Digging is just one of the innate habits of canines. But why does my dog dig at the carpet? Even though canines have been domesticated, they still carry with them some wild instincts. This includes digging, so don’t be surprised if you see your pooch trying to dig a hole in your carpet.
The explanation for this behavior is simple. The following are just some of the potential reasons, which we also observed on our dog Sherlock, A.K.A. Master Digger.
Reasons why dogs dig at carpets
Your dog smells something.
Dogs have a strong sense of smell. So even if you can’t smell anything on your carpet, the pooch can still pick up the scent. It could be tiny crumbs from the pizza you ate days ago or a tiny drop of sauce from your food. With over 300 million olfactory receptors, dogs can sniff out even the most hidden food bits.
Aside from that, there might be an intriguing smell on your carpet. It could be the smell of other animals or the substances that you tracked in on your boots. Each of these scents is unique and interesting for a canine.
Your dog wants to hide a valuable object.
In the wild, canines hide their leftover food from predators by burying it on cold soil. Your domesticated canine may also do this at home on your carpet. The pooch will try to hide toys, bones, and even food, especially if there are other canines around.
This behavior can be insistent and destructive if not addressed right away. Take note that dogs won’t just dig at your carpet, but also your bed and other surfaces with a soft texture.
Most dogs will do this hiding habit when they feel threatened. This can be a precursor to resource aggression, so you should correct it as soon as possible.
Your dog is bored.
Boredom can wreak havoc on your dog’s habits. The pooch will vent out its energy into digging and destroying things around. Aside from your carpet, a bored dog will also tear any paper, plush toy, cushion, and other soft things it can access.
After shredding the material, the pooch will then lay on top of it and burrow. This is rooted in their wild instincts of seeking safe spaces away from predators.
Lack of stimulation is the common reason for a dog’s boredom. Dogs that fall into the herding, working, and sporting classification often need at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise to curb their destructive tendencies.
Your dog is overexcited
Overexcitement will also cause your dog to dig at the carpet. We observed this on our dog, Sherlock, when he’s dying to chase a squirrel outdoors. Out of frustration and excitement, he scratches the carpet. We think he’s trying to dig a hole to escape, something that he once did under our fence.
In this scenario, digging becomes my dog’s release. But in some cases, canines will dig at carpets when they are anxious or scared. This is an attempt to find a safe place and hide from whatever is scaring the pooch.
Your dog wants a safe space to rest.
Dogs sleep on spots where they feel safe from enemies. It can be by your side or in a burrowed bed. But if your doggo can’t access either, it will dig at the carpet to dig a hole. You will notice your dog digging then laying on top of it. Such a habit satisfies their innate instinct of digging and shielding themselves from harm.
This behavior is called den digging. Your dog will dig and turn in circles before resting on the spot they seemingly dug.
Your dog is nauseous.
Lastly, your dog might be feeling nauseous. This explanation isn’t common, but it can happen. Your dog is probably digging at the carpet to create a hole where it can throw up. Most of the time, this behavior is intermittent and random.
The next time your dog starts digging at the carpet, it’s best to bring them somewhere else. This way, you won’t have to clean up a mess.
How to stop a dog digging at the carpet
Negative canine behavior can be corrected with the proper approach. Remember that punishments and violence do nothing and only make matter worse. Instead, you should do the following:
Make the carpet unappealing
If you don’t want your digging on the carpet, you shouldn’t let them step on it. You can make the carpet unattractive by spraying a substance with a strong smell.
A mixture of white vinegar and water is the easiest option. The strong odor will stop your dog from getting into the carpet. The bonus part here is that vinegar has cleaning properties that will help deodorize your rugs.
Remember that you should never use toxic substances as it can poison your pet.
Training will go a long way
Training is the permanent solution to stop your dog’s carpet digging habits. Teach your dog that digging isn’t acceptable behavior. If your dog starts digging on the carpet, call its name until it approaches you. Next, command your dog to sit then give it a treat.
This will teach your dog that leaving the carpet alone is a rewarded behavior. Repeat this until you have shed the food rewards.
Offer a safe spot
Since dogs dig for safety, it’s important to give them a cozy sleeping area. I suggest getting a bed with bolsters so your pooch can burrow and feel secure. You should also place the bed in an area of your house with the least foot traffic.
Keep the dog stimulated
One of the most important parts of dog ownership is ensuring that your dog gets enough exercise. This physical and mental stimulation will also reduce your dog’s digging habits. A long walk in the morning and short playtime sessions throughout the day will help keep a pet’s paws out of the carpet.
If you dropped food or spilled a drink, it’s important to clean your carpet properly. This way, your dog will not trace the smell and try to get it.
Aside from wiping the spills and stains, you should also use an enzyme cleaner. This solution has live enzymes that get rid of any remaining proteins that your dog can sniff. It also works on dog pee, poo, and vomit.
Why is my dog digging at the carpet after giving birth?
If your dog has given birth to a few puppies and starts digging the carpet, it’s a sign that more pups are about to come. Your mother dog digs to create a whelping box where she can give birth to her babies. But if all the pup has been whelped, digging might be your pet’s way to secure its litter.
It’s important to give mother dogs a comfortable and secure spot where they can give birth. This way, the pooch won’t try to dig on the floor.
Why does my dog scratch then lick the carpet?
Scratching then licking is a sign that your dog smells something on your carpet. It could be traces of food that you didn’t clean or substances that tracked in on your footwear or feet.
Another possible reason is that your dog is bored and stressed. This can be avoided with enough stimulation like walks and playtime.
Overall, you shouldn’t encourage this habit as licking may turn into aggressive chewing. You should perform the tips I mentioned above to curb this problem.
Why does my dog dig at the carpet? This behavior is commonly due to the scent of the rug. However, your pooch might be bored, stressed, or trying to hide something. Whatever it is, you should correct the behavior to prevent it from becoming a big problem. Take note that digging can lead to destructive chewing and anxious behavior.