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What Causes Dogs to Chew on Door Frames?
It’s not a normal dog behavior for your pooch to chew on your door frames when you’re away. This could be an indication that something is amiss. With that in mind, here are some of the reasons why dogs might chew on door frames.
Your Dog is Trying to Escape Confinement
When your dog is excessively chewing on door frames or objects near an exit it might be an indication that he’s trying to escape confinement. If you work for over 8 hours, the sound of your car keys jingling on your hand can send your lovely dog into a spiral of panic and in some cases, this anxiety might not end until when you come back.
Well, some dogs do not like being left alone in a room or may not love the confinement itself. As such, they may start chewing on the door frames in an attempt to escape confinement or from the room.
Looking for a Mate
If you have an unneutered dog, he/she can chew on the door frames to try to escape in search of mates.
Have you ever noticed that your dog behaves weirdly and fearfully during thunderstorms, fireworks, or other fear-provoking times? Well, it could be an indication that your dog is fearful and suffers from fear-related anxiety. Under such circumstances, the dog might resort to chewing on door frames as a soothing activity or as a way of trying to escape the location if he feels fearful.
Lack of Enough Exercise
In addition to feeding your dog properly, he has several other needs including having adequate playing time, taking long walks, meeting other dogs and people, sniffing every corner, and seeing cars. These are very essential activities that your dog should indulge in. If anything, dogs are naturally very active and generally need various levels of activities.
If, however, for some reason your dog doesn’t get enough of such activities, he may choose to indulge in activities that are available to him – and this may include chewing on door frames.
Playing and Exploring
Dogs are playful and explorative in nature. In some situations, your dog might just chew on door frames as a way of playing or exploring. In essence, dogs are almost similar to human babies in the way they examine things and explore the environment with their mouths.
Dogs also learn about their surroundings by chewing and tasting various objects and this may include chewing on door frames. While this might be normal behavior in puppies and young dogs, it may continue into adulthood if it’s reinforced. You should, therefore, provide enough toys for your dog to chew.
Loneliness and Boredom
Leaving your dog alone for a long period in an environment that’s not stimulating can lead to loneliness and boredom. If this is the case, your dog may resort to chewing on door frames out of boredom and loneliness.
The best thing to do under such a scenario is to ensure that your dog has adequate exercise. You can also provide your dog with an appropriate place that he can have all for himself such as a kennel crate, a small bathroom, or a particular kitchen area.
Dogs may act differently when they sense that their owner is about to leave the house. Some dogs may feel really stressed and can suffer from severe separation anxiety when left alone. In most cases, the dog may start chewing on door frames, howl, bark, drool excessively, urinate or defecate in the house, dig in the carpet around the door, and scratch or chew the doorknobs.
Separation anxiety is a complex problem that may be quite difficult to point out and may sometimes require professional help. In most cases, your dog might be hyper-attached to you or another member of the family and may become very anxious when the person isn’t around. In fact, the dog may become exaggeratedly enthusiastic when the person comes back home to a point of following him from room to room at all times.
Chewing to Seek Attention
Your dog can resort to chewing your door frame if he gets what he wants by indulging in this activity. For example, your dog may chew on the door frames if you feed him or play with him if he chews on the door frame. In other words, your dog has known that this behavior gets your attention.
There are times when your dog may resort to chewing on your door frames if chewing relieves some form of discomfort, pain, or stress. This can be a medical issue if the behavior is compounded by a loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, activity changes, and increased urination.
These are generally symptoms of compulsive disorders that are neurological in nature and should never be ignored. The best thing to do is to visit a veterinarian as soon as you notice these symptoms.
So How Can You Stop Your Dog from Chewing the Door Frames?
If you’ve noticed that your dog only chews the door frames when you’re away from home, this may be a sign of separation anxiety, which often occurs when a dog gets nervous or anxious when left home alone.
That being said, here are some perfect solutions to stop your dog from chewing the door frames.
Teach Your Dog the “Stay” Command
If you’ve realized that your dog suffers from separation anxiety and gets nervous when left alone, you can change this with the right training and approach. For example, you can teach your dog the “stay” command. Once he has mastered this command, you can leave it alone in the room for a couple of minutes without releasing him from the “stay” command.
