Unfortunately, we don't have as much time as we would like and this leads us to sometimes miss things that are important.
There are times when we have a pet we stop to observe their behavior and we are surprised with certain actions They carry out. That is when we ask ourselves questions about what we have seen.
One of them can be why dogs scratch the ground. Today we are going to try to find the answer.
The customs in dogs
Surely you've ever heard the phrase that man is an animal of customs. We do not know if we can consider this statement very accurate, but what we can affirm with completeness is that Dogs are animals of habit.
Customs consist of doing things automatically, without having to think about it. It is a great advantage because the opposite would undoubtedly be exhausting.
That is, if we did not have customs we would have to think about everything we do throughout the day, from getting out of bed and putting on slippers to brushing our teeth before bedtime.
Well, as with humans, dogs make life easier and, moreover, they make them enjoy a relative harmony. That state of comfort that makes them do things naturally makes them feel comfortable.
But, on the other hand, they have the disadvantage that, on occasion, they make us feel trapped and do not give much room to improvisation, not to mention that some are very difficult to break.
If this happens in the case of people, in dogs it's even more complicated.
If your dog has a habit of scratching the ground and it's something you don't like him to do, You may find it quite difficult to get him to stop. Because, although a custom is not established overnight, ending it is a much longer process.
For this reason, if your dog has started scratching the ground, arm yourself with patience if you want to get him to stop.
But let's see why dogs scratch the ground.
Why dogs scratch the ground
We will start by saying that the fact that dogs scratch the ground is very normal, many do. Of course, it is not the same thing that you do in your house, on the platform, the parquet floor or any other material that you have in your home to do it in the street.
It is true that if you have a habit of scratching the floor of the house we must try to avoid it by all means. It is clear that, otherwise, it will end up causing us some damage that will not help us to have a cordial relationship with our pet.
If you do it abroad we will not need to correct that custom but we can still ask why they do it.
These are some reasons that can lead to dogs scratching the ground:
You are nervous or upset for some reason, or maybe without it. You need to burn all your energy by exercising. You may simply be calling for attention so that we perceive that it requires that we dedicate more time, playing with him or simply taking him out for a walk.
Sometimes the reason that dogs scratch the ground is as simple as with this action they pretend to file their nails because they are too long. So look closely at your condition to prevent it from happening.
If what you do is scratch your bed or the place where you rest, the only reason would be accommodate her to be more comfortable.
After making their needs, dogs scratch the ground with both their back and front legs. Contrary to what happens in the case of cats, their goal is not to bury their needs, but leave the marked area so that other members of his species perceive it.
Now you know the reasons dogs have for scratching the ground.
One of the reasons why your dog scratches surfaces is a natural instinct. Formerly in their period as a wild animal they dug on the ground to dig their burrows and protect them and their puppies from the weather and other predators. Nowadays, with the security that the domestic dog has, it makes no sense that they dig to create a place to protect themselves, but it is what their ancestors did for thousands of years and this genetic information has reached them to this day.
All dogs love to prepare a comfortable place to lie down and rest comfortably. When they scratch the sofa, they move cushions or blankets they are conditioning the place to more comfortably enjoy their rest. Sometimes they even have a real preparation ritual! It really is quite fun to see them as they make their preparations for their moments of rest.
To get our attention
If for some reason your dog scratches the bed, the sofa or the floor and we observe him, we laugh and get all our attention he will have learned that doing so has his reward, so he will tend to repeat it. Seeking our attention in a strut way is not bad, however if you see that he does it constantly you may have to pay a little more attention by playing more with him or taking him more for a walk.
Because they have fun
It is possible that in addition to the previous reasons that we have mentioned, have a part of fun for them. For us scratching the sofa, the floor or the carpets are not very entertaining activities, however for dogs it can be a very interesting way to hang out. Also when they do it for a long time and very energetically allows them to release energy quickly and helps them feel better
Understanding canine behavior
Before delving into the most common causes that explain why dogs scratch the ground or floor it is essential to highlight the importance of understanding our furry companion. In this way, we must pay attention to the context in which he carries out this activity, at what moment he does it, since here lies the key to finding the answer we are looking for.
Dogs are governed by a language completely different from ours, in which smells take a leading role to identify practically everything: their home, other dogs, to us. In this way, it is not surprising that certain behaviors are carried out following their instinct and, therefore, we must not act without any prior knowledge. Sometimes, unconsciously, by stopping the animal we are generating a state of stress, anxiety and frustration, and we even have it relate something that is positive for him with a negative stimulus. Thus, if every time you see your dog scratching the ground you tend to tell him not to do so, first investigate the reason that leads him to do it and then act to solve the problem, if any.
