Dogs can become destructive due to stress or boredom. Chewing is a common way for dogs to relieve stress, and some will resort to scratching and clawing furniture.
What can you do if your dog scratches the couch? Your best option is to use positive reinforcement to teach your dog not to damage the couch and redirect them to other, acceptable activities that will relieve stress and keep them entertained.
Keep reading to learn how you can deter your pet from damaging your furniture and how you can help your four-legged companion stay busy.
Why Do Dogs Scratch Furniture?
A dog can engage in this destructive behavior for different reasons:
- Some dog breeds like Terriers or Dachshunds possess a strong instinct to dig. If you notice that your dog enjoys digging outdoors, they might be scratching at your furniture in an attempt to dig holes.
- If you don’t keep your dog’s nails well-trimmed, they will dig to shorten their nails.
- Dogs have very sensitive hearing, especially for high-pitched sounds. Your home might have a pest problem, and your pet is digging because they hear noises in the walls and furniture.
- Digging can also relieve stress, especially if your dog tends to engage in this behavior when you’re gone.
- Some dogs enjoy digging, and damaging your furniture might be a game for them.
How to Deter a Dog Who Scratches Furniture
You can make the couch less enticing by fixing the damage your pup has done. There are different options if your dog scratches your couch.
If the damage is minimal, you can use a razor to cut away loose threads that may entice your dog. Alternatively, you can fix small tears with a fabric sealant or a few stitches. For larger tears, your best option is to cover the area with an adhesive patch that matches the color of your couch.
Use a Dog Repellent Spray
You can keep your dog away from the couch by introducing a smell your pet will find unpleasant. You can spray your couch with a store-bought dog repellent spray or make a homemade spray with a mix of one part water and one part apple cider vinegar.
Prevent Scratching With Furniture Protectors
Furniture protectors are large adhesive panels you can install on your furniture. These plastic panels have a smooth surface that will cause your pet’s nails can’t penetrate.
You’ll often see these products as advertised to deter cats from scratching furniture, but they will also work with dogs.
Unlike cats, dogs don’t need to scratch on things to stay happy and healthy. It’s best to curb this behavior instead of encouraging it with products like scratching posts.
Keep Your Dog’s Nails Trimmed
Digging and scratching can be a symptom of long nails. You need to trim your pet’s nails to prevent discomfort and injuries.
On average, you should trim your dog’s nails once every month, but some dogs might need a nail trim more often. Ideally, you should cut your dog’s nails just before they start touching the ground when your pet walks.
Trimming your dog’s nails can be intimidating. Take your dog to a groomer if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself. You can also learn how to do it and try different tools to make the job easier, such as a rotary grooming tool.
This YouTube video has some great tips to make trimming your pet’s nails stress-free:
Consider Crate Training
If your dog scratches the couch when you’re away, you’re likely dealing with a case of separation anxiety. Crate training can help in some cases.
Follow these steps to crate train your dog:
- Introduce the crate slowly and encourage your dog to explore the inside with some blankets, treats, and favorite toys.
- Once your dog is familiar with the crate, start locking the door for a few minutes at a time. You can use the crate as a spot where your pup can eat or enjoy a special treat to create a positive association.
- Start leaving the room when your pet is in the crate and move on to leaving the house to check the mailbox or take the garbage out.
- Work your way up to crating your pet for extended periods when you leave.
- The crate will physically restrain your pet from scratching furniture, and it can also become a safe space where your dog can relax.
Provide Alternatives to Scratching
Dogs need mental stimulation to thrive. Scratching furniture might be something they do because they’re bored. The act of scratching can be stimulating, but your dog might also be attempting to dig holes to hide toys.
Provide an alternative by ensuring your dog has plenty of blankets if they like hiding and burying toys. Letting your dog dig a few holes outside or at the beach can also be a fun activity that can replace scratching furniture.
Keeping your dog busy with toys will also help curb this behavior. Chew toys can be great for dogs who get anxious, but you can also provide puzzle toys and introduce new toys regularly to keep your dog engaged and mentally stimulated.
What can you do if your dog scratches the couch? Start by fixing your couch and protecting it with a deterrent spray or anti-scratch plastic panel. Focus on determining why your dog is engaging in this destructive behavior and address the root cause.