice or actions…such as saying in a high-pitched voice “let’s go out” or even yelling at them to “calm down.”

This just makes them more excited and you’re actually encouraging your dog to be excited every time it goes to the door…

Not what you want, right?

Chances are they already know it’s time to go out if they’re doing this…so, what I’ve done is instead take my sweet time to get to the door. If they’re barking and running around like that, I’ll make them wait by going and doing something else. Once I see they’ve settled down a bit, then I’ll start for the door again.

If they happen to scratch or jump up on the door while we’re waiting, just say a firm “no” once or even rattle a can full of coins or small pebbles…something noisy to get their attention. The important thing is to get their focus off of the door and get it on you…make them learn to watch you and wait for you to tell them what you want them to do.

dog sitting by door waitingOnce you do, a good way to get them to learn to be calmer when going out the door is to have them sit down first.

Once they sit, give them a reward, such as “good boy or good girl” and a small treat they like. Then go ahead and open the door.


Daily Exercise

Another good idea is to take your dog out for daily walks. It’s not only good for burning off a little energy for your dog, it’s a good excuse to get some exercise yourself. Some dogs need more walking than others, but at least even a 20-30 minute walk is much better than nothing. Plus, it’s a good opportunity to spend some time with your dog, which will make your dog happy.

I’ve found our dogs to behave much better when I’ve taken them for daily walks, although when they were younger, they had a lot more energy…well, so did I, lol! But, even then, once we got back from our walk, they weren’t quite so rambunctious to jump and scratch at the door when being let out a few hours later.

Install a Scratch or Door Guard

Another thing you can do to prevent your doors from the dogs scratching at them, is to install a door guard made of either heavy plastic or vinyl. There are quite a few different brands and sizes to choose from for different types of doors such as a wood or metal door. Some can even be easily removed if you want to take it off when you have company while others may be a bit harder to remove.

A couple of things to consider before choosing a door guard is the type of door you have, whether it’s wood or metal, or maybe even a glass door. The size of your dog may also be a good thing to think about as well since there are door guards especially for larger dogs, I believe. So, you’d want to think about what size you need and where you need it to cover…just the door? Or, both the door and the trim next to it?

Install a doggy door

Another option is to install a doggy door for your dog. Of course, this may not be an option for you if you don’t already have a fenced in yard for your dog to go outside in safely. I certainly wouldn’t recommend a doggy door that will let your dog out loose to run in the neighborhood or out in the street.

But, if you do have a fenced in yard using a doggy door might help quite a bit in preventing your door from looking like it was attacked by a ferocious beast. This way your dog can come and go as it pleases, and won’t be scratching at the door to be let in or out. Plus, you can install a doggy door yourself if you’re so inclined and want to save money, or hire someone to do it for you.

Oh, and if you rent your home, you might want to ask your landlord if they’ll allow you to install a doggy door first…who knows, maybe they’ll even do it for you or at least reimburse some of the cost…never hurts to ask! But, definitely ask your landlord first about it before doing anything.

Let dog out/in before it gets a chance to scratch the door

If your dog scratches at the door to be let out, try to watch your dog for signs that it needs to go out to go potty. Usually ours will let us know that they need to go out by whining, coming up to us and giving us “the stare,” barking, or doing something to get our attention.

However, we usually let them out pretty often during the day when we’re home. At least every three or four hours since ours are all older dogs now. But, when your dog is still a pup, I’d recommend every couple hours at least, as well as about 15-20 minutes after drinking or eating anything, and upon awakening from a nap.

As puppies, they haven’t yet learned how exactly to let you know yet, but they’re learning! They eventually know where they need to go, and that the door needs to open before they can get out, which is why the door often becomes the victim of scratching and pawing if you’re not careful.

One thing I found helpful to keep our puppies from clawing the door is to use a bell hanging off the doorknob, low enough where they’d bump it…if I heard them rattling it around, I knew they were by the door wanting out.

It’s also a good idea to watch your puppy and learn it’s behaviors. Something puppies usually do before having to go potty is they search for a place to go, so if you see your pup sniffing and circling around the area, it probably is needing to go out.

Anyways, there are quite a few ways to keep your home looking nice even if you have a dog or maybe even a few dogs…even those darn doors can look beautiful again!

Got Scratched up Doors? Here’s How You Can Fix Them Yourself…

Doors are rather expensive, and why buy a new one if you can save some money and fix your old door with a bit of caulking, paint, and some elbow grease… watch the video below to find out how.

It’s hard enough keeping it clean looking with dogs in the home, chasing their furballs, and cleaning up mud, grass, or whatever they may drag in along with them.

And yes, it can get so very depressing to see your nice looking door all scratched to bits…

A door that reminds you of doors you see in horror movies with all the gashes and claw marks all over it…yeah, we’ve been there before!

But, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore!

I hope this post has helped you get some ideas on protecting your doors, and even those door frames, don’t forget those!

Does Your Dog Scratch at the Door? What solutions have you tried to stop it from scratching?

I’d love to hear from you, please let me know if you have any questions or comments in the box below, and as always…

Thanks for reading!

Please share this if you found it helpful or know someone that might find this helpful for their dog…I’d appreciate it and our doggies do too!




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