How to Stop a Dog From Jumping and Scratching on the Door

By Bethany Tate

Identify what’s triggering the bad behavior

The first step in getting your dog to stop jumping on the door or scratching it, is to identify what is triggering the unwanted behavior. What is it your dog is trying to tell you when they start jumping on the door?

Maybe your dog needs to go potty. Maybe they want to go for a walk. It could also be that your dog saw something outside that got them excited and they want to investigate. Your response to your dog’s behavior will depend on what he wants when he jumps on the door. 

Don’t reward your dog when they jump on the door or scratch it

If your dog is jumping and scratching on the door because he wants to go to the bathroom, then it’s probably best to simply take him out and let him relieve himself. If your dog is jumping on the door because he simply wants to go outside then it’s important that you don’t reward his bad behavior.

The next time your dog jumps on the door or scratches it, turn around and calmly walk away or sit down. After doing this for a while your dog will begin to realize that jumping on the door doesn’t give him what he wants. When your dog does start to sit and wait without jumping, calmly praise him. 

If you get too excited in your praise it could lead to the unwanted jumping behavior again. You can also reward your dog with a training treat. After the reward and praise you can leash your dog and go outside. 

Play the open and close door game with your dog

Another training technique you can use is the open and close door game. The rules for this game are pretty simple. If your dog jumps on the door or scratches it the door closes on him. If he waits nicely the door opens. This exercise will teach the dog to associate waiting patiently for the door to open. 

Teach your dog to bark instead of jumping on the door

Another option is training your dog to bark instead of jumping. To do this keep the door shut as long as your dog is jumping or scratching at it. During this time encourage your dog to bark (if you already have an obedience command for this you can use that!). You can try giving him his favorite toy to encourage him to bark. Once your dog barks, calmly praise him and open the door. 

Teach your dog to “mat” instead of jumping or scratching the door

You can also train your dog to “mat” instead of scratching and jumping on the door. For this you’ll need a mat and some training treats. Stand with your dog near the mat and say the command “mat”. 

Point to the dog’s mat and toss a treat on it. The goal here is to teach your dog that when he sits on the mat he gets rewarded. Once your dog has the mat command down you can use it the next time he jumps on the door. Over time your dog will realize that sitting on the mat will allow him to go outside. 

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Bethany Tate
Writing and analyzing data are her superpowers. Dogs, nature, and trail running are her oxygen. Bethany passionately believes pets make the world a better place. Her world is made better by Nemo, her pet dachshund.