Although glass doors are great for monitoring your dog when they’re outside in your backyard and up to no good, they’re not so great when it comes to letting them back inside.
As a dog parent, I’m sure we’ve all been there. Your dog is ready to come inside and begins clawing and scratching at the glass door before you can open it.
In this article, I cover a variety of methods that you can use to protect your glass door from dog scratches.
So, let’s get started.
How do you protect a glass door from dog scratches?
There’s nothing more frustrating than scratches and muddy paw prints dirtying your sleek glass doors. Not only does it look untidy, but your dog can actually damage the door if you don’t find a solution.
At best, you’ll have to consider yourself lucky to spend time cleaning the door, and at worst, you’ll have to replace the glass or spend money on expensive repairs if the scratches have caused significant damage.
Stopping your pooch from scratching the glass won’t be easy, and there aren’t any foolproof methods out there. That being said, you need to take steps to protect the glass from your dog, so you’re not left with scratches or need to replace the door eventually.
So, what methods can you use to protect your glass door from dog scratches?
Install a glass door protector
The first method you can try is installing a glass door protector, which works as a transparent shield for your door, meaning that you can still see through the glass, and they don’t alter how your glass door looks from the outside, either.
Scratch screens or glass door protectors are easy to clean and can either hang over a door handle or be fixed to the glass itself to provide a barrier between your dog’s claws and your glass door. Not only are they easy to apply, but they are a relatively inexpensive solution to your dog scratching your glass door!
Apply reflective window film to your glass door
Alternatively, you can try applying reflective window film. To apply reflective window film, simply peel and stick it to the outside of the glass door or patio window, and it acts as a reflective surface. It is worth noting that while this might be effective for some dogs, it may be less effective for others.
For instance, the trigger for some dogs scratching at a glass door is seeing the owner behind it. That being said, when your dog is outside, they won’t be able to see you inside.
Applying reflective window film, then, can be a great solution for dogs that get separation anxiety easily and are scratching to get in because they can see that you’re there and can let them in.
This film is also great for privacy if you live in a built-up area, and means that even when you’re inside, you can still see outside and what your pooch is up to.
Apply protective easy to roll film to your glass door
One method that I’ve heard people get great results with is a transparent and sticky roll on film. All need to do is cut the protective film to size and then smooth it over the glass.
It’s easy to apply and works best if you have a window squeegee to smooth out all the air bubbles and creases along the glass.
Fit a dog flap into the glass door
While this is a preventative measure to take, it is also the most expensive. That being said, ensuring that your dog can always get in and out of your house on their own is the only method that will almost guarantee that your dog stops scratching your glass door – as they’ll have no reason to anymore!
While it is more expensive than the other methods I suggest in this article, it will look much better and less makeshift than any of the other solutions listed above and below. It’s simply a dog flap that can be integrated into your glass doors.
Once it’s fitted correctly, it should look relatively seamless and in-fitting with the design of the glass. Alongside this, having a dog flap will mean that your dog should never scratch at the glass doors again.
As they will have the freedom to come and go as they please, they likely will stop the habit as they won’t need to paw at the glass for your attention and to let them in anymore. That being said, you will need to train your dog how to use the dog flap.
When teaching your dog to use a dog door or flap, the key is to have patience. This is especially important if you have an anxious or fearful pup that seems reluctant to try the door at first – they’ll get there in time and with encouragement. If you get frustrated, it will add to her stress about the doggy door, making the problem worse.
The steps below should help you if your dog is fearful to use the dog flap:
- To begin, start with the flap completely off the door. Call your dog to the door, and when they get close to the door, positively reinforce them with encouraging words and pass a treat through the door to them. Do this on both sides until your dog is familiar with the door.
- Begin holding the treat a few inches away from the door, encouraging your dog to their head through it to get it. When they do, give them the treat and repeat the process over and over again, slowly extending the distance you are holding the treat from the door until they step through it.
- Once they have stepped through the door, wait until they are all the way through to give them a treat. Continue repeating the process until they are confident coming through the door.
- Next, you will want to place the flap back on the door. Your dog might be reluctant at first, but hold the treat out as bait. If you need to, you can go back to basics while they stick their head through the door, slowly reducing the help you give them the more confident they become.
- Once your dog has some experience using the door on their own with you on the other side, keep increasing the distance until they are more comfortable.
- If your dog is still fearful for a few weeks, encourage them only to use the dog flap to get in and out of the house. Leave them on the other side and call them through the door, continuing to reward them with food or praise when they use the door. Over time, they will learn this is the only way through the door and will be able to achieve it without your encouragement or praise.
