Have you ever noticed how some of the walls in your house get scratched when you’re not around? If you’re thinking what I’m thinking… you know who the culprit is. But how much of this is really your dog’s fault? Well, it turns out most of the triggers that explain your pet’s unusual behavior have little to do with their internal mechanisms and much to do with their surroundings. There are many reasons why your dog may be scratching the walls in your house. Ranging from boredom to anxiety, this behavior is an indicative of a certain issue, usually caused by external factors that needs to be addressed by a professional.
The Root of the Behavior
Any type of destructive behavior your dog picks up is an alarm sign. The causes are various, but the most important thing is for you to determine the root of the situation. So let’s dig into it: what are the most common and uncommon reasons that influence your dog to scratch up the walls in your house?
Anxiety takes a huge part in this scenario. Because dogs have an instinctive need to feel certain about the environment they live in, they will try to relieve stress by scratching at walls, doors, floors, digging or biting them. This happens when they become too reliant on you and cannot handle being left alone for hours in a row. Quitting your job is definitely not a solution, so make sure your beloved companion learns how to enjoy his home alone time the right way.
Many dogs may scratch the walls simply because…they are bored. This is actually one of the main causes of the behavior. Especially when it comes to a certain breed of dogs, their level of energy is usually not exceeded during the course of an ordinary walk outside. For example, border collies, also known as “working dogs”, are more prone to this kind of behavior and need to be active for about two to five hours per day.
Being exposed to thunderstorms or outdoor fireworks for longer periods of time can also generate anxiety. They scratch walls as an attempt to escape the room they are kept in. Your dog may also be experiencing these symptoms because your house is infested with termites or other critters. You need to teach your pup how to remain quiet and calm in any given situation, which is why training him correctly and implementing a daily routine can help ease and retrieve their anxiety, as well as your own. If there are critters in the wall they must be removed, and you should also provide your dog with lots of exercise, social stimulation, and engaging activities.
Encouraging the Behavior
Before jumping to conclusions, make sure you check off some basic triggers in your dog’s unusual behavior. Trimming your dog's nails may be one of the most overlooked causes of this situation. Your dog can also be extremely bored so make sure he gets all the exercises he needs during the day. Not just going for a walk but training him as you go to sit when meeting others and also sit at curbsides. When you get involved in your dog’s training sessions on a consistent basis, you let your dog know what is expected of him and turn his good behavior into a habit.
And if you really don’t want new house paint, consider putting a piece of furniture in front of the damaged wall. At the same time, if you want to replace your dog’s natural drive to scratch, chew, or bite, you have to provide him with items/toys that can distract his attention. This can also work when you are at home and you see he is about to start scratching again. Familiarizing him with being in the crate is also a great way to avoid such destructive behaviors. Make sure it becomes a place he finds secure and enjoys spending time in.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Although some veterinarians may prescribe drugs to calm your little furry friend, you shouldn’t consider this as a final cure. Having your dog evaluated by a professional is always a good idea, but think about the initial options we talked about as your first steps toward rehabilitation. Your dog’s dietary habits and any other medical issues should also be ruled out before undergoing any procedures. In a nutshell, you need to provide your dog with more energy consuming activities and mental stimulation. Find out what he enjoys best and which activities take up most of his attention. Get him used to being apart from you and teach him to settle down for increasing periods of time.
Dogs are truly intelligent animals. They have an acute sense of smell, thus making it easier for them to detect critters. They have a natural-born need to interact and feel self-reliant rather than constantly depending on you. The best way to keep your walls intact and your dog happy is to go to the source of the problem and eliminate it. Give your furry friend a chance to cope with unexpected changes and teach him the importance of training and discipline, every single day.
Written by a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 02/12/2018, edited: 01/30/2020