How to Train Your Dog to Not Chew the Carpet

How to Train Your Dog to Not Chew the Carpet
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-2 Months
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

So, that cute little puppy you picked up for the family has become a one hound wrecking machine. His new trick: chewing on the carpet. If you don't stop this destructive behavior in a hurry, your local carpet retailer is going to love you. Puppies chew as their way of exploring their world, young dogs chew to relieve the pain of teething, and older dogs will chew to help keep their teeth clean and jaw muscles tuned up.

Teaching your dog to not chew on the carpet can take a little while, depending on the root cause of the chewing behavior. For example, if he is bored, you need to find more time to play with him and tire him out. Some dogs simply need something they can chew on like a bone or chew toy. For the rest, there are methods you can use to train them not to chew on the carpets. 

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Defining Tasks

The task at hand is to train your dog not to engage in destructive chewing, in this particular case on the carpet. Chewing is a natural behavior in every breed of dog. Your dog needs a good steady supply of chew toys he can gnaw on. In many instances, these will suffice and keep him from chewing on furniture, carpets, shoes, and any other item he should not be.

Since you will be redirecting your dog's chewing attention to something he can chew on, make sure any toys you buy for him are tough enough to stand up to your pup's teeth and jaw muscles. If your pup is chewing because he is teething, you can use baby gates or a crate to keep him out of the rooms with carpeting until he is done. 

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Getting Started

Since we are talking about curbing or redirecting a natural behavior in your pup, you can start at any age as soon as you notice the behavior. If you have an older dog who has suddenly started chewing on the carpet, you should take him to see the vet to ensure there isn't a dental problem like a broken tooth or gum disease causing him to chew.

To get started, you'll need just a few supplies:

  • Treats
  • Chew Bones
  • Chew Toys
  • Deterrent spray

The rest of your supply list includes time and patience as you are going to need plenty of both to get your dog to stop chewing on the carpets in your home.

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The Redirection Method

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1

Gather your supplies

For this training method, you need a few chew toys that are just the right size for your pup.

2

Observe your pup

Keep a close eye on your pup so that you can catch him in the act of chewing on the carpet.

3

Tell your pup "no"

Pick up a chew toy and tell your pup "No!" in a firm voice.

4

When he looks up

When your pup stops and looks up at you, redirect his need to chew to the toy in your hand.

5

Keep it up

Keep doing this every time you see your pup start to chew on your carpets. Be sure to praise him every time he takes the toy and chews on it instead. Rotate through the toys so he knows he can chew on them all. In time, your dog will choose his favorite.

The Deterrent Spray Method

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1

Spray bottle first

For this, you need a spray bottle filled with clean water.

2

Watch your dog

Anytime you are at home, you need to be keeping a close eye on your dog.

3

When he chews

Each time you catch him trying to chew on your carpets, say "No!" in a firm voice.

4

Pick him up

After you say no go over and pick your pup up and move him away from the spot.

5

Spray shock

Another option is to use the spray bottle on 'stream' and give your pup a quick squirt as you say "No" to startle him and get his attention.

6

Rinse and repeat

Keep practicing every time you see your pup go to chew on the carpet. In time, he will get tired of being squirted, reprimanded, and moved. Of course, you need to make sure he has plenty of toys to chew on.

The Nasty Taste Method

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Choose your spray

Head out to your local pet store and pick up a spray bottle of pet deterrent. These sprays not only taste bad, but they also smell bad to your dog. Even better, they will not stain or damage most surfaces. Be sure to do a test on an inconspicuous area of the carpet first to be safe.

2

Dog meet spray

Time for your pup to meet the spray in person. Take a cotton ball and spray it with the deterrent. Give it to your dog, this will help him associate the smell with the nasty taste.

3

Observation is key

If your dog has a specific area he likes to chew, lightly spray that area with the deterrent and watch what happens the next time your pup heads over to his favorite chew spot. The smell should drive him away. Mission accomplished, right? Not quite.

4

Keep watching

Stay tuned in to your pup's behavior. If he decides to find another place to chew, use the spray. However, you can't cover every inch of carpet.

5

Something else to chew

This is where having a chew bone or chew toy to redirect your pup's chewing attention to will come in handy. However, he will learn that trying to chew on the carpet results in a nasty smell or taste. He will also learn that chewing on a bone or toy results in praise rather than trouble.