That being said, the reason why installing a dog flap is more expensive than the other methods is that you’ll not only have to purchase the dog flap but will also need to find a professional to cut the glass and install it, which will means paying them for labor.
Train your dog out of scratching the glass door
In the same breath as training your dog to use a dog flap, you can also try to train them out of scratching your glass door. Dogs learn bad habits if you don’t consistently train them from a young age, so this might not be a viable option if your dog is stubborn and set in their ways.
That being said, it is always worth a try, and you could be surprised by how well your dog reacts to consistent training and positive reinforcement.
This might sound obvious, but the easiest way to train your dog out of a habit is to prevent the habit from starting in the first place.
If you have a puppy that has recently started scratching at your glass door, then this is the time to start putting in the hours to ensure that they learn this is not an acceptable behavior.
Another way to train your dog to stop scratching is to create healthy separation. The trigger for scratching at a glass door is often separation anxiety. This can be trickier for breeds that don’t like to be left alone and will differ between dogs.
That being said, your dog needs to get used to being left alone for periods of time. In order to achieve this, try teaching your dog a solid stay command and leave them on their bed or in different places to you for a period of time.
Your goal should be to reach an advanced level where you can tell your dog to stay while you walk from the yard and into the house.
Then, return to your dog and reward him with treats! This will help build your dog’s self-control and will hopefully stop them scratching at the door due to separation anxiety.
Firmly tell them ‘no.’ This might take time, but your dog needs to be able to respect your commands and recognize what a firm voice means. Although you might use a higher pitch for positive reinforcement, try using a firmer voice when you’re telling them ‘no.’
While you don’t want to give a dog attention for a behavior you do not like, showing your disapproval will be enough to stop some dogs.
That being said, this won’t work for every dog, especially if they are already in the habit of scratching at your glass door, and you may need to use this method in conjunction with another in order for it to work sufficiently.
These methods of training your dog are just a guide, and not every dog is going to respond the same way to each method. You know your dog and their behavior best, so if none of these methods work, then you may need to try another method to fix their scratching behavior.
Fit curtains by the glass door and keep them closed
Another method you can try to prevent your dog from scratching to get in or out of your home is to fit curtains and keep them closed.
That being said, this has limitations in itself in that you will be blocking the light in your house out, and it only really works when the dog is inside the house, preventing a barrier between their claws and the glass door.
However, this could be a good solution that you only use occasionally, especially if you have to head out for longer periods of time. This could potentially prevent your dog from scratching to get out whilst you are out of the house and might be worth a try.
Keep your dog’s nails clipped
If no other methods work, you could always try keeping your dog’s nails clipped. Nail trimming is an essential part of dog grooming, and trimmed nails are one clear sign of your dog’s good health and hygiene, regardless of whether they scratch at your door.
Although some owners find the task too worrisome, others don’t struggle when it comes to trimming their pup’s nails. Bearing this in mind, it’s really down to you and your personal preferences on how you groom your dog’s nails.
That being said, regularly taking your dog to the groomer to have their nails clipped or carefully clipping them yourself is another option you can take to try to keep their scratching to a minimum.
Why do dogs scratch at glass doors?
Your dog could be scratching at your glass door for a variety of reasons. Lots of dogs get into bad habits if they’re not trained properly, and scratching isn’t abnormal, although it can be frustrating.
It could be that they want to get out to go to the bathroom, or simply want to play outside. That being said, some of the most common reasons that a dog will scratch at your glass doors include the following:
Many breeds of dogs experience separation anxiety, especially if they’re consistently being left alone for long periods of time. Research has shown that separation anxiety can seriously affect your dog’s well-being if not addressed.
That being said, you need to make sure that you take the time to train your dog properly when they’re young so that they get used to being left alone when you’re out or are busy.
For instance, you can leave them for short periods of time in the beginning and slowly increase it as they get more comfortable being left alone.
If you think your dog could be suffering from separation anxiety, it’s important that you do your research and address the root of the issue, as failure to do so can lead to more problems than just a scratched glass door!
Another reason that your dog might be scratching at your glass door is that they’re bored. Dogs need to be mentally stimulated and entertained, as well as regularly exercised to ensure that they are as healthy and as happy as possible.
If your dog is displaying destructive tendencies, then they might not be getting enough exercise and have too much energy built up that you need to help them burn off. Increasing the amount of exercise that your dog has can help with this, as well as ensuring that they’re entertained with toys and attention.