Does the dog scratch the bed or the floor of the rest area?
Most dogs, if not all, scratch the bed or the floor around it before bedtime. Why does he do this? The main reason that leads the dog to carry out this "ritual" is none other than that of mark your territory, indicate to other dogs that this rest area is yours. By scratching both the bed and the floor, the animal spreads its aroma and warns the rest of the dogs that part of the home belongs to it. However, this does not mean that a dog that does not live with other dogs should not do it, since since it is something that is in its natural instinct, it is most likely that it will also do so.
Dogs have a series of glands in different areas of their body through which they emit their own smell, unique and recognizable by the rest of dogs. The most popular are the anal glands, so dogs tend to rub their anus between them when they are during the walk, and the sweat glands found in the pads. These last ones fulfill several fundamental functions for the animal, between which they emphasize the one to regulate the corporal temperature through the sweat and to endow it with an own smell. In this way, by scratching the floor the dog distributes the smell emitted by the pads.
On the other hand, if you only scratch the bed before bedtime, what you are doing is accommodating it to rest as well as possible. As can happen to you, your dog tries to mold the cushion to form its own hole, feel safe and comfortable in it. All the detailed information on why dogs scratch the bed before going to bed in our article, do not miss it!
You need to release the accumulated energy
If your dog scratches the floor of any area of the home for no apparent reason and energetically, you may feel stressed about not getting enough exercise and, therefore, that is his escape route. In general, this type of dogs usually has other symptoms of stress, such as stereotyping, licking or constant gasping. In fact, the same act of scratching the ground can become a stereotypy if performed frequently and, therefore, requires immediate treatment.
Dogs are animals that they need to release the accumulated energy to be calm, calm and in balance. For this, it is best to offer them the exercise that their size and character needs, both through walks to interact with other dogs and through physical activities that allow them to run and also help us strengthen the bond with them. If this is not fulfilled, the dog looks for other methods to release that energy, and scratching the ground compulsively is one of them. If this is your case and you don't know how to help your dog get rid of stress, we recommend you go to an ethologist or canine educator to guide you.
Nails too long?
In the wild, dogs would scratch the ground to file your nails and not damage your legs when walking. When they are too long, the can can develop serious health problems, such as twisting the fingers or breaking a nail, damaging the tissue inside it and causing an infection, among others. When the pads are exceeded, the dog cannot correctly support the legs on the floor and, therefore, the mentioned damages occur. In these cases we can also observe the animal biting its nails on some occasions.
Not ensuring proper maintenance of the nails can lead the dog to scratch any type of soil to try to file them and recover the length that corresponds. To know how to cut your dog's nails at home, do not miss our simple tips.
Scratch the floor after making your needs>
How many times have you seen your dog scratching the floor after defecating or urinating? They usually do so with both the hind legs and the front legs, moving slightly away from the droppings or urine, and throwing dirt, if any. This behavior is not intended to cover stool or urination to hide for reasons of hygiene, try leave an olfactory and visual trail for dogs that cross that same territory later. Thus, it is an act of marking, carried out mainly by males, although we can also see it in some females. Therefore, we also usually observe that our dog defecates or urinates in areas where others have already done so. As with the act of scratching the bed, it is a natural behavior, typical of the canine instinct that we should not hinder or curb.
On the other hand, dogs with a serious fear of other dogs often hide to make their needs and dig the earth to cover feces and urine for the opposite purpose: remove the evidence. In this way, they avoid attracting other dogs and manage to feel safer. These dogs need to be treated urgently by an ethologist or canine educator to regain self-confidence.
In general, when it comes to marking the dog's territory rather than covering the feces, what it tries is to spread them to spread its smell, while in the second case we do see how the animal hides the feces. In addition, the dog with fear of other dogs will have other symptoms such as carrying the tail between the legs, the ears back or very crouched, or shaking when he sees another dog approaching him.
And if it scratches the earth?
In addition to the aforementioned reasons, such as filing their nails or releasing energy, the dog can dig the earth simply by having perceived a trail that leads him to believe that there is a buried object in that place. In its nature is the fact bury and dig up things, so his own instinct leads him to scratch that area.
