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Behavior

How To Stop Your Puppy from Chewing on a Door Frame

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You love your puppy. But then you come home to a mangled door frame that looks like a wrecking crew was there.

How could such a sweet, cuddly pup be so destructive? And now you’re wondering how to stop your puppy from chewing on a door frame.

There are many reasons why puppies love to chew on certain items,  including wood and even metal.

Dog sitting peaking through door way

Remember: those puppy needle-like teeth need something to do.

In this article, I’ll explain why puppies chew on door frames and what you can do to prevent it.

After all, you don’t want your house to be a large chew toy.

Is Chewing on Wood Normal? 

Yes–chewing on wood is normal canine behavior. After all, puppies explore the world with their mouths.

But, you need to discover why your puppy’s chewing so that your door frames and furniture don’t become toothpicks.

Back when Colby was in college his roommates blue merle Aussie mix puppy, Pepper chewed the posts on the patio cover in the backyard.

Normally, these were probably about 6 inch by 6 inch squares. She whittled them down to mere toothpicks.

The patio cover posts aren’t door frames but yes in our experience young pups are like big termites!

Why Chewing Wood Is Dangerous

Chewing a door frame is dangerous to your dog.

In this article, I’m assuming that your door frame is made of wood because most exterior and interior frames are. 

Even if a door frame is made of metal, it can be dangerous and cause broken teeth, damaged gums, and even injury to the jaw. 

Chewing a door frame can result in many injuries to your puppy, including the following:

  • Infection. Splinters can get into your pup’s gums or between his teeth, leading to infection.
  • Choking Hazard. A puppy who tries to swallow a piece of wood may choke.
  • Blockages. Wood pieces can potentially lead to perforated intestines or digestive blockages.
  • Toxicity. Wood may be treated with dyes and chemicals that are toxic to canines. And the paint on some wood may also be toxic.
  • Damage to Teeth and Gums. Chewing on wood can lead to damaged teeth and gums.

Reasons Why Puppies Chew on Door Frames

Puppies chew on household items for many reasons. 

Some are normal puppy actions, whereas others stem from problem behaviors that need to be addressed.

The following are some reasons why your pup may find the door frame so attractive.

1. Boredom

If your puppy is bored, anything in your household can become his chew toy. This includes your door frame or other wooden items such as your furniture.

2. To Reach You

Although your pup may chew on other household items, one of the main reasons he may chew on a door frame is to reach you. 

This can be when you exit your home to go to work or even when you go into another room and he’s blocked from following you by a baby gate. 

After all, you may be having fun without him and he wants to join the party.

3. Separation or Other Anxiety

Destruction around doorways often occurs because a dog has separation anxiety. 

Dogs with separation anxiety often feel that you’re not coming back and stress out when you leave. So they may try to reach you. 

Some pups will destroy a door frame, a door, a window frame, and even the glass in a window in their panicked state.

And some puppies are stressed for other reasons, such as sights or noises outside and chew whatever’s available, including your door frame. 

Chewing helps release endorphins, which aids in relieving anxiety and stress.

4. Teething

A teething puppy has sore gums and tries to relieve the pain by chewing. 

If a door frame is available and he’s used to you being near it because you need to get to other places, he may focus on it. And chew it.

5. Dental Problems

A puppy may have a broken tooth, swollen gums, or other dental problems. So he may chew the door frame to relieve the pain.

6. Hunger

If your puppy isn’t given a sufficient amount of food or the correct nutrients, he may seek them out elsewhere. This includes your door frame or other household possessions.

7. Habit

Your puppy may be accustomed to chewing on household and other items such as sticks or mulch outside. 

Of course you want to break this habit as soon as possible because any habit may become difficult to stop.

A Lack of Other Items To Chew

A puppy will get creative when there aren’t dog chews available. And he may chew a TV remote, drapes, furniture–and a frame to a door.

Colby can attest to the TV remote chewing. When Linus was a puppy he chewed all the TV remotes in the house and also one cell phone. This was when flip phones were a thing so not quite as expensive as today’s smartphones.

Curiosity

The world is a wondrous place to puppies. Everything’s so new and great to explore. And he may feel “why not examine the taste and texture of a door frame?”

