Why Do Dogs Dig at the Carpet, Furniture & Scratch Their Beds?
It's no surprise when a dog digs in the backyard. Digging is one of the most signature dog behaviors that's engrained into your canine's brain. But what about when they start attempting to dig into the carpet or couch?
Indoor digging is a quirky little behavior that can cause some confusion among owners. It's obvious that digging will get your dog nowhere when they're in the comforts of home.
So why do they do it? Here are some common reasons.
#1. Preparing for a Nap
In the wild, dogs dig before they lay down for a nap. This is done to ward off any creatures in the vicinity. Also, it helps to loosen the soil and create a more comfortable surface.
Modern pups are spoiled and have cushy beds to sleep on. But, that doesn't mean that those instincts are any less powerful! You might see your dog pawing at the floor vigorously before doing some circles and laying down.
Many pooches do this even when they're on a couch or bed!
#2. A Search for Food
Admit it: you're guilty of walking around with food every once in a while! While you might think that you're being careful not to make a mess, you're likely to drop a few crumbs here and there.
Dogs have an exceptionally powerful sense of smell. Those invisible crumbs you can't see could be driving your dog crazy.
They smell the food that's lost in your carpet fibers. So, they dig in an attempt to get to it. Those attempts are futile, but that's not going to stop your determined pup from trying! If this behavior becomes an issue, try vacuuming your floors to get rid of any stray crumbs and food remnants.
#3. Captivating Smells
This reason is similar to the previous one. However, it might not have to do with food at all. Say, for example, that you just finished working in the garden. As you make your way back inside, you could have tracked in some soil or other grime.
Your precious pooch is so used to the smells inside your home that anything new is something to get excited about. Thus, it compels them to dig and investigate.
Related: Odors that Dogs Hate
#4. Dealing with Anxiety or Stress
Dogs are far more complex than most people think. They can experience a range of emotions just like humans! Stress and anxiety are common feelings that dogs aren't the best at dealing with.
Anxiety often leads to destructive behavior. Your dog could turn to chewing and digging to get some comfort.Does your dog frequently dig at the floor near the door? Chances are, they start feeling anxious whenever you leave for work every day.
If you're not careful, they could eventually rip up carpet or mar up your hard floors. In this case, digging is a response to emotions that your dog doesn't like. It's their attempt at finding solace.
#5. Attempts to Hide Items
When dogs enjoy something, they will do all they can to protect it! That's why you might see your dog carrying around his or her favorite toy all day. If they had the chance, they'd probably bury it in the backyard somewhere for safe-keeping.
Of course, that's not possible inside. Yet, dogs will still try. They may try to dig in the carpet and furniture to create a safe hiding spot for their beloved toy. Dogs often get very creative with this protective behavior.
Check between your couch cushions! You might find some long-lost toys. You may also find some hidden items underneath their bed or entangled in a blanket!
#6. Pure Boredom
Like stress and anxiety, feelings of boredom force dogs to turn to some strange behaviors. Canines need constant mental stimulation to stay entertained.
When you're away for the day, dogs have no choice but to find a way to stay occupied. This usually leads to a lot of destruction!
#7. Addressing Hot Temperatures
When the temperatures rise in your home, your dog will find ways to cool off. Outside, dogs typically dig a hole under a tree.
The tree provides some shelter from the sun while the hole helps to lower body temperatures. Soil is naturally cooler the deeper you dig, so it's a nice little haven for your furry friend.
Dogs will instinctively attempt the same thing inside. If your dog has already resorted to digging to cool off, you need to pump up the AC as soon as possible to avoid overheating!
#8. Grabbing Your Attention
If you have responded to indoor digging in the past, your dog already knows that it's a great way to grab your attention! So, they'll use it anytime they can!
Sometimes, dogs will do this whenever they're bored and want to play. They know that you'll say something, so they take the chance and start digging in the carpet or couch.
Other times, dogs will use the behavior for more pressing concerns. For example, maybe they need to go outside to do their business. To let you know, they'll dig near the door!
#9. Searching for a Birth Den
Is your dog pregnant? Digging in the carpet could be a sign that the babies are on their way! Female dogs will search for a birthing den when she's ready to give birth. She'll prepare a safe area for her and her puppies.
Usually, dogs will gravitate towards whelping boxes. But if that's not available, don't be surprised if she starts attempting to create a den herself.
How to Stop Your Dog From Digging in the Carpet and Furniture
There are a few ways to address this quirky behavior. Ultimately, the best method comes down to the cause. If your dog is digging because of anxiety or boredom, consider providing some mental stimulation toys.
Dogs don't handle complex emotions very well, so keeping their mind occupied is the best way to put a stop to indoor digging.
For most other reasons, the best way to stop digging is to simply train your pup that the behavior is not acceptable. When you hear those familiar sounds of paws running through the carpet, make a noise to grab your pup's attention.
Don't scare them. Just let them know that you see what they are doing.
Then, call them over and ask them to sit. Reward them for stopping. Repeat this until your dog doesn't dig anymore. It takes time, but your pup will eventually make the connection and learn that digging in the carpet or furniture is unacceptable.
Knowing why your dog is acting the way they are is the first step in stopping the behavior. Once you understand their mode of thinking, you can address the problem. Indoor digging can get destructive pretty quickly. But, your pup doesn't know any better.
In most cases, it's an innate coping mechanism. Be vigilant about your training and provide other ways for your pup to express their emotions. With time, your dog will learn that digging is reserved for outside the home.