By PB Getz

Published: 01/05/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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pinda

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terrier schitzhu cross

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One Year

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she has started chewing holes in the carpet. she has lots of toys we walk and play everyday. at first it was when we were'nt home but she is doing it while we are home too

Sept. 1, 2022

pinda's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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First, work on the Leave It command from the article linked below for chewing that happens when you are present. I would also give her a dog food stuffed kong when you know she may be boring to redirect that bored energy to something else, incorporate training into her day to mentally wear her out more, and crate her when you are not home and at night if she chews then too. Leave It method- the first part of that method that involves food. Gradually work up to pup leaving harder foods alone - like kibble - treats - chicken - hotdogs - until pup can leave food on the floor alone when told that command while you are there to enforce it and prevent pup from grabbing it. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite The above may be enough to stop the chewing, but you may also need to use a corrector. In this case, ideally it would be something you could use while out of the room while spying on pup from another room if she chews the carpet. One of the easiest things for that is a remote training collar on tone, vibration or stimulation. I would choose a collar that includes all three setting, like e-collar technologies mini educator, or many of the dogtra, garmin, or sport dog remote training collars. Also, choose something with at least 60 stimulation levels so that you can choose the lowest level pup will respond to without making it too harsh, this is called a dog's "working level". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM To use the collar, you would find her working level, set up your camera to spy, teach and practice Leave It first for several sessions so you know that she knows she isn't supposed to chew the carpet, rewarding leave it and transitioning eventually to correcting on working level or vibration when she chews the carpet when you are there while you say "Ah Ah...leave it" calmly, then eventually leave the room, spy on pup from outside or another part of the home and just correct if you see her start to chew, so she learns she has to leave it even when you aren't watching her. Crate when you aren't there to watch and train until she is 100% reliable. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Sept. 2, 2022

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Bentley

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Boston Healer

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2 Years

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After 2 years of being a 100% angel he now decides to chew on rugs (kitchen/entryway) and scratch and chew on the door (kitchen) we go out every morning for work. He is very very smart but has separation anxiety and wanders back and forth looking for us to come back in that door all day when he’s not sleeping. Any suggestions?

Oct. 20, 2021

Bentley's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Nicholas, First, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3j882MAYDU There are a couple of different options here. The first option is to simply try giving pup a dog food stuffed chew toy, confine pup in an exercise pen so he can't get access to the rugs, and practice commands like a distance Down stay and 1 hour Place command while you are home so help build independence. This can work for some mild cases where pup simply needs a change in habit and some maturity to take place, but is often not enough for less mild cases. The second option is to also give pup a dog food stuffed chew toy and possibly also a kong wobble or automatic treat dispensing device to keep pup entertained (to redirect the carpet chewing), while also correcting pup for carpet chewing and door scratching. I would use a remote training collar for this in your case. I would purchase one with vibration, tone, and stimulation settings and only use one that's high quality with at least 40 stimulation levels, so you can use the lowest possible level pup indicates they can feel the collar. You can try using vibration first - sometimes that's all you need, but some dogs ignore it or find it harsher than the low stimulation. I would set up a camera to spy on pup - you can probably use something you already have like a gopro with the live app on your phone, baby video monitor, security camera, two phones or tablets connected with a video app like skype/zoom/facetime/facebook messenger/ect... on mute with one device set up to spy on pup in the kitchen and the other with you outside. I would start by leaving and spying on pup right outside, but where pup can't see or hear you to know you are still there. Whenever pup chews/scratches, return, opening the door slightly, while telling pup "Ah Ah" and correcting pup on the remote collar at their predetermined working level. After saying "Ah Ah" and correcting, leave again. Repeat this each time pup scratches. This is just to connect your verbal correction with the remote collar so pup doesn't think the correction is coming out of no where for no reason. Once pup has been corrected a few times, over the course of at least two different training sessions, then when you see pup chew or scratch, correct with the remote training collar without going back inside - so pup isn't being given attention for doing those behaviors. When pup lies down quietly or chews their chew toy nicely, or is generally behaving calmly and not acting destructive for at least five minutes, then return, sprinkle a few treats through the door without opening it all the way and leave again. Keep these rewards calm and brief. From here practice rewarding the good behavior, working up to longer and longer periods of time between the rewards, so that pup is used to not seeing you for a while, and just entertains himself with those dog food stuffed toys you left for him, and correcting with the remote collar without returning to pup whenever they scratch or chew the carpet. The above option allows you so leave pup uncrated. If pup still chews once you are no longer spying on pup, or you aren't able to work up to this training before having to actually leave pup in real life, I would also use a crate, at least temporarily, confining pup in the crate when you are away and pup hasn't worked up to full freedom yet during training. Practice the same returning and sprinkling treats and correcting with pup inside the crate for scratching or barking in the crate, as you would with pup out of the crate. Collar info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 21, 2021


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