A big pet peeve you may have is your dog digging into your carpet. This can be a destructive and annoying behavior for any pet owner. Some pet owners may find this behavior to be funny or a little bit wacky. However, most of the time this is an unwanted behavior that your beloved dog may exhibit. So is there any particular reason why a dog does this? Is he looking for something? Does he smell something? Or is this just a bad habit he has picked up? Dogs dig for all types of reasons and in order to remedy the situation you first have to get the bottom of this digging behavior.
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The Root of the Behavior
There are many causes of this behavior but the main reason behind any type of digging behavior goes back to their instincts. Wolves and the wild dogs of their ancestors dug for various reason such as to build a den to protect pups from predators and extreme temperatures, to create a soft resting area, to bury items that they want to retrieve later, and during hunting of small animals. So this instinctual behavior is built into a dog.
Modern dogs may not need to protect each other from predators or extreme colds like their ancestral lines once did but some instincts are stronger in some dogs. There are several other reasons behind this behavior in modern day dogs. For instance,
a dog may be digging for temperature control or a softer spot to lay in. If your dog is too hot or too cold, he will naturally act out by digging to try to fix the issue. Another reason may be due to separation anxiety. As odd as this may sound, the digging may help to soothe the dog of a missing loved one. If a loved one just recently moved out or passed away, your dog may be trying to reach or access the loved one by digging. Or like an attempt to get out of an unhappy or unwanted situation. Dogs are emotional creatures that follow some instincts based on their emotions. Digging in the carpet can also be to your puppy's desire to bury or conceal a beloved item. If you noticed this behavior when you give your dog a bone or a favorite toy, this is most likely the root cause. Their instincts have taught them to bury things that they hold value to in order to keep them safe from predators or someone who wishes to take it away from them.
Encouraging the Behavior
So what can you do to encourage your dog not to dig in your carpet? A good way to stop this behavior is to make a noise that startles but does not scare your dog when he is digging. Once you have his attention, you can redirect his behavior by asking him to do some small tasks such as come, sit, or lay down. Reward him for appropriate behavior. If redirecting his behavior towards something else does not work, you can teach your dog to leave it. Be sure to reward him everytime he leaves the carpet alone on command. Positive reinforcement will help train him. If the issue is based on separation anxiety, you may want to give your dog a blanket or old object that belonged to the person that is missing. The scent of the person will be a reassurance toward your dog and will help comfort him. If his digging behavior is due to comfort and temperature control, you may want to try out new beds or dog mats for your pet to lay on. This can be sort of a trial and error thing though. Just like humans, dogs have preferences of soft, too soft, hot, or cold sleeping patterns. So it may take some careful planning to find the right dog bed. But trust your instincts. You know your dog better than anyone else.
Other Solutions and Considerations
There could be other causes to your dogs digging in your carpet behaviors such as boredom or seeking attention. If boredom is the issue behind your dogs digging, you may want to engage him in fun activities, more exercise, or some type of sporting fun like a game of catch. If you work long hours and are rarely home, digging may be a part of a lack of attention issue your dog has. Be sure to greet your dog and give him some of your time when you are home. Also, if you are gone for long hours you may want to hire a dog walker to come in once a day and give your pup some good one on one attention.
It is safe to say that your dog digging into your new carpet is an unwanted behavior. If you take a little time to figure out the root cause of this behavior, it won’t be hard to figure out the proper solution to remedy this situation. Humans sometimes forget dogs have these root instincts and do not understand that it is wrong to dig in certain areas. By understanding the cause you can train your dog properly.