So, you finally get that beautiful carpet you’ve been eyeing for a long time because it was on sale now, you boast about it to your friends at work, only to come back home to witness a torn carpet. The credit goes to: your “innocent” dog of course. Your pooch looks at you innocently like it wasn’t his fault. No, your dog is not criticizing your interior decoration skills. Dogs are known to tear up carpets for several reasons. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to examine and determine the reason behind it and take necessary actions to prevent your dog from continuing with the behavior.
It is easier to come to a conclusion that your dog tearing up carpets in simply what all dogs do. However, understand that not all behaviors are regular dog behaviors. There is something to your dog’s actions. Here are some reasons you may want to consider:
If you find that this behavior of your dog is provoked by an external factor, it can probably be his way of responding to anxiety or fear. For instance, if he tends to rip up carpets whenever someone comes over or when he hears thunder, he may be afraid of the external factor and trying to escape from it. On the other hand, if he displays the behavior whenever he is left alone, it can be due to separation anxiety, which is considered to be the most common reason behind such behaviors.
If too much of your dog’s energy is left unused, he may start practicing strange behaviors like tearing up or scratching carpets. This usually happens when there is no other way for him to release the excess energy. In this case, it is up to you to provide your dog with a better way to make use of his energy. Taking your dog for long walks on a daily basis, playing with him, and teaching him new tricks and practicing the same regularly are some productive ways to use his energy.
Some dogs are known to develop compulsive disorders or behaviors due to which they behave ferociously or wrongly. A dog may develop such behavior if he is not trained or socialized properly, lives in a stressful atmosphere, or restrained redundantly. If you suspect that your dog’s behavior may be triggered by compulsive disorder, seek the help of a behaviorist or trainer.
The most vital aspect you should address first is separation anxiety. Dogs usually get miserable when their owners are not around, and to deal with the anxiety of being alone, they usually tear up carpets or rugs. If you wish to make sure that it is separation anxiety that changes your dog’s behavior, you can confirm it by looking for a few symptoms. Dogs with separation anxiety usually try to go with you wherever you go, even when you head out, and also start to whine when you leave them behind. While this displays your dog’s affection for you in one way, it is important that you train him to get used to it without any difficulty.
Causes of Separation Anxiety
In the case of dogs, separation anxiety can occur if they are constantly moved from one home to another, not properly trained or socialized, naturally nervous, and also if they feel dominant in a household. Following are some common causes of separation anxiety in dogs:
- Your dog may be in the thought that he won’t be seeing you again and hence concerned about his survival. This especially happens with dogs that have already been through a traumatic experience like earthquake, thunderstorm, fire, or burglary, and may be frightened that he may experience the same once again if you are not around.
- Another belief pertinent to separation anxiety in dogs is what they perceive to be pack leadership. Your dog would have thought of you as his pack member, and may end up in dismay if you tend to leave the house without his consent. His distorted understanding of your household structure makes him feel upset whenever he is left alone, causing him to engage in such activities.
- One other simple cause of separation anxiety can be that your dog is afraid of being alone.
Whatever may be the cause behind your pet’s separation anxiety, here are some tips to help you solve the issue.
Inspect the Atmosphere and Your Dog
Begin the process by making sure that your dog is not being afflicted by anything physical. Any physical or mental illness can be the reason behind your dog’s unusual behavior, especially in a changing environment. For instance, if you are following a specific diet for your dog, say low protein, there are chances that he expresses his hunger by way of different behaviors, such as whining or chewing carpets.
However, if your dog is completely healthy, you can move on to examining his surroundings to find potential sources that can cause discomfort. Some of the factors to examine include the temperature of the environment, strange smells or sounds, and other similar factors.
If everything seems fine, then you should probably start thinking about dealing with separation anxiety.
Help Your Dog Socialize, and Engage in Physical Activities
If your dog is happy and tired, he is more likely to remain calm and sleep without getting into unwanted activities. To get rid of his separation anxiety, you can take him for a long walk before you leave home. Whatever your choice of physical activity is, may it be walking, cycling, or jogging, make sure it is long enough, say one to two hours. You can also put on your roller skates and enjoy moving around in your neighborhood. If you cannot do any of this, then treadmill should be your last option.
It is also recommended that you take your dog to the dog park in your neighborhood as frequently as possible to let him socialize with other dogs and people.
Engage Your Dog in Some Activities
One solution to help make your dog feel less isolated is to get another pet. This way, your dog will no longer feel as neglected as before. However, getting a second pet may not be ideal for everyone; in that case, you can try to keep your dog engaged in some activities.
You can try giving him a treat-filled toy like a rubber chew toy or puzzle box that are made exclusively for dogs. Before deciding on leaving a specific toy, try experimenting with different options to see which interests him more. You can also change the toys occasionally to keep your dog interested. Whatever toy you choose, make sure that it will keep your dog engaged for long enough until you return home or at least for him to forget that he is all alone at home. Remember, such treats work only when your dog receives them when you are gone. When he starts getting an impression that being alone gets him treats, he will start feeling less bored, frustrated, lonely, or frightened.
Feed Your Dog before Leaving
Some dogs tend to get anxious if they are hungry. Feed your dog a filling meal with enough carbohydrates before you leave so he remains relaxed and sleepy till you get back. Your aim here is to have a well-fed and well-exercised dog that happily slumbers causing no trouble.
Use a Crate or Cage
If your dog continues to destroy your carpet or other furniture around your house, then your only option would be to constrain him while he gets used to the environment. Cages and crates are available in different models and sizes. While you can choose the model based on your preferences, the size of the crate or cage should be chosen based on your dog’s size. Cost will differ according to the size and type.
Keep in mind that crates or cages are just a temporary solution. Never leave your dog in a crate for over a few simultaneous hours. Also, it is important to train your dog for the crate before leaving him in it for long periods. He should be willing to be in the crate and should consider it secure; therefore, never use it as a prison or for punishment.
Try Doggy Daycare
If you wish to protect your house till your dog’s behavior is corrected, you may have to consider doggy daycare. This will help you concentrate on your regular duties at work without worrying about having to witness a shredded carpet, or anything for that matter, when you get back home.
One major benefit of sending your dog to daycare is that it teaches him about socialization and most importantly, that the time he spends without you around can actually be pleasant and enjoyable. If insufficient socialization is the reason behind your dog’s inappropriate behavior, daycare can teach him that in no time, thus quickening behavior modification. Eventually your dog will become less anxious, and over time you can slowly reduce the frequency of taking him to daycare by engaging him in other fun-filled activities.
Every problem has a solution. Similarly, your dog’s behavior of tearing up the carpet at home can also be changed if you follow the necessary steps.