Skip to Content

Why does my dog scratch the carpet and floor?

Why does my dog scratch the carpet and floor?
Pet Dog Owner is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

If your dog has been scratching the carpet and floor, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it. 

So, why does my scratch the carpet and floor? Possible reasons why your dog scratches the floor are that it is anxious, bored, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, nature or learning that the behavior gets rewarded. 

Since there are multiple possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it. 

Reasons why your dog scratches the carpet and floor

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

Anxiety

It could be the case that something has been causing it to feel anxious. This would be more likely if your dog does it more when it might be feeling anxious such as when you are about to leave home. It would also be more likely if it also shows other signs of being anxious such as pacing or panting heavily.

Boredom

Most dog breeds are meant to get a lot of daily exercise. When dogs do not get enough exercise, they will often look for ways to stimulate themselves and it might be why yours has been scratching the floor. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more before getting exercise and less afterward. It would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed. 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

It might be the case that it is due to an obsessive-compulsive disorder which is where your dog feels the urge to scratch the floor and it can’t stop itself from doing it. This would be more likely if it has been doing it constantly and for long time periods. If it has been doing it excessively it would help to take it to a vet for a checkup.

Encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that you have been encouraging it by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it scratches the floor, it might be doing it more in order to get more rewards.

Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not scratch the floor and to try and redirect its attention when it seems like it is likely to start scratching the floor. 

An inherited trait

Another possible reason why it scratches the floor could be that it is an inherited trait. When conditions were rough for dogs in the past, they would dig holes in the ground which would protect them from the elements and help hide their food. The dogs that did this were more likely to survive so it could be that those genes are still present in modern-day dogs. 

It’s claiming territory

Dogs sweat via glands on their paws and when they scratch the floor some scent from these glands is released. This has led some people to believe that dogs scratch the floor as a way of claiming territory.

Comfort

The cause could be that it is a natural behavior it does in order to make the ground more comfortable. In the wild, dogs would scratch the floor in order to make the grass smoother and it could be the case that your dog has this trait too.

Things to consider

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason. 

What is different when your dog scratches the carpet and floor

If your dog tends to scratch the floor more at a certain time, it would help to consider what is different about the timing when it does scratch the floor. 

For example, if it tends to do it more shortly before you would normally leave for work then it might be a sign that it has some separation anxiety.

What else happened when it first started doing it

If your dog did not always scratch the floor, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.

If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as a sudden change in its daily routine that caused it to become anxious or something else causing it to become anxious. It would help to consider what else changed at around the same time that it started doing it.

Whereas, if it has always done it then it would be more likely that it does it naturally especially if it does it when it has food or when it is about to lay down. However, it could also be due to things such as obsessive-compulsive disorder especially if it does it excessively.

What to do about your dog scratching the carpet and floor

Below are some things you can do about your dog scratching the floor. 

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have been encouraging it to do it by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is well behaved and to try to redirect its focus on to something else when it is about to do it.

Redirect its focus

One option is to learn to recognize when it is likely to start doing it and then to redirect its attention on to something else like coming to you. By doing this you might be able to break it out of the habit of scratching the floor.

Get help

If you cannot figure out why your dog has been doing it or it has been doing it excessively it would help to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being due to a medical issue. 

Best Dog Training Program

Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now. You can get the first month free using This link