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We have a 9 month old staffy pup. I want to stop his behavior of scratching at the back door.

When people are at home he is generally allowed inside the house.

When there is nobody home (and sometimes on other occasions) he is put into the back yard. When this happens, he bangs and scratches at the back door. He has damaged the wood on the door and the surrounding door frame.

We try not to reward this behavior by letting him in right after he scratches.

But sometimes we do want to let him in. He will hear us coming home to the front of the house and scratch at the back door. In this situation, we have been getting him to sit (which stops him scratching) before letting him in. So what happens now is that he scratches, and then sits when we approach the door.

It's difficult to punish or praise him in this situation, because what he wants is someone to come and talk to him (and let him in). I think he would rather someone telling him "No" than being left alone entirely.

He's house trained, and can sit, stay and heel if nothing too distracting (another dog) is around.

  • I ended up doing this and he stopped scratching: going to the door, opening it, telling him he wasn't allowed in, closing the door and going away again. – WW. Dec 17 '18 at 8:23
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+50

You can wait until a few minutes he finishes scratching to let him in, so he doesn't associate him barking means you'll open the door for him. You're basically teaching him that scratching at the door will in fact NOT let him in.

Right now what you're doing is saying sometimes if he scratches the door it'll get your attention and you'll let him in if he stops when you come.

What you need to show is that scratching will not get his attention, or only negative attention. The most important thing is not letting him in unless he stops without you approaching. Since it seems he scratches knowing you would approach.

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