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Training a dog not to scratch doors

 
 
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 04:35 am
Ok, so I don't want my dog to scratch doors he wants opened. So the first time I locked him outside and he began to scratch I swatted the door from the other side with a flip-flop and he yelped in fear (made me think it was excessive) and stopped. He didn't do it again for a few days and whenever he does he's ignored and stops.

I'm wondering if it's right to use the noise to scare the dog. I didn't want to count on ignoring it and it worked like a charm but I'm wondering if there's a good argument against it or other ways to do it.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 51,074 • Replies: 21
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 04:46 am
Wellll, it's not great. The old pennies in a can trick can be helpful, but if you've got a recalcitrant dog, you end up with a lot of penny-shaking. The doberman mix we had -- we were trying to train him that way -- and it just seemed to come out wrong. The dog was smart and would apply himself if he wanted to. He learned to heel and to lie down far, far faster than any dog RP or I had before or since, but the pennies thing just wasn't working. I think it made him more neurotic and that can come out in destructive behaviors. I don't recommend it although I know some people swear by it.

I can't tell if this is for both I'm in and want to go out and I'm out and want to come in but they should be handled in different ways so I will address them separately.

Here's one idea: give the dog something else to do to tell you he wants in or out. Some people attach a small bell to a length of ribbon and loop it around the front door handle (inside) and leave the bell hanging down. You can train the dog to bat at it with his paw by rewarding him (or use a clicker if you want to go that route) when he sniffs it, then when he touches it, then when he makes a sound with it, etc. It may take a few tries for you to get it so that the dog associates: touch the bell, I get to go out.

If this is happening from the outside, then I'm assuming that you let the dog out into the yard (or to roam freely?) when outside. To get that to stop, you should stop the roaming free behavior, and take the dog for structured walks so that he can do his business. That's a lot safer for the dog, too, as he's considerably less likely to be hit by a car or eat something that could kill him if you have him on a lead and have a control and input into how he spends his outside time.
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 04:51 am
Hmm, I don't know the pennies in a can trick. It sounds like the sound is supposed to scare them?

As to the context of the behavior I don't want him to learn another way to beg in either because it's when he's being left outside. Everything he needs is outside and I don't want to let him in on his terms but rather on ours.

Scaring him that way seems to have to worked, along with making him like the outside area (having a playmate made a big difference).
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 05:34 am
Yeah, the pennies are supposed to bring them up short. But as a human it's not a great way to spend your life -- constantly hearing a penny can shake.

Then the thing I can tell you is: train, train, train. A clicker might be of help, to let him know that not scratching is good. With a lot of dog learning, it's trial and error on their part, so you need to catch them being good and click or praise as that happens, but as you know it has to be just in time or else the dog gets confused and associates the praise, etc. with something you don't want it to be associated with.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 07:24 am
What kind of dog? If the beast has been bred for genes that tell him to dig-dig-dig to get to the prey, the door scratching behavior may literally be in his bones.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 09:20 am
I put indian bells on the back doorknob - I like the sound, and it's a mild burglar alarm - and Pacco would nose the bell, or, if in the room with me, nose my knee, to let him out. He never scratched to get back in, lucky for me.

He did scratch when I had been out and came home, before I got the front porch door open and then the secondary door. Thus I crated him when I went out without him, not often, and never longer than four hours, and always with yard time first. Perhaps I could have trained him out of it, but the redwood was getting ragged...

I can see having a bell or set of bells on the outside of the door too, given that the yard is enclosed. Or, train him to sit or lie down when he wants to come in - unless that would be in the hot sun.
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kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 07:32 pm
well the dog is trying to comunicate with you. and you scould it because it annoys you?

what the heck do you have a dog for?

unless you are concerned about the animal wrecking the door ( and you can aways screw in a brass-dognail-proof plate, let him scratch, you can use the excercise as your pup trains you to open the door whenever he scratches

i guess you have to have had a herd of kuvasz who would take turns scratching my back door and when opened just stare at me and the other dogs until i close it in exasperation, followed by more scratching about 7 minutes later with kuvasz laughing.

or you could use a taser, but it shakes 'em up a little, the small ones.
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 07:35 pm
Robert Gentel wrote:
Everything he needs is outside


Not true. Dogs are social pack animals. If you are not outside, everything he needs is not outside. You can train it out of him though.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 09:01 pm
kuvasz wrote:
what the heck do you have a dog for?


This strikes me as the key question.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 09:32 pm
I think that's unreasonable.


One can love one's animals without being happy when they wreck stuff.

And one can wish one's animal to become accustomed to being outside some of the time, I would think, without being seen not to be an ok pet owner.

Anyhoo, I would prefer to train a dog to yip to come in if it is going to signal, rather than scratch.


I would not open a door to my cats if they climbed on the wire door, but happily open it for them when they came and looked, or squawked if I was not in sight.
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 09:39 pm
I'm a cat guy, but also a realist.

Put a chunk of something he can't tear up on the outside of the door. (ie. a piece of a rubber splash guard).

