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 in order 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, in order 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, as sometimes he can resort to scratching in order to 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.
Train Your Dog
Whenever your dog starts scratching the carpet, let him understand that it is an inappropriate behavior. Look at him in the eyes, say no, and command him to leave the carpet. Your dog may take a few weeks to learn this, but eventually he will realize that it is not a good habit. You can also divert his attention by offering an interesting toy, or engaging him in other activities, like a fetching game.
Offer an Alternative
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.
Place Your Dog in a Crate
When you are busy or sleeping, you can place your dog in a crate or in his kennel, to prevent him from damaging your carpet or other expensive household items. Place toys and food in the kennel, and train your dog to consider it as a comfortable and safe place to be in. A kennel or crate is especially ideal for dogs that tend to scratch due to stress or separation anxiety that they usually develop when left alone.
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. It is better to take the help of a veterinarian to resolve separation anxiety in dogs. The most common signs and symptoms of this condition are excessive barking, 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.