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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Rex

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Golden Retriever

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8 Months

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Hello, Rex is generally a well behaved pup and is very good at following commands but when he is left whilst I’m at work (generally only 3-4 hours at a time) he will start to pull up the floor and chew it. I think this is more boredom than separation anxiety as he is quite happy to be left playing by himself inside whilst I am doing things outside but when we have been gone for a while he then chews the floor. It also generally only happens on days when I am out for longer periods as my hours fluctuate. We have tried lots of toys with him and have alternated these so he’s not getting bored of the same toys but that doesn’t seem to make any difference as he doesn’t seem to even play with them when we are at work. We have him in the hallway (most dog friendly area) using baby gates as the floor is not that precious at the moment but I am worried when we put new floor down that he will continue the habit. We can’t really crate him as his sister (2years old) has never been crated and it’s makes him more distressed not being able to get to her when she is walking around freely. We originally trained him by going out and then coming back and rewarding and increasing the time we left him. We have also tried rewarding him on the occasions when he hasn’t chewed the carpet but generally this is not very frequently and as he does it when we are not in we can’t catch him in the act. I hoping it’s something he will just grow out of but wondered if there was anything else we could do. Thanks

July 7, 2021

Rex's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello, First, I do recommend crating. That will be the easiest way to wait this out with him, and he will need a period of time where he is not able to chew without you there to move past the habit, otherwise he likely won't grow out of it, but it will turn into an adult, long-term habit instead of puppy chewing. If you decide to go that route, you can get pup used to the crate and deal with the barking in the crate by doing the below. First, work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. If pup only cries when you are not home, then you can go outside and use a camera to spy on pup, returning to reward or correct whenever pup stays quiet or cries. Another option is to set up a camera to spy on him and leave him in the hallway uncrated. You will need something like a Wyze security type camera or wifi video baby monitor so that you can see pup from outside. I would then use a stimulation based remote training collar to correct pup every time they put their mouth on the flooring, with the correction only lasting as long as pup's mouth is touching that flooring to chew it, then stopping as soon as pup lets go. This should mean 1-2 second or less corrections, not long ones. I would additionally stuff some kongs with a frozen dog food mixture to keep pup occupied with those for longer, so pup has something else to choose to entertain himself with while bored. To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. You can also purchase several durable hollow chew toys and stuff them at the same time so that you have a stash in the freezer to grab from as needed. A final thing you can try either by itself or in combination with the above, is something like AutoTrainer or Pet Tutor, which you should be able release a treat from using your corresponding phone app periodically when you see pup leaving the flooring alone from your phone camera app (check the model to make sure the treat dispenser you choose has that ability). This option may not work on its own though, it's best used in combination with corrections, for pup to learn a clear "No, don't chew that", and a clear "Yes, entertain yourself that way instead" by interrupting the unwanted behavior and rewarding the desired behavior. The hardest part about this route without the use of a crate is the lack of consistency. Since you will need to be within range of pup to correct, which is within 1/2 mile generally with high quality remote training collars, you can do this while outside spying on pup, but not while at work likely. Depending on how determined a chewer pup is and how often they do the behavior, this will likely take consistent repetition for the chewing to improve long term, with pup only having the option of chewing when you are ready to train. The best option would be to crate pup while you are away and can't train, to practice the training from outside with pup uncrated when you are home, and do this for at least a month, until you are confident pup won't chew when left uncrated; at that point you could spy on pup with the camera without the intent to need to correct to test whether pup is ready for freedom after the month of training, and ease pup back into the hallway uncrated if they are no longer chewing. If pup goes back to chewing, crate for longer until pup is a little older, then test again whether pup is ready for freedom. Remote training collar fitting - many high quality collars also have a vibration option. This is sometimes more adverse to a dog than a low level stim correction, but you could try that option first. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Finding the lowest level pup will respond to, to set you stimulation level, called a working level correction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Only use a high quality remote training collar for effectiveness and safety reasons. Many cheap ones with few levels are not safe. Some well known brands are Dogtra, Sportdog, Garmin, and E-collar Technologies. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

July 8, 2021

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Sakia

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Siberian Husky

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2 Months

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My puppy is extremely picky with treats. I have tried homemade treats and 3different types of store bought treats... she has no interest. I have ordered another type to try, but in the meantime, I need an idea for a reward system to train her with other than treats.

March 29, 2021

Sakia's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Victoria, Many dogs respond better to toys and play than food. See if pup enjoys tug of war, and if so you can reward with tugs on a toy toy. If pup enjoys chasing things like a ball, you can also use tossing pup a ball or small floppy frisbee as a reward. You can also just pay attention to what pup wants throughout the day. Use the things pup wants, like getting to go outside, eating breakfast, being petted, being tossed a toy, to motivate pup to do things like Sit before you give them whatever they want, this works especially well once pup understands what a command like Sit already means, to practice that command and get better. This is called life rewards. Check out the trainer from the video linked below for an example of using play and toys to reward. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDnJ7dwnSwo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 31, 2021


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