On the other hand, if you have observed that your dog has first scratched the earth and then has been lying on it, you should know that it does so to regulate its own temperature. In times of heat, the can digs the earth until it reaches a cold layer on settling and cooling, while in the cold months it does so to remove the upper layer (which is usually colder) and lie on a warmer one. In this sense, the dog can also scratch the floor or floor of the home for the same purpose: regulate the temperature and accommodate a space to make it comfortable. For this reason, we want to highlight the importance of offering the animal its own bed, comfortable and cozy, so that it can rest without feeling cold or hot.
Should I avoid this behavior?
As we have seen throughout the article, in most cases the reason that answers the question why dogs scratch the ground is in their instinct and nature, so we should not hinder and curb that behavior. In these specific processes the can tries to communicate, so that it does not present any problem that should be treated.
Of course, when it comes to a stereotypy or behavior to release accumulated tension, we must act to eradicate the problem and return the animal to its welfare state. Likewise, if the reason is an inadequate maintenance of the nails, obviously we must also intervene to avoid health problems.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why do dogs scratch the ground?, we recommend that you enter our Curiosities section of the animal world.
What are the reasons why dogs scratch the floor?
1. Mark territory
The Mark territory It is one of the reasons why dogs scratch their area, either sleeping or anywhere else. Dogs are recognized for making urine marks, but that is not the only way to spread their smell. Like wolves, they also have special glands that are located on the bottom of a dog's paws, releasing a special aroma that is reinforced by scratching. Digging on the surface of the territory where they plan to rest, the dogs use the smell of their paws to claim the area as their own. In this way, the other dogs can associate the wastes with their aroma. Although this belief does not have scientific support.
2. Regulate the temperature
There are some dogs that scratch the floor before going to bed simply to improve the comfort of your bedroom. Dogs usually rearrange their rest area. Sand, grass or cotton can help dogs to regulate its temperature. In warm regions, dogs can dig on the floor to cool. In cool areas, dogs can dig the floor to create a slightly more cozy, that is, warm environment. Scratching the floor before bedtime also helps dogs find the most comfortable sleeping position.
Although it may not sound very funny to dog owners, some dogs like the simple fact of scratching or rummaging, as doing so they entertain a little. Scratching the ground also helps some dogs to relieve boredom and release energy.
In addition, scratching the ground is also usually more natural for some races than for others. For example, Terriers have a reputation for being great diggers.
In other cases, some dogs carry their habit of scratching too far. Many tear the carpets of their owners or dig unwanted holes in the yard or garden. In case this happens, it is important that you teach your dog that such behavior is not appropriate.
4. Lack of exercise
The lack of exercise It is also one of the reasons why dogs scratch the ground, which this time the dog performs to wear out the accumulated energy. In this regard it is best to be careful, since over time you can develop an obsession that is very harmful to your mental and physical health.
Like people, dogs usually also prefer a soft bed to a hard surface. Outdoors, a dog can scrape as a way to create a bed of grass and leaves. Dogs that rest in beds indoors, usually use their paws to organize blankets or pillows to your liking. In the same way, they may show the same behavior on hard wood floors or on carpets, even if there are no objects to move or organize.
How to prevent our dogs scratching the floor?
On some occasions, the simple act of scraping is harmful to carpets, floors or beds. If this is so, many experts suggest giving dogs sometimes their own bed, if they no longer have one. If you already have one, it is important to add some blankets or old clothes.
You can also read about: Why do dogs stick their tongues out?
Why do dogs scratch the floor before bedtime?
There are other situations that may indicate a behavioral problem. Although there are many reasons why dogs scratch the ground, below we explain the most common causes:
To mark your territory.
To seek comfort.
To file your nails.
To release energy
By scratching both the floor and their bed, dogs are reproducing a completely natural behavior that they carry within themselves by pure instinct. The objective of this behavior is to mark their territory, highlight that this area is your resting area. Dogs have sweat glands on the pads with which they disperse their own smell, a set of pheromones that will differentiate their site from other dogs.
This behavior is something innate in them and it is up to each one to manifest it more or less. There will be dogs that always do it and others that only do it occasionally or never. In any case, this is not negative behavior.
In addition to marking their territory, if your dog regularly scratches its bed before bedtime, it may be accommodating its place, just as we prepare our rest area, they also mold the cushion to make a hole and thus feel safety and comfort.
Both behaviors are a natural reaction of our dogs, although if we observe that he does it in an exaggerated way, we should consult with a canine ethologist, since it can become an obsessive and repetitive behavior that has to be analyzed.
Does a dog that scratches the ground need a nail file?