Pica

A puppy may have a medical condition that compels him to ingest non-food items such as wood, plastic, metal, or rocks. 

Pica can be caused by intestinal parasites or poor nutrition.

Playing With a Puppy With Sticks

You see it everywhere–in TV commercials and in funny pictures on the internet–a dog fetching or carrying a stick. But don’t give in to your puppy who wants to play with them. 

In reality, if you have him play with sticks, he may believe that all wooden items are toys. 

So your door frame becomes just another big stick that he’s chewing and maybe even attempting to retrieve to you.

Lack of Exercise

A healthy puppy is a ball of energy. If his energy isn’t properly expended, he will engage in unwanted behaviors, including chewing on a door frame.

Lack of Training

You need to teach your puppy your rules, including what items he should chew. So you can teach him a “leave it” command and redirect him to safe items to chew.

How To Stop Your Puppy from Chewing on a Door Frame

Determine why your puppy’s chewing on the door frame. There may be more than one reason as stated above. Then you can help solve this problem.

Physical Exercise

Make sure that your puppy has a sufficient amount of exercise for his age, breed, or mix. 

A border collie or lab will generally require more exercise than a shih tzu or maltese. 

So make sure you provide enough walks or play time for his physical health and mental well-being.

Mental Exercise

In addition to physical exercise, your puppy requires mental stimulation. 

Of course he can get this through obedience training. But also add other enrichment activities such as puzzle toys.

Behavioral Work

In addition to other necessary practices, if your puppy is suffering from anxiety–including separation anxiety–you need to do the proper behavior modification to manage the issue.

You will probably require the assistance of a qualified professional, such as a behaviorist, so that the problem doesn’t become even worse. 

Dogs suffer mentally with stress and anxiety. And they can often severely injure themselves.

Consult With a Veterinarian

If you’ve tried other methods to stop your puppy from chewing door frames without success, you should consult with your veterinarian. 

You need to determine whether there’s a physical problem such as intestinal parasites or pica.

Pick Up the Wood in Your Yard

Many puppies love chewing on and playing with sticks and mulch. And some owners play fetch with sticks. 

These actions lead a puppy to believe that chewing on wood is acceptable. 

I recommend that all twigs, logs, and sticks be picked up and properly disposed of. And don’t play with any wood pieces with your pup. 

Also, be sure to block access to any wood piles or mulch. Some much, such as cocoa mulch, is deadly to dogs.

Training

As an obedience instructor, I believe that all dogs require basic training at a minimum. 

It helps convey our rules, communicate with our dogs, prevent boredom, and build a bond with a puppy.

You can teach him “leave it” for items that he can’t have–such as a door frame. 

And don’t forget to praise him and reward with great treats when he performs a desirable behavior, such as sitting, lying down, or being calm.

PRO-TRAINER TIP: Have a supply of great, yummy treats that your puppy can’t resist ready as a reward. They should be small, no larger than a pea. Always have your reward treats ready before giving your obedience cue. Using a special treat such as small pieces of cheese or boiled, deboned chicken can help a dog have a positive association with something.

No Out-of-Sight Freedom

A puppy who is given too much freedom too soon will probably engage in destructive behaviors. These include house soiling and chewing on the wrong objects.

So keep your puppy in the same room that you’re in so that you can correct and redirect any undesirable behaviors. You may need to put up gates to help contain him in the room. 

If he starts to chew at a door frame while he’s with you, just use an interrupter to cut off the behavior. Say “eh-eh” or “hey.” 

Then redirect your puppy to an acceptable activity. 

Even better: if he’s headed towards a door frame, interrupt him and call him to you. And make it a party when he gets to you. 

Praise him and give him yummy treats so that being with you and obeying your cues is more rewarding than chewing on the door frame.

Confining Your Puppy

When you’re not present to watch your puppy, use a method to contain him so that he’s not able to chew on the wrong items. 

He can be confined to a crate or exercise pen. But make sure you get him used to these before putting him there and leaving.

Block Access to the Door Frame

Use gates or other barriers to block him from the door frame. Of course, you still need to make sure that he doesn’t chew on other household items.