You can start small by small until he gets used to the command. For example, you can practice asking your dog to stay in a particular place as you use the bathroom, get a glass of water, or change the laundry. You can start short by going out of his sight for a minute, then two, then three, and increase gradually as he masters the command.
The main aim is to get the dog to practice staying alone in the room without reacting or becoming destructive. Once the dog has mastered the command, you can stay in the next room for several minutes to see how he reacts.
Ensure that Your Dog is Sufficiently Exercised
Believe it or not, lack of adequate and proper exercise can be one of the major causes of separation anxiety in dogs. Needless to say, it’s of great importance to ensure that your dog is sufficiently exercised.
The idea here is to ensure that your dog maximizes the use of his energy and doesn’t feel bored. Make sure that you take your dog out for a walk at least once a day even if you have a very tight schedule. Remember, walking your dog is just as important as feeding your dogs. You can incorporate shorter walks of about 15 minutes in the morning and a longer one of about an hour in the evening.
By doing this, your dog will not only be obedient but will be your calmest buddy. Besides, his health, your health, and the health of your door will rarely be a problem, so you should embrace walking your dog.
Do Not Make a Big Deal Out of Leaving
Dogs are outstanding when it comes to mastering routines. As such, it may not be appropriate to let your dog master your “leaving” routine. For example, do not let your dog master that taking your car keys and putting on your shoes is a sign that you’re about to leave and will only return after a couple of hours.
You can do things differently so that your dog doesn’t master your “leaving” routine. For example, you can normalize picking your car keys throughout the day even when you’re not leaving the house. In some instances, you can pick the car keys, open the garage door, put on your shoes, sit on the couch, and watch TV. You have to keep in mind that your dog won’t master this overnight, so it requires a lot of patience.
In essence, don’t make a big deal out of leaving the house. Avoid hugs, goodbye kisses, and don’t make your dog know that you’re just about to leave. You can go outside, lock the door as you normally do, wait for a couple of minutes, and then come back inside. You should avoid greeting or engaging your dog if he feels excited. Just wait until he’s totally calm before you can pet it.
Leave Toys and Treats to Your Dog when you’re Going Away
Your dog may be very active when you’re at home but resorts to chewing door frames as soon as you leave. Well, this could be a sign of boredom. You can consider leaving some toys that the dog can chew on and keep them busy during your absence.
For example, bully sticks can be a great option. They’re not only tasty but your dog can munch on them for quite some time during your absence.
Apply Anti-Chewing Spray on Door Frames
You can consider applying anti-chewing spray on door frames to deter your dog from chewing the door frames. The idea here is to make the door frames unpleasant to the dog when he starts chewing. These deterrents are generally safe and can be used on various surfaces.
These deterrents are designed to have bitter tastes that discourage your dog from chewing. This isn’t treatment but just a way of deterring your dog from chewing on door frames as you brainstorm on the best way to deal with the issue.
Keep an Eye on Your Dog
This is perhaps the simplest and most straightforward way of stopping your dog from chewing on door frames. You can keep a close eye on him when you are around and consider having him in an appropriate kennel crate when you leave.
Treat Separation Anxiety
As we noted earlier, separation anxiety in dogs can be a complex issue that requires thoughtful work with your dog. If you’ve noticed that your lovely pooch is suffering from severe separation anxiety, you can consult your veterinarian who may prescribe some form of medication to help your dog deal with this problem. You can also minimize the amount of time you spend away from your dog.
Do Not Punish Your Dog for Chewing
If you’ve ever tried punishing your dog for making a mistake, you probably now realize that it doesn’t always work out effectively. This is because in most cases, the urge that is pushing him to do whatever he did is much stronger than the fear of punishment and the same applies when he chews on the door frames.
Again, it may be impossible for the dog to connect the punishment with chewing, so it might just be a waste of time. Whether it’s restricting his meals, putting him on a muzzle, yelling, lecturing, or giving him an evil eye, you should avoid such actions.
The best thing to do is to praise and reward your dog if he doesn’t chew the door frames. It may not work immediately but the dog will notice your positive moods based on his behavior when you come back.
Instead of punishing your dog, you can also interrupt this behavior if you catch him in the act. You can easily do this by redirecting his attention to something else. Just don’t pet, feed, or play with him at that moment because he may misunderstand such actions as rewards for chewing.
While the above-described suggestions may help in stopping your dog from chewing on door frames, you can go a step further and seek professional help if the problem doesn’t stop.