How to Train Your Dog to Not Chew the Carpet

Medium
1-2 Months
Behavior

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. 

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. 

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.

The Redirection Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Gather your supplies
For this training method, you need a few chew toys that are just the right size for your pup.
Step
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.
Step
3
Tell your pup "no"
Pick up a chew toy and tell your pup "No!" in a firm voice.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Deterrent Spray Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Spray bottle first
For this, you need a spray bottle filled with clean water.
Step
2
Watch your dog
Anytime you are at home, you need to be keeping a close eye on your dog.
Step
3
When he chews
Each time you catch him trying to chew on your carpets, say "No!" in a firm voice.
Step
4
Pick him up
After you say no go over and pick your pup up and move him away from the spot.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Nasty Taste Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Tayla
Greyhound Mix
8 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tayla
Greyhound Mix
8 Years

My dog suffers from separation anxiety and becomes very destructive when I am gone. The safest place I have found to keep her while at work is my room but she has started chewing up the bottom of the door and is destroying the carpet in front of the door. I really do not know what to do about it.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Holly, Check out the video and articles that I have linked below. I suggest finding a qualified trainer who can help you implement the training. Also, make sure that it is actually separation anxiety. If destructiveness is the only symptom, then she has probably developed boredom chewing and is actually doing it for fun while no one is around to catch her (this if far more common than true separation anxiety). Crating and providing her with a durable chew toy is the answer in that case. Separation anxiety symptoms can include: Destructive chewing Pee and poop accidents despite being fully potty trained and left for short periods of time Shaking Drooling Trying to escape to the point of injuring themselves continuous whining or barking for hours Panting Panick Separation Anxiety article: https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2013/02/21/separation-anxiety-im-not-seeing-it-at-my-place Separation Anxiety video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Tayla's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Princess
chihuahua mix
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Princess
chihuahua mix
7 Months

She’s been chewing holes into the carpet and chewing cords.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the article linked below: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Princess's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Nash
Cavapoo
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Nash
Cavapoo
5 Months

My puppy was house broken. The last week he has been pooping in the house in the same 3 spots only (one upstairs bedroom, the entrance foyer, a spot in the basement). Tonight my boyfriend was on Xbox and I was in bed and our dog chewed/dug a Chunk of carpet out! I fixed the spot With spare carpet we have and brought him to bed with me but he jumped down and was playing with toys. I thought he was fine so I went back to bed. He went back and chewed up the same spot of carpet! Are these bad behaviors something that I should be very alarmed by? Do I need to go to my vet? I’m very concerned. Is there something I should do to stop this behavior? Thank you!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Juli, If pup can't seem to hold his bladder for at least an hour or the poop is diarrhea it may be worth a trip to your vet (I am not a vet). But what you are describing is pretty normal at this age - probably pup was doing well so you gave pup more freedom pup he is still too little to be ready for that much freedom. Around 5 months puppies jaws begin to develop and this stage actually marks a second destructive chewing phase - which can be even worse than the initial teething one. The potty training issues probably happened because you left pup unsupervised or he was too distracted to finish going potty while outside. You need to go back a few steps in training. It's time to crate train pup. Check out the article linked below and follow the crate Training method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Because pup is older and was doing really well for a while, you can adjust the times a bit. Try taking pup potty every 2-3 hours when you are home. After pup pees outside (pup should still be closely supervised outside to ensure that he stays focused and goes potty), then tell pup to "Go Potty" again and slowly walk pup around again, encouraging him to sniff and find a spot to poop. 5 months is also a very distracted age for a puppy so pup will need your extra help staying focused. When pup does go potty, give four treats or pieces of dog food, one treat at a time - to teach pup to go potty faster when you say Go Potty in the future. After pup comes back inside, give pup 1-1.5 hours of freedom outside the crate. After that time pup either needs to be tethered to you with a leash, taken outside again (probably won't go that soon though if he went before), or crated again, until time to take pup outside again around 3 hours since the last time he went. If pup didn't go potty when you took him - back into the crate for an hour, then take pup out again to try again - repeat this pattern until pup goes when you take him, then give freedom. When you aren't home, at this age pup should be able to stay in the crate for up to 5-6 hours maximum and hold it until you get home. You can only expect pup to hold it this long while in the crate at this point though - not while free in the rest of the house yet. Plus, pup isn't ready for that type of freedom at the beginning of another chewing phase - that can be very dangerous to leave pup unattended for that long. Crate Training and Tethering methods for potty training: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Article on destructive chewing: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ As a general rule, I typically advise crate training until pup is over a year old AND hasn't chewed anything they should in the past four months. When you do try things without a crate, leave pup for short amounts of time and see how he does, gradually leaving pup for longer and longer periods of time if he does well, and going back to crate training for another 3 months before trying again if pup doesn't do well. Careful confinement and supervision now not only keeps pup safe, but it also ensures pup learns good habits that will equal him having 10+ years of more freedom later. When you are too relaxed with training early on it can actually end up leading to a dog who has to be crated when left alone for life vs. a dog who was just crated for about a year then could be left home out of the crate for the rest of their life because they were trustworthy in the house. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Nash's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Tibbers
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tibbers
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
9 Months

