miltoDogs loves to scratch, but sometimes this habit can damage some expensive items around the house, such as your carpet or furniture. Learn how to stop your dog from scratching the carpet, with these simple, yet effective ways.
Did You Know?
Certain breeds of dogs, such as Terriers and Dachshunds have sensitive noses and can smell the presence of rodents under the house. This may prompt them to scratch or dig a hole in the carpet.
Dogs have a penchant for digging or scratching. But sometimes, this innate behavior can become an annoying problem, especially when they start scratching your expensive household items. Dogs can resort to this behavior when they get bored too. Sometimes, they can also express their anxiety and frustration by scratching your carpet or furniture, while at other times, it can be nothing but an attempt to get your attention.
If you want to stop your pet from scratching the carpet, first of all, you have to find out the reasons behind this behavior. Then, you can provide an alternative to your dog, and train him in such a way that he understands that this kind of behavior is inappropriate. This may not be as easy as it sounds, so here are some simple tips that can help you control your dog’s urge to scratch the carpet and other valuable household items.
Ways to Stop Your Dog from Scratching the Carpet
Provide an Outlet for Pent-up Energy
Some dogs resort to scratching and digging to release their excess energy. If your dog usually scratches the carpet when he is playing, then it could be a sign that he needs to play or do some exercise. So, take your dog for a walk or play with him. This will curb his urge to scratch or dig.
Offer a Comfortable Bed
Digging a hole is an instinctive behavior in dogs. In the wild, a dog digs the ground to make a soft and cozy bed. So, the habit of scratching the carpet can be a part of this natural behavior, which can be curbed by offering your dog a comfortable and warm bed, or a pile of blankets. Place the bed in the area where he usually scratches, and let him know that it is his bed. You can also put some special treats on his bed, to prompt him to go there.
Check Your Dog for Skin Problems
Itching caused by certain skin conditions can also make your dog scratch the carpet or other items. If your dog has some kind of skin disease or rash, he might want to scratch or rub his stomach on the carpet. Fleas can also cause itching and skin irritation, which can force the dog to scratch vigorously. If your dog is scratching the carpet due to an underlying skin condition, then take him to a veterinarian, and get the condition properly evaluated.
File Your Dog’s Nails
Trim your dog’s nails at regular intervals. Sometimes he can resort to scratching file down his claws. In the wild, dogs file their claws by digging holes or scratching the ground. If you trim your dog’s nails and keep them short, he won’t be able to cause much damage to your carpet by scratching. You can use a guillotine nail clipper for this purpose, or get some professional help from a groomer or veterinarian.
Teaching your dog to ‘leave it’
Start teaching inside your house or in an area with very few distractions.
- Gather plenty of high-value irresistible treats like hot dogs or meatballs. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them and you can reward often.
- Put one type of treat in each hand. Then, place both of your hands behind your back.
- Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff.
- Say “leave it” and wait until he stops sniffing your fist.
- As soon as your dog stops sniffing, you say “yes!” and give him the treat.
- Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.”
- When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a treat outside of his reach.
- Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as stops say “yes!” and reward the high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise several times. Consistency and patience win this training but it is a really helpful command because it can save a dog from many things it shouldn’t have.
If your dog seems to have an irresistible urge to scratch before lying down, then you can gift him an inexpensive rug that he can scratch to his heart’s content. You can place the rug where he usually scratches or takes rest, and thus protect your carpet from further damage. You can also offer him a sandbox full of sand, and he might quite enjoy that.
Consider a crate
When you are busy or sleeping, you can place your dog in a crate to prevent him from damaging your carpet. But never just throw or force your dog into a crate. Doing so can backfire and create many more issues. You must crate train if you are going to use a crate. Use positive reward-based methods to teach your dog how to enjoy being in a crate.
Look if Your Dog’s Toys are Missing
Sometimes, the favorite toys of your dog can be lying under the couch or furniture, and the poor animal may be scratching the carpet and trying to dig a hole in it in an attempt to get back his missing toys.
Never hit your dog to prevent him from scratching something, no matter how frustrating it is to watch your carpet torn to pieces. To correct this behavior, you should always employ positive reinforcement. If along with carpet scratching, you see some other symptoms of separation anxiety, then take this matter seriously. Take your dog to a veterinarian, explain the symptoms and ask for advice. Your dog could have OCD or anxiety and there are behavioral medications that can help. The most common signs and symptoms of this condition are excessive barkings, howling, and whining, when they are left alone or when you prepare to leave the house. Sometimes, dogs can also develop destructive behavior, like scratching and chewing aggressively, due to separation anxiety.