Digging on your expensive couch can be an annoying and unwanted habit that you want in your dog. So, why do dogs like to dig and scratch at your furniture, especially your couch? And what can be done to redirect this behavior into something more positive? Nobody wants to see their $3000 dollar couch damaged by their pet's behaviors. This article aims to get at the root of this behavior in order to find a positive solution for you and your beloved dog. Take a few minutes to read through what causes this behavior and how you can overcome it.
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs routinely dig for several reasons, all of which can be seen as instinctual behaviors that they got from their ancestors. One reason your dog may be digging into the couch is due to how dogs would dig out dens in the wild as a place to rest and protect themselves from various predators. Another reason may be due to your dog wanting to conceal the place where they sleep, like animals do in the wild. However, there are many more underlying reasons behind this behavior.
Some of the other reasons may not be as obvious. Dogs sometimes dig to find objects. If your dog smells food or another scent on your couch, he may be trying to dig in order to uncover it. Or he may be trying to dig to hide his favorite toy, just a way dogs protect objects they love. These reasons can be easily remedied with a little bit of training.
If your dog likes to sleep on your couch, his digging behavior may be more due to his comfort and temperature levels. Dogs will dig to warm up their beds in the wild or to find a more comfortable sleeping position, much like how humans fluff their pillows before sleeping.
Sometimes, dogs will dig on furniture out of boredom. They may not have enough toys or enough exercise going on in their daily lives to occupy themselves. This can end up being very destructive behavior. You definitely should look into things that will occupy your puppy’s behavior a little better.
Whether your dog is digging at your furniture as some weird sleep ritual, out of instinct, or due to boredom, we can all agree this behavior definitely needs to be nipped in the bud. Couches are a price piece of furniture and training your dog to leave it alone will make you both the happier.
Encouraging the Behavior
If your dog is really damaging your furniture. The first thing you should do is start training your dog to stay off of the furniture. Your dog should know the word ‘off’ and should know what it means. If he doesn’t take the time to train him. Be patient during the training process. Your dog will learn it.
Another thing you can do to stop this behavior is by purchasing a dog bed. Your dog should only be allowed to sleep in his bed. Do not allow your dog to sleep on the couch or your bed. This will protect your couch or bed from any unnecessary scratching and digging.
If your dog is digging because he is bored. Consider buying him some new toys or changing up his walking and play schedule. Give your beloved dog the attention he needs and it will greatly reduce this digging behavior.
If none of this works, consider cage training your dog. This will ensure he won’t be digging on your furniture when you are not home and it will give him a place that he feels safe and secure. It will also limit his access to your favorite couch, greatly reducing this behavior.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Another reason a dog may dig at your couch is if she is nesting. A female dog who is pregnant will paw, scratch, or dig at bedding when she is about to go into labor. If this is the reason. Make sure to give her a safe place to have the puppies and keep a careful watch on her. Nesting is typically done in the later stages of pregnancy so those puppies can be coming at any time. If you don’t offer her a warm and safe place to have them, she will decide to use your couch as a birthing spot.
It’s important to train your dog not to dig on your couch. Take the time to be consistent, firm, and loving with your dog. Be sure your dog has his own bedding and place to feel safe. Taking the time to train and love your dog will reduce this unwanted behavior. As always be patient because sometimes a dog's instincts will take over.
By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze
Published: 02/19/2018, edited: 01/30/2020