Redirection

If you see that your puppy is looking at or heading towards a door frame–or any undesirable item–redirect his attention to you. 

Squeak a favorite toy and play fetch. Call him to you and praise and reward him for coming.

Give Your Puppy a Sufficient Amount Of Attention

In our busy lives, we often forget to give our dogs enough attention. Playing with him and training him are crucial. 

But sometimes just spend some down time relaxing with him. Bonding time is important and will help his other behaviors be better.

Use a Chew Deterrent

There are many chew deterrents that you can put on the door frame to deter your puppy from making a meal or chew toy of it.

Use Holistic Aids 

There are many holistic aids that can help a dog to calm down and have less anxiety. 

There’s music called Through a Dog’s Ear that’s been developed for this purpose. 

A ThunderShirt correctly used can help alleviate stress and anxiety. 

There’s a product called Adaptil that comes in a plug-in, spray, and collar which can help a dog calm down. The ingredients mimic the canine mother’s pheromones. 

And there are calming tabs and Rescue Remedy that can be ingested to help a dog be serene. 

Always check with your vet first before giving anything to your dog that he needs to consume. 

You can even teach a “relax” cue by calmly massaging your pup and praising and rewarding him for calm behavior. There are specific techniques described in the Tellington Touch that can help your pup relax.

What NOT To Do: Don’t Try This at Home

You shouldn’t use any harsh punishments for any unwanted behaviors, including chewing on a door frame.

They can cause your dog to distrust you and ruin his bond with you. And it can even lead to aggression.

Don’t Use Aversives Such as Noise Deterrents

People sometimes use a shake can filled with pennies to stop a dog from chewing on a door frame.

Or motion-activated devices that beep or sound an alarm when the puppy approaches the door frame. 

This can create a puppy who is overly sensitive to sounds or one who is even afraid to go through a doorway. 

The same type of aversion can occur if you spray your puppy with water to correct him. 

These problems will be much more difficult to solve than stopping your puppy from chewing on wood.

Don’t Correct Your Puppy After the Fact

If you see that your puppy has already chewed a door frame when you weren’t present, don’t correct him.

He will just become fearful of you and won’t understand what he did wrong. 

Dogs live in the present. So if you don’t correct him when he’s chewing the wood, it’s too late. 

Instead, make sure that you supervise him better or safely contain him in an exercise pen or crate when you can’t observe him.

Don’t Physically Punish Your Puppy

As a behavior specialist, I can say with confidence that physically punishing your puppy can cause many more problems that it can solve. 

Of course no one should ever hit a puppy. Even grabbing him by the collar to correct him can have many negative repercussions. 

He may become hand shy, not tolerate necessary handling and grooming, and even become defensive and aggressive. 

And it may even make him fearful of being near or walking through a door frame. 

On top of that, it probably won’t even teach him to leave door frames alone. 

FAQs

My puppy chews on the door frame when I go outside. He also whines and barks for a long time. Is he being spiteful when I leave? 

No. He may suffer from separation anxiety. To help manage the issue, get help from a canine behaviorist who has experience with separation anxiety.

My puppy goes into another room and chews on door frames. What should I do?

Don’t give your puppy any out-of-sight freedom. Instead, crate or contain in an exercise pen when you can’t observe him.

Make sure that you have safe chew toys for him and redirect him to those. And give him enough physical and mental exercise.

When it rains outside, my puppy chews on furniture and the door frame in the family room. How can I stop this? 

Make sure that your puppy has a sufficient amount of physical and mental exercise even when he can’t go outside on walks.

Play with him and give him puzzle toys. Do a few training sessions. And always redirect your puppy to the right items to chew. 

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why puppies chew on items, including door frames. They range from boredom to separation anxiety. 

Try to figure out why your puppy’s chewing on a door frame. 

Manage his environment. And make sure that you provide enough physical and mental stimulation to help resolve the problem. 

If necessary, seek veterinary help or the assistance of a canine behaviorist.

Do you have a puppy who chews on door frames?

If so, what have you done to stop it? Was it successful?

Please tell us about it in the comments section below.

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My Puppy Chews On The Door Frame!? What Should I Do? - Dog looking through crack in doorway

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