15 answers

Dog Scratching Door at Night

I'm a first time dog owner with a 1-yr-old 80 lb mutt (retriever, basset and jack russell we think). We've had him since he was 3 months and he's been great. 1 week to potty train, great with kids, listens pretty well. His 'crate' is actually our laundry room and up until 2 weeks ago he was fine with it. Would spend quiet nights and most of the afternoon there.

But 2 wks ago he started scratching at the door ALL NIGHT. So far we've changed his blanket, then returned his blanket; put in a night light (we thought the bright light might have started bothering him; we ensure he's gotten exercise about two hours before bed (and before we put him in the room all he does is sleep in the hall); and of course we make sure he's gone potty. The only change that has occured in his routine is that I've not been able to exercise him in the morning like we have in the past. He still gets plenty of attention, but we haven't done the run/walk due to child illness.
Anyone have any ideas? Is this a getting older thing? Thanks for your advice.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Some of the problem is most likely that being in there he is isolated from the rest of the family. Dogs are pack animals and they crave the attention of their family. It's going to be even worse if he's in there while ya'll are moving around the house and he can hear you. Is there a reason he was put in there to begin with? Was he a chewer or destructive? Also, is there not any way you can leave him outside on nice days? As long as he has water and shade he will be just fine. He might be more content with being able to run around outside. Hope you are able to find a solution soon.

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Our dogs did better having a gate up rather than closing the door. They could see what was going on & our door didn't get messed up from the scratching. It's worth a try. Good luck. :)

We have two bassett hounds that scratch our door at the same time everyday - Bassetts like to have a routine and they don't forget it very quickly. Once you begin the walk run routine again the scratching will stop.

I would recommend putting him in a crate but then he would probably bark. We put a stake outside and a long tangle free cord with our puppy so she can be out doors in the mornings when kids are at school and chase birds and things at her free will.

Quite a combo for your puppy. If the basset is really a beagle, with the Russell, lots and lots of exercise is needed and no vacation to you. lol

My brother-in-law raised boxers and used an Ariel tie out. His dog loved that. You can buy at Walmart pretty inexpensively. Good luck.

We started having the same problem with our puppy, she is a 6 month old beagle/terrier/heeler mix we think. The issue turned out to be an opposum in the yard. She wanted out to chase the opposum and would get wound up at about 2:30 each morning which is when I guess the varmit was running around. She caught it on Saturday morning to my surprise and brought it to the back door as a present. I hope this helps you out!

Some of the problem is most likely that being in there he is isolated from the rest of the family. Dogs are pack animals and they crave the attention of their family. It's going to be even worse if he's in there while ya'll are moving around the house and he can hear you. Is there a reason he was put in there to begin with? Was he a chewer or destructive? Also, is there not any way you can leave him outside on nice days? As long as he has water and shade he will be just fine. He might be more content with being able to run around outside. Hope you are able to find a solution soon.

As a fellow dog owner and dog lover (worked with many dogs as well) I suggest you take the dog for a short walk just before bedtime (even 20 minutes helps). This takes the edge of the dog and gives him the excercise he really needs.

As Cesar Milan (dog whisperer) always says, daily walks are so necessary to help keep you pet balanced. Also gives the dog a chance to see the 'outer world'..away from backyard boredom.

You may consider a dog walker for 1x/daily walk (charges average around $15)...may be worthwhile.

We had a dog that did this when he was younger. When we inquired about what to do about it we were told the best way to train the behavior out of him would be to make some kind of unpleasant noise or action when he does it. The two ways suggested were to be out of sight of the crate and bang the crate with something, or put some pennies in an empty coke can and rattle it every time he scratches, etc. We were in a small one-bedroom apartment at the time and his crate was in our room. We tried the coke can method first and he would pause the behavior, but not stop. So we opted for the first method and kept an arsenal of shoes next to the bed and simply tossed a shoe at the crate every time he made a racket. Probably took about 4 or 5 shoes the first night, one the next and he was done.

I am not sure if I understand it corectly but if you are locking him in there all night PLUS most of the afternoon he is probably lonely and bored stiff! He is associating the utility room as punishment. He just wants to be with the rest of the family! If he is house trained and not tearing things up,I wouldn't make him stay there any longer. And,I do make my cat stay in the utility room when he stays in at night because he prowls the house at all hours! Doesn't bother him if I let him out as soon as I get up. Also,My little dachshund was crate trained and still stays in it at night. It is her comfort place! So,I guess what I am saying is,what works for some animals doesn't work for all. Good luck.

He would do better and like it better in an actual crate that is in the room with his family. Then he can see you and feel like he is part of the family. Dogs actually like their crates if they are crate trained properly....it becomes their den...their safe place. I would recommend getting a large (like the Great Dane sized) crate and set that up for him in either your bedroom or by your room somewhere so he can feel he is around his family more. If you need tips on crate training, pm me and I would be glad to get you going on that. :) Best of luck and your doggy sounds adorable. I have never heard of that kind of mix before. Love it!

He is missing his 'pack' time. He wants to be with the 'pack'. If his routine has changed and he is not getting the exercise that has something to do with it. If one of the kids is sick, he knows it. Since you are a 1st time dog owner some of the traits are hard to understand. Especially with a mix breed. The basset and retreiver are placid breeds, but the jack russell is the wirey, high strung one. Why is he kept in the crate at night? Does he still chew on things and get into things that are not his? Try letting him out at night, leave the door open to the laundry room so he can go in there. We have 5 big dogs, 3 shepherds, retriever/greyhound mix, & black & tan coon hound mix, the oldest being 10 the youngest being 10 months. The baby goes 'nite-nite' with us and sleeps on our bed until morning. Our retreiver/greyhound has the build of the retreiver and the skidishness and timidness of the greyhound. That is a lot of mass to be jumping around at every little noise. The rest sleep between my son's bed, hallway, our room, and sometime we will hear them in their kennels. He is part of a pack and being seperated from that pack is taking a toll on him. Try to let him out one night and see if that helps. The intervention of the stopping the behavior is good. But remember if it is seperation anxiety, then he is being dog.

My initial reaction is that he wants to be "on-guard" protecting his family at night and he can't do it from where he's at. He may be hearing a big rat in the wall or a squirrel in the attic . . . or, well, you get the idea. A dog's hearing and sense of smell are far superior to ours. If he can't stay out freely and quietly, on a doggie-bed at night, perhaps try moving the crate near one of your beds. If he's scratching on the crate-door, let him out of the crate, then follow him to see if he will lead to whatever it is that may be annoying him.

I used to have a dog that would scratch the back door and I also had a cat once that would scratch on my window screens. I broke both of them by putting water in a squirt bottle. EVERY SINGLE time they would start, I would open the door and squirt them in the face with the water. Animals HATE this. Pretty soon, they figured it out. Scratch...get water in the face. Scratch, get water in the face. The key to it is to be very, very, very consistent. You will break them in no time. Good luck!

HI... do you know that plastic floor rugs/runners you can get with the pointed plastic stuff underneath to hold it in place for a business carpet to keep the carpet clean? go to the hardware store and buy a small one or cut some off a large one and screw it into the bottom of the door, he wont like the pointy things and won't scratch the door. be strong and dont give in, ifyou give in he will learn that the scratching works... be patient. when you no longer need it one the door you can fill in the screw holes and paint over it.

those plastic rug runners are also great to put on couches to train your dog not to jump on the couch when you are not home.

I would also make sure there are planty of toys, KONGS filled with peanut butter/treats, chewy toys to keep him from being to board.

hth
A. J

Hi E.,
I'd suggest putting him in a crate at night (rather than the laundry room) and ensuring that he gets lots of exercise during the day. It sounds like you're doing better than most families and you're walking him at least once a day, but if he has any Jack Russell in him, he's going to need to have an outlet more than once a day. As the dog gets older, you'll probably see him mellow out but in the puppy stages, the best thing you can do for your dog is give him lots and lots of exercise.

Putting him in his own crate will help him feel more secure and if you can put him in your room with you at night so he can see you, you might have better luck.(Though it might be a little unrestful for him at first...and you too!) Having him crate trained will make travel easier too if you ever try to take him or board him somewhere. Plus, it'll save your house.

Just please, don't leave him in there all day and all night. Let him be out and part of the family during the day, exercise him, train him and give him attention. You'll have a much better dog for years to come.

Good luck!
H.

place a sock filled with moth balls on the door. good luck.

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