Work on a different signal to come in, and ignore the current scratching, as it is now not being effective... :wink:

I love my cat...
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 10:15 pm
My cats were perfectly trained not to wake me.


They knew that no amount of fuss made before I open my eyes would get them anywhere...because I made a point of not responding when they were kittens....even if it meant being late for work.


Knew being the operative word......my little Miranda, as sole cat for over a year now, has taken to determinedly trying to wake me. I think it must be when I roll over or something that makes her think I am awake! I am having to do the training all over again! She is utterly determined. She has even taken to making a noise that sounds like barking in my ear...then standing on my chest and putting her nose on mine. Nothing like waking to a bark when you have no dog, followed by a cold wet nose and a whole bunch of prickly whiskers, then opening your eyes to find her blue ones so close you cannot focus on them.



I shall be strong...
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 10:17 pm
Don't you have a Maltese? You need to understand the character traits
of these dogs, and they are not happy when left alone or apart from the
family. Maltese are very companionable dogs, and won't stay outside
alone without making a fuss.
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 10:22 pm
Dlowan, I will not overtake this thread, as it is a dog thread. Cats are ....ummmmm.........eeeerrrr..........like .........OK, let's say kids.

They will constantly seek to gain control unless you make the rules. You are soft.

Stinky would have me home all day, with dinner on demand, if I let him.

Be a STRONG BUNNY. Rolling Eyes
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 10:43 pm
CalamityJane wrote:
Don't you have a Maltese? You need to understand the character traits
of these dogs, and they are not happy when left alone or apart from the
family. Maltese are very companionable dogs, and won't stay outside
alone without making a fuss.



Harry has a kitten friend called Fiona...also a goddam fluffball!




Rockhead...I AM being strong.


Miranda is a midget........it is hilarious that she behaves as though she is so powerful.
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 11:21 pm
And where is Fiona when Harry has to sit his term outside the house?
Is she inside showing him the middle finger?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2007 11:43 pm
CalamityJane wrote:
And where is Fiona when Harry has to sit his term outside the house?
Is she inside showing him the middle finger?



Lol!!! You'd have to ask their owner.


I suspect they are often together out there, though, because they caught a frog together.
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:03 am
I think you've gotten good advice...probably the only that will actually work. Train, train, train, repeat, repeat, repeat, cause and effect, cause and effect, cause and effect.

You ignore the dog scratching he stops. However, you have to give him another way to let you know he wants in. The bell is a good idea if you can get your dog to do it. Mine wouldn't.
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2007 03:02 am
CalamityJane wrote:
Don't you have a Maltese? You need to understand the character traits
of these dogs, and they are not happy when left alone or apart from the
family. Maltese are very companionable dogs, and won't stay outside
alone without making a fuss.


He hasn't needed to be kept outside in weeks, as he's very well potty trained. When he ever is outside he and the cat hang out (sleep/play chase/wrestle) and if he goes and waits by the door the cat usually starts a game that distracts him.

I can't ever put him outside alone now, because the cat needs to be able to get to the little box. In any case, the door scratching isn't an issue anymore.
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cutemama246
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Jun, 2011 08:48 am
@kuvasz,
Wow, this seems harsh. We have a small hobby farm and have 3 dogs (1 lab, 2 St.Bernards). We installed the invisible fence and it works wonders. This way our dogs can be outside with us and not be on a lead (rest assured we also take the time to lead train and them do join us on adventures outside the home to be socialized and shown off). Considering we have provided them with a safe and contained environment I see no reason why I should be taking them out on a lead every time they need to relieve themselves. They don't stay out for extended periods of time and on nice days our patio door stays open and they wander in and out freely the same as the children. Our dogs come in and out our patio door (the front door is outside the fence because it would pose a danger to the dogs if they were to go out that way unleashed). Because of this when our young pup scratches at the door to come in I worry about him ruining our glass door (especially given that soon enough he will be 160+ lbs). I will not put a plate or plywood or anything else on the door so that the dog can continue to scratch it, this is not an acceptable behaviour. I too am struggling with finding a way to correct this (my other two dogs never did this, they've always just barked to come in). I see nothing wrong with my wanting to discourage my pup from scratching at a door. If you think that this is a selfish attitude on the part of the dog owner, and warrants that their right to own a dog be taken away, then does this mean that you are of the opinion that a dog should be allowed to behave however they like? When we're at a public event and my dog is whining to get off the leash, I find this annoying and scold him to stop. Does his mean I shouldn't have a dog? When my dog takes the food from the dog food dish and drags it to the other side of the room making a big mess, this annoys me (I have to clean the mess afterall), so I correct him so that he eats in the area I've given him. Does this mean I shouldn't have a dog? I think that you've been far too harsh. Just because the original poster is looking for a way to stop their dog from scratching the door does not mean they shouldn't own a dog at all. If anything it shows that they are a good pet owner by wanting to have a well behaved and disciplined dog.

I apologize for the long winded post...this one just hit a nerve.
 

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