Your dog will sit on the grass. He will sit on the carpet. He will sit in the car, on the couch, on your bed…it seems your dog will sit pretty much anywhere but on a hard surface. You see other dogs doing it with no problem, and you can’t figure out why yours is so averse to sitting on hard surfaces. Well, let’s see if we can unravel the answer.
Why won’t my dog sit on hard surfaces?
Your dog doesn’t have some unsubstantiated fear of hard surfaces. He has a good reason for not wanting to sit on hard surfaces. As a matter of fact, by hard surfaces, you probably actually mean hard floorings like tiles, hardwood, vinyl, or laminate, and no, most dogs don’t like these surfaces at all. Here are some common reasons why dogs won’t sit on hard surfaces.
It may be uncomfortable for your dog to sit on hard surfaces.
Have you sat on concrete in 37°F weather lately? It didn’t bother me much when I was younger, but as I age, I am more and more unable to tolerate that kind of thing. Dogs are no different. They have a need to be comfortable just like humans.
If your dog is fairly skinny, they may have bony areas that are exposed when sitting on hard surfaces causing them to be very uncomfortable. There is also the cold factor. Hard surfaces are notoriously cold, and it can be unenjoyable for any dog to sit on a cold surface — especially a dog that’s aging.
Maybe your dog has some physical issue you are not yet aware of that’s making sitting on hard surfaces painful.
It could be that your dog is suffering from a physical issue you haven’t discovered yet. Conditions such as anal gland issues, hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, a strained muscle, an infection, a bruise, and more, can cause great discomfort for your dog when trying to sit on a hard surface.
Ask yourself whether your dog has been in a fight or an accident recently. Do they have a cut, abrasion, or even a bite in the rear area that may be getting infected? If these are possibilities, you are unsure, or your dog appears to be in pain or distress, you should take them to see a veterinarian immediately.
Your dog may have a negative association with hard surfaces from slipping and sliding on them.
Dogs tend to slip and slide on a hard flooring like that mentioned above, and this means losing control. No one likes losing control! It’s like when you first went to the roller skating or ice-skating rink, how you couldn’t keep your balance.
For a dog, that is scary. Your dog may have even gotten injured as a result of slipping and sliding on a hard surface, and this may have left them with a negative association with hard floors.
Why does my dog only sit on the carpet?
Your dog, given the choice of a hard floor or a carpeted floor, is most likely just making an executive decision to choose the carpeted floor. Plush carpets are more desirable for dogs, as they offer the padding and softness to provide more comfort.
Even low carpets have a layer of padding underneath, and this provides a much more agreeable experience. Also, there is the added bonus of avoiding the jolt of sitting on a hard floor that’s cold.
What to do if my dog does not sit on hard surfaces?
If your dog doesn’t sit on hard surfaces, don’t lose hope yet. Here are a few things you can do.
Take them to the vet for a complete checkup.
The very first thing you should do is ensure that your dog is perfectly healthy. If you think there is any chance your dog could have an injury or a medical condition, you should not waste any time getting them to a licensed veterinarian for a complete physical examination.
Make sure you explain to your vet that your dog refuses to sit on hard floors. Also, take note of how your dog acts when he refuses to sit on a hard floor. Are they still happy enough, or are they in pain or distress when they try to sit? Do they even make an attempt to sit on hard floors?
Especially if your dog is old, consider getting a small rug that your dog can sit on.
If your dog is just uncomfortable on hard floors, there isn’t a lot you can do about that short of working with them. Could you compromise by purchasing a small rug they could sit on to go in the room with the hard floor? Especially if your dog is getting older, the problem is going to get worse, not better.
Deal with their negative association with hard floors.
If your dog has a negative association with hard floors, you will have to overcome it. Here are a few things you can do.
Manicure and maintain their paws.
Long nails, dry pads, and long hair growing from between the pads can all cause dogs to slip and slide worse on hard floors. If you are willing to keep your dog’s nails and the hair between their paw pads trimmed well, it will help tremendously.
Another vital thing you need to do is moisturize their paws, as moist paws will give them traction on hard floors. Natural Dog Company and Musher’s Secret offer great products for paw moisture and protection.
Traction socks are also an option.
Traction socks are available for dogs, too. They help keep dogs from slipping and sliding on hard surfaces. Other options are traction paw pads or toe grips. Toe grips are available in all black or a rainbow of colors. There is even an anti-slip spray.
See a licensed canine behaviorist.
If it turns out that none of the above gives your dog the confidence to overcome their negative association, you may want to consider hiring a licensed canine behaviorist. Dealing with issues like this is what they are trained to do, so if a negative association is the issue, they are the ones to help you deal with the problem.
If your dog turns out to have a medical issue, you may have to resort to using area rugs or traction pads.
If your dog is suffering from a health problem like an anal gland issue, they are in pain. It may be best to purchase area rugs or traction pads for use on your hard floors, at least until your dog is healed and no longer in pain.
Lastly, if your dog is in really bad shape, you may need to replace your flooring.
No one wants to replace a beautiful hardwood or tile floor, but if your dog is quite ill, getting very old, or say, going blind, it may behoove you to replace your hard flooring with carpet. That wouldn’t be an easy decision for anyone. Maybe you could: Maybe you couldn’t. Everyone’s situation is different.