We always gush that our dog is the best dog--and he is, he potty trained himself at only 4 months!--his ONLY issue is carpet chewing. He does not chew any furniture or clothes--only carpet. My fiance is not a fan of keeping our dog in a crate while we are gone, so he stays in a playpen. A few months ago, we were gone for about 4 hours and came home to a hole in the carpet where his playpen is. So now there's a guard between the carpet and the bottom of the playpen. But since then, two holes have been created in the carpet of our bedroom (overnight, while we were sleeping), another small one in the living room (also while we were home and making dinner), and then just last night we were gone for only 2 hours and came home to see the dog had somehow gotten out of his playpen and chewed the deepest hole yet by the front door. I don't want to spray the bitter apple all over my carpet, but I also want to be able to trust him at some point to stay out of his playpen. These incidents and far apart from each other, both in the house and time-wise. Before yesterday, it's likely been over 2 months since the last hole. We're just at our wits end at this point.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katelyn, It mat not be what you want to hear but pups needs to be crate trained. The situation to are describing is one of the many reasons I thoroughly recommend crate training for most dogs - it does prevent destructive chewing issues, which is safer for pup, decreases the chances of a dog being re-homed later, and actually leads to a dog having more freedom later in life! Crate training isn't always a fun thing, but one year or crate training can mean 10+ years of freedom out of the crate because the dog learned good habits in the crate. There is certainly a correct way to crate train that makes it more pleasant for the dog. You can try giving pup a bed in the crate and just see how it goes (you may not be able to at first), but for this use something like www.primopads that isn't fabric and can be tethered down to the sides of the crate to prevent pup from pulling up a side to chew. ALSO, give pup a food stuffed durable hollow chew toy - like a Kong extreme - the black classic Kongs - the black rubber is more durable. If he has never been crated before he may protest. During the day, when pup gets quiet for even a couple seconds, go sprinkle a few treats into the crate, then leave again. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below for more details on this: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If he continues protesting for long periods of time past three days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. If he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If he disobeys your command and keeps crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at his side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If he stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward his quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark A Pet Convincer is just a small canister of pressurized air. The sensation of the air and noise just serves as an interrupter to the barking. Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. I know crate training is probably not what you both want to hear but if you have tried everything else, it may be time to try the thing you are avoiding. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Tibbers's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Milo
French Bulldog
11 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Milo
French Bulldog
11 Months

Hi my dog has chewed 3 carpets and I’m unsure for this reason, I have another french bulldog day go has never done anything like this before, milo doesn’t listen when we tell him no I put him in his crate every time he doesn’t listen or he chews but it doesn’t seem to be working.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
92 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. This is for certain an issue that needs fixing, as ingesting the carpet is bad for Milo's tummy. Is Milo chewing when you are at home or only when left alone? There could be several reasons: boredom, anxiety, teething, a need for more physical and mental exercise, and more. So, there are a few things you can try. If Milo chews when you are not at home, have him go in his crate. Make the crate a nice place to be (never use it as punishment). It could be that Milo feels anxious in the big house and needs his own small, quiet place to feel safe. Give him a Kong toy that you have frozen after you have filled it with softened kibble mixed with a little dog-safe peanut butter (no xylitol). This will keep him busy for a while! Also, purchase an interactive feeder where Milo can benefit from mental stimulation by working for snacks or a meal. Obedience training is another helpful tool. Taking Milo to classes will tire him out and also teach him to listen to you. This guide may also provide tips: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-chew-on-furniture Good luck!

Add a comment to Milo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd