How to stop your pet from scratching doors?

November 27, 2023

Do you frequently find yourself exasperated about scratches on your doors? Is it your pet dog or cat that is indulging in this disruptive behavior? Many pet owners find themselves in a puzzling situation when their pets, especially cats and dogs, start exhibiting aggressive behavior like scratching doors. As a pet owner, you are responsible for the health and behavior of your pets. This article will guide you through methods to stop your dog or cat from scratching your doors.

Understanding the Behavior

Before you can effectively manage your pet’s behavior, it’s critical to comprehend why your cat or dog is acting this way. Scratching is a natural behavior for many pets, especially cats. It is a way for them to mark their territory, exercise their bodies and claws, and relieve frustration or anxiety. Your dog, on the other hand, might scratch at the door to get your attention, or because it wants to go outside.

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Understanding the Behavior

Nevertheless, this behavior can lead to numerous scratches on your door, which not only deteriorates its appearance but may also cost you a significant amount of money for repair or replacement. Thus, it’s essential to manage this behavior effectively.

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Approaches to Stop Your Pet from Scratching Doors

The methods you use to stop your pet from scratching doors will often depend on why it’s behaving this way. If your pet is anxious, providing a calming environment can help. If it’s trying to get your attention, you can attempt to ignore the behavior until it stops.

Training Your Pet

Use of Scratch Guards

One immediate solution to prevent further damage to your doors is to install a scratch guard. A scratch guard is a plastic or vinyl shield that covers the lower portion of your door, where pets typically scratch. It doesn’t prevent the scratching behavior, but it does protect your door from further damage. You can easily find a variety of scratch guards online or at your local pet store.

Training Your Pet

If you are looking to change your pet’s behavior entirely, training is the best approach. You can begin by training your pet to use a scratch post. This is an object that is designed specifically for pets to scratch, keeping them away from your doors and furniture.

For dogs, obedience training can be particularly effective. This could involve teaching your dog to sit or stay when it approaches the door, rather than scratch. Remember, consistency and patience are key in training pets.

Diverting Their Attention

Another approach to stop your pet from scratching doors is by diverting their attention to other activities. This could include toys, puzzles, or even another room. Keeping your pets busy and mentally stimulated can greatly reduce their need for scratching.

Divert Their Attention

Professional Help

If you’ve tried various methods and your pet continues to scratch doors relentlessly, it might be time to seek professional help. A professional trainer or a pet behaviorist will have the knowledge and experience to assess your pet’s behavior, identify the cause and provide a solution that’s tailored to your pet.

Preventative Measures

While you’re working on changing your pet’s behavior, there are preventative measures you can take to protect your doors from further scratches.

Preventative Measures

Regular Exercise

Pets, especially dogs, require regular exercise to release their energy. If they are not getting enough physical stimulation, they may resort to scratching doors out of boredom or frustration. A simple solution would be to take your dog for a walk or play with your cat regularly.

Regular Nail Trimming

Regular nail trimming can also help to minimize the damage caused by your pet’s scratching. When your pet’s nails are sharp and long, they can easily leave deep scratches on your door. Regular nail trimming can reduce the severity of these scratches.

Use of Deterrents

Lastly, you can use deterrents to discourage your pet from scratching the doors. These could include a pet-friendly anti-scratch spray, which you can apply to the door, or vinyl caps for your cat’s claws.

Remember, each pet is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. It will take time, patience, and effort, but with these strategies, you can stop your pet from scratching your doors and maintain the beauty and integrity of your home.

Using Corrective Techniques

Understanding the right corrective techniques can be pivotal in curbing your pet’s inclination towards scratching doors. Reprimanding or punishing your pet for this natural behaviour is not the right approach. It is very important to remember that we need to use positive reinforcement methods instead.

Corrective Techniques

One of the most effective ways is to reward your pet every time they refrain from scratching the door. So, when you catch your dog or cat approaching the door but not scratching it, give them a treat or praise them for their good behaviour. This will instil a positive association and over time, it will be conditioned to avoid scratching the door.

A clicker can be a fantastic training device for this purpose. The clicker is a small device that makes a distinct "click" sound when pressed. Every time your pet behaves correctly, you can press the clicker and then give them a reward. Eventually, your pet will associate the sound of the clicker with good behaviour.

A pet deterrent is another effective method. You can use a pet-friendly anti-scratch spray or a scat mat that delivers a mild static pulse when your pet steps on it. These harmless yet uncomfortable experiences can discourage your pet from scratching your door.


Scratching doors is a common issue among pet owners. While it can be frustrating and potentially costly, understanding that this behavior is typically a signal of your pet’s needs can help you address it effectively. Whether it’s your dog or your cat, offering a substitute like a scratching post, providing enough mental and physical stimulation, and using corrective techniques can help deter them from scratching door surfaces.


Patience and consistency are key to success in any form of pet training. Always remember, harsh reprimands can lead to fear and anxiety in your pet, which might make the situation worse. Instead, positive reinforcement and professional help when needed can guide your pet to adopt better habits.

Scratching is a natural behaviour for pets especially when they want to communicate something to us. Decoding this and responding appropriately can help you maintain a harmonious relationship with your pet, while preserving the beauty and integrity of your home.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that every pet is different. This means that solutions that work for one pet might not work for another. Therefore, it may be a process of trial and error until you find what works best for your pet. But with time, patience, and consistency, you can certainly stop your pet from scratching your doors.