If your dog has been opening doors a lot, this post will show you likely reasons why and what you can do about them.

So, why does my dog open doors? Likely reasons why your dog opens doors are that they have separation anxiety, hunger, they do not like the room they are in or that they have learned that the behavior is rewarded.

There are a number of possible reasons why your dog opens doors and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Why does my dog open doors?

Below are likely reasons why your dog opens doors and what would make each of them more likely.

Separation anxiety

It could be the case that your dog has been doing it due to separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog has been trying to open doors to the room that you are in and if your dog gets anxious when you are leaving them.

Encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when they try to open doors, they will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Boredom

It could also be the case that your dog is bored and looking for a way to stimulate themselves. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more when they have not been able to get exercise for a while or when they have been sat around for a while.

Hunger

It could also be the case that your dog has been doing it due to hunger. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it when they have not been able to eat for a while and if they tend to open doors to where their food is stored or the door to the kitchen.

Your dog does not like the room they stay in

It could also be the case that your dog does not like the room that they stay in. This would be more likely if your dog opens doors when they have to stay in a certain room.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.

If your dog has always opened doors

If your dog did not always open doors, it would help to consider what else happened when the behavior first started. If the behavior started suddenly, it could be because you started making your dog stay in a certain room or because you started leaving them alone for longer causing them to get separation anxiety.

The timing of when your dog opens doors

It would also help to consider the timing of when your dog opens doors. If your dog tends to do it more at a certain time, it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it. For example, if your dog tends to do it more first thing in the morning, it would be more likely to be due to hunger.

How to stop my dog from opening doors?

Below are some options you have when getting the behavior to stop.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to try to reward them when they behave the way you want them to and to try to avoid rewarding them when they do not. When they try to open doors, it would help to give them a “timeout”, in a part of the house where it is hard for them to open doors, then to give them attention when they are being well behaved.

Limit reasons why your dog might be anxious

If it seems like your dog has been doing it due to separation anxiety. It would help to try to limit reasons why your dog might get anxious without you. Ways to do so, could include letting them stay in a different part of the house and letting them pee, get exercise and eat before you leave them alone.

Let your dog stay elsewhere

It could help to let your dog stay in a different part of the house or an area where they can feel safe. Often, dog owners find that crate training works well for this.

Get a door lever lock

There are door lever locks that you can get that will stop your dog from being able to open doors. It would likely help to get some of those to use in addition to the tips mentioned above.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.