If your dog has been scratching the couch a lot, 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 about each of them.
So, why does my dog scratch the couch? Common reasons why dogs scratch the couch are that they do it naturally to make the ground more comfortable to lie on, anxiety, wanting something stuck on the couch, or learning that the behavior gets rewarded.
There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and it could have been due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Reasons why your dog scratches the couch
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.
In the wild, dogs would often scratch at the ground to make it more comfortable before lying down. It could be the case that your dog has been scratching at the sofa, before lying down, due to its nature. This would be more likely if it does not do it excessively and if it also scratches in other areas before lying down.
The reason why your dog has been doing it could also be that something has been causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more when it is more likely to be anxious such as when you are about to leave home.
It wants something stuck on the couch
It might also be the case that it does it because there is something stuck on the couch, such as food, that it wants. This would be more likely if it scratches at a certain spot and if it also does things such as lick the couch.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys, or treats, when it scratches at the couch, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
It might also be the case that it has been doing it due to a more serious cause. It could be the case that there is a mental issue that is causing it. This would be more likely if your dog has been doing other unusual things such as be dizzy, vomit a lot, or have seizures. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
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 couch 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.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main cause.
What else happened when it first started
If your dog did not always scratch the couch, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If your dog started doing it suddenly, it might be due to food being stuck on the couch or learning that the behavior is rewarded.
What else is different when your dog scratches the couch
If it does not always scratch at the couch, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it only does it when you are about to leave home, it might be due to separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog scratching the couch
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not. It would also help to try to redirect its focus before it starts scratching at the couch to help avoid rewarding the behavior.
Remove food from the couch
It would also help to remove any food that might be stuck on the couch or inbetween the gaps in the couch.
It might also help to give it training to stay off the couch. To do this, you could reward it when it shows signs of not getting on the couch when it normally would. You can watch the video below to see how it is done.
If your dog has been doing it excessively and it has not been to the vet for a checkup in a while, it would also help to take it to the vet for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being due to mental issues.
If it is healthy, it could also help to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and what to do to get your dog to stop doing it.
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