Updated: Oct 3
How To Stop My Dog From Scratching Furniture
Good question. For a number of reasons, dog scratching furniture has become one of the most common complaints in pet ownership today. There are several different ways to get your dog to stop his scratching habit, so let’s explore some alternatives and see what works best for you.
What Is The Problem With A Dog That Scratches Too Much?
The problem with dogs that scratch too much is that it causes damage on a physical level as well as an emotional one. First off, the furniture takes a beating when he claws away at it repeatedly. Worse yet, if he decides to relieve himself outside of his designated area he can cause damage to door frames and even walls from excessive sniffing. His claws can also cause scratching to himself or others when he gets over-excited or aggressive (such as in the case of other dogs).
Word of the day – dog scratching furniture, how do we fix this problem?
Step 1 – Find The Cause Of The Dog Scratching Behavior
The first step is finding out why your dog does what he does. Does he have itchy paws, or is it something else that makes him scratch so much? It’s important to know this because it will inform us on which method we should go with for fixing the dog scratching behavior. If there is a medical reason this could be related to scratching, then you may want to take him to the vet and get some proper treatment for him before proceeding with any methods later on. If that isn’t the case, then you can continue on to see how else you can approach this problem.
Step 2 – Make Sure Your Dog Is Comfortable
For most dogs that scratch excessively, they do it as a means of relieving stress and/or boredom. If your dog is not comfortable where he is living now, or even if he just has more room to move around in, then consider changing his scenery by moving him to another room in the house or by getting a larger cage altogether and letting him roam about freely whenever you are home.
Ensure that there are no sharp corners for him to scratch up or any other unsafe surfaces, because this could make things worse instead of better. You may think it’s a good idea to give him some plastic pieces of furniture to scratch up, because this way you don’t have to worry about him scratching your own stuff. But in reality, he will probably end up destroying the plastic anyway and go right back to damaging all of your other possessions.
Step 3 – Provide Him With Scratching Alternatives
So let’s say that you’ve determined he doesn’t have any health issues causing his bad behavior (refer back to step 1). The next thing to do is find out if it’s something else that makes him continue with this habit. If so then we need a way for him to fulfill the desire nonetheless without harming anything around the house or yard.
The first solution I like to use for dogs that scratch excessively is a set of sisal rope. You can either get some pieces of wood or plastic and secure it into a corner with screws or nails, making sure that the wires are exposed so he has something to scratch. If you put them in the right spots he usually won’t damage anything else around his cage. This is one of my personal favorites because I’ve found it to be very effective with countless dogs in the past.
The second solution is an old tire cut in half and placed properly on the ground for him to play with whenever he wants (he can’t destroy this, at least not easily). Just make sure it’s relatively safe so that he doesn’t hurt himself when playing with it. Either way, these alternatives should help ease your dog’s need to scratch excessively and allow him to behave himself better in the future.
Step 4 – Provide Your Dog With More Exercise
Now you may be asking yourself, “How are we supposed to give the dog more exercise if he’s scratching all of the time?” While it is hard at first, you can quickly solve this problem by purchasing a doggy treadmill for him. I know there are several out on the market that range from $100-$200, depending on how serious his behavior is. By giving your dog more exercise he will expend more energy while going for long walks or jogs alone or while still within his cage (a good method for dogs with separation anxiety). Dog separation anxiety could be related to scratching.
Step 5 – Use Positive Reinforcement For The Dog Scratching Behavior
So now that you’ve provided your dog with all of the scratching alternatives and allowed him to become more comfortable in his new home, it’s time to use positive reinforcement for the good behavior. The easiest solution I’ve found is a squeak ball toy or tennis ball. Just throw it up into the air for him to go get then give lots of praise when he does return it back to you. That way he will start associating retrieving these items as a reward for completing the task well done in your eyes.
While this method may be great for dogs that only scratch once every so often, there are also other solutions out there if yours is constantly using his paws on everything around him. You can either buy one of those spray bottles used on misbehaving children (works the same way on animals) or a remote control, which emits a sound similar to that of a dog whistle. This should startle your pet enough to stop whatever it is he’s doing at the moment and get him refocused once again.
Step 6 – Address Underlying Behavior Issues Like Stress Or Separation Anxiety For The Dog Scratching Behavior
So let’s say all this work you’ve done has still not gotten rid of his habit for good or maybe he started scratching worse than ever. At this point it is time to take things one step further by addressing any underlying behavior problems causing this issue in the first place (excessive barking, chewing, digging, jumping up on people).
You have two options here, you can either hire a professional dog trainer or take some time to look through online resources and do it yourself. Either way will achieve the same outcome if done correctly but it may be easier for you if you’re able to learn the ins and outs of training your own pet rather than paying someone else to do it. Either way is completely up to you though so go with whichever option works best for you and your pooch.
Overall this problem isn’t that difficult to solve but at the same time it’s not something that will just disappear on its on over night (again, depending on how bad his scratching actually is). It takes lots of hard work along with determination in order to get everything under control again (or even better, improve the bad behavior altogether).
Another great natural alternative is CBD Oil.
CBD is a natural compound derived from hemp. It is a non psychoactive concentrate that has been used by humans for thousands of years. The cannabinoid helps with many ailments, and has recently been researched as a way to help with dogs separation anxiety.
CBD oil can be given to dogs to help with anxiety while their owners are away. This method of treatment is 100% natural and easy to provide for your dog. The best part is, the treatment can be given long term with no side effects.
CBD oil for dogs can also be used to help pets that suffer from noise anxiety, car sickness, or pain.
Just remember that this process will take some time and if you don’t stick with it then there’s no reason to hope for a different outcome. Good luck!
Step 7: Create A Dog Scratch Pads For Your Home
So earlier in the article I mentioned how there are lots of scratching alternatives that you can provide your dog but sometimes they’re just not enough. So what do you do when this becomes the case? It’s simple, buy him a dog scratch pad.
As someone who has trained dogs professionally I can tell you right now that these things are great because they allow them to keep their nails trimmed with no risk of injury. Not only that but it looks pretty nice too so you won’t have to worry about your house looking like a complete mess because of this one easy solution.
Step 8: Address Any Problem Areas In Your Home To Protect Your Furniture And Carpet From Pet Scratching
Once you’ve gotten rid of the problem at hand and your furry friend is left with nothing else to do, he may start going after other things around him in order to survive the boredom (such as rips or tears in couches or chairs). So what’s the solution? By using some common household items such as plastic wrap, duct tape, carpet grippers/tack strips or even spray foam insulation, you can create a barrier around certain areas of the house that will protect it from any type of scratching.
In order to make this idea a bit more effective you can take some extra precautionary measures such as placing lemon or orange peels inside of the wrap in order to create a bitter smell. That way your dog won’t even try going near these areas knowing that it’s not good for him.
Just remember though, dogs learn both by rewarding and punishing so if he does happen to go after something despite it being protected then don’t punish him too harshly because chances are he didn’t know any better. I hope some of you found this article helpful, if you have any questions feel free to ask below! Also be sure to check out my other articles.