Why Do Dogs Dig the Carpet?

by Naomi Millburn
    Digging behaviors in dogs are no surprise.

    Digging behaviors in dogs are no surprise.

    DTP/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    If you've noticed recently that your doggie has developed an unusual habit of digging obsessively into your living room carpet, don't just dismiss it as silly and wacky canine behavior. Dogs dig around for a multitude of reasons, from simple boredom to the stress and loneliness of separation anxiety.

    Temperature Control

    In canines, digging behaviors actually have ancestral origins. According to the ASPCA, members of the dog family, such as the wolf, frequently dig up cozy dens to shelter their young away from the harsh elements. If you notice your dog digging around into your carpet, perhaps the poor thing is either feeling a little too hot or cold at the moment and is using his instincts to try to figure out a smart solution.
    Although it may seem more natural for dogs to dig around in dirt, the ASPCA states that the furry ones also frequently engage in the habit with furnishings and carpeting. Don't be surprised if your dog starts digging on your carpet when good, old-fashioned soil isn't available.

    Entertainment

    If you're noticing that your dog's digging habit is pulling up bits of your carpet, consider the possibility that the cutie is just bored. The behavior may be a form of entertainment. Perhaps no one is home in the household and your dog doesn't have any toys around. Digging into a carpet may just be a way for him to blow off some steam, have some fun and even get a little exercise, too.

    Breed Type

    The Humane Society of the United States reports that your dog's breed type may have something to do with his digging. For example, terriers throughout history have been trained to seek out, dig up and hunt mice living in the ground. If you catch your Jack Russell terrier in the act of pounding into your carpet, he may just be fulfilling an innate urge -- nothing too alarming. Terriers will be terriers, after all.

    Separation Anxiety

    Your dog may also be digging into the carpet to soothe her separation anxiety. For instance, if her favorite member of the household just recently moved away to college across the nation, your canine cutie may begin digging into the carpet as a way to "access" the absent companion, as bizarre as that may seem to human ears. The digging may also be a way for a dog to attempt to get out of a situation that is making him unhappy -- essentially, a quiet home.

    Burying

    Dogs also possess the innate urge to bury their food, toys or anything else. If you spot your doggie digging, it may be because she's trying to conceal something she likes for later consumption or play -- pretty practical, actually.

    Photo Credits

    • DTP/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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