Yes. In a natural state a dog would scratch the ground with its nails to keep them healthy. It is important that they remain in good condition, since they can cause the dog a discomfort when walking that leads to major problems by not making good support of the limbs. If your dog scratches the ground, observe the condition of its nails, maybe you just need a clipping.
Can you scratch the floor because you are stressed?
If your dog scratches the ground with energy (from anywhere) for no apparent reason, for example, does not lie down afterwards or does not look for anything concrete, it can have a lot of accumulated energy and is its way of releasing it. You may be stressed or not getting enough exercise. It is important to put a solution in time, since it can become a stereotypy (a repetitive action that the dog performs without a specific purpose), and thus increase the stress situation. Trat provide you with the exercise you need and take good walks, if your dog continues to scratch the ground and is anxious, we recommend contacting an ethologist to guide you.
Does your dog scratch the floor after fulfilling its needs?
Depending on the character, if your dog scratches the ground you can do it following two very different objectives:
If you urinate and / or defecate in an area where other dogs have been able to do it and then scratch the ground, is leaving its smell and marking territory. It does not try to hide the crime, rather it tries to say “I was here”. It is usually a more frequent behavior in males, although it is also possible to see it in some females. Again, It is a natural behavior, typical of the innate instinct of dogs, so do not stop it when you do it, since it is simply expressing its nature.
Instead, if your dog is fearful or distrustful and / or fears the other dogs, he may be looking for the opposite end, hide your stool or urination to eliminate the tests and that other dogs do not know that it was there. It is usually a behavior in which they try to hide and thus feel more secure. In this case you should supervise an ethologist or canine educator, as it can create a lot of anxiety in your hairy.
Does your dog scratch the earth?
In this case the reasons can be many. You can scratch the earth in order to dig up a hidden object that has been followed by the trail, or to bury its prey or treasure and protect it from other dogs. They love to sniff, it is a very stimulating behavior for them.
As well, if your dog scratches the ground and then lies down, it does so to find a place to settle by regulating its temperature, that is, on hot days it digs the earth to expose the deepest layers that are cooler and wetter, instead, in winter, it searches for heat in depth that the surface layer is colder to be exposed to weather conditions (rain, wind, snow, frost, etc.).
However, your dog's behavior may not match any of the previous two, and Holes in your garden are a simple game and a way to release energy. Consult with an ethologist, he will know how to help you.
Is my dog scratching the ground a negative behavior? Should I correct it?
As we have already mentioned, our dog can behave in this way by pure nature and instinct, it is his way of communicating and expressing himself as Canis lupus familiaris, that is, as a dog, so we should not intervene or stop this behavior.
On the other hand, if you consider that it is something obsessive and conditioned by stress or some other problem, we recommend that you contact a specialist, he will know analyze the situation and understand what really happens to your dog.
Why do dogs scratch the ground, soil or floor?
This unwanted behavior (by humans, sometimes) of a dog can be due to a number of reasons. A dog that you see scratching the lawn of the garden, may have hidden (or is trying) a toy, a bone or any other object that claims as its treasure. As the owner may give him too much food, the dog decides to hide the food or bone in view of a winter day and shortage in the future. This attitude of saving food is a genetic inheritance of their wild ancestors.
The but can decide to scratch the floor to make a bed comfortable. Dogs instinctively know what weather conditions they need to keep their body at an appropriate temperature. In hot weather, the dog scratches the floor to expose the coldest layers and be able to lie down cool. The same happens when it is cold. A hole in the ground protects the dog from the icy wind.
When a dog scratches the ground after urinating or defecating, it does so to expand its smell as much as possible, and so mark your territory. It is the way to send the message to the other dogs.
A dog scratching the ground tries to communicate with the owner. The dog may be saying that needs attention. Most of the dogs that scratch the earth are heartbroken and suffer from separation anxiety.
The habit of scratching is almost impossible for a dog to be completely removed. If you don't want the grass to "break" or scratch your parquet, give it a litter box or designate an area in your yard or garden, where the can scratch and dig freely. Do not take away that innate instinct. Let him vent and be happy. Bury certain toys, bones or "goodies" in the designated area to stimulate the dog to dig there and not in the lawn of your garden (or the area you want to protect from scratches)
To mark territory
When dogs rub with the pads of their paws a surface releases a smell that is impregnated on it. Thus they manage to leave their "personal mark" and claim that territory as their own. This behavior is usually more frequent on sofas and beds, where our scents or those of other inhabitants of the house are more present, and it intensifies when a new member arrives at the house or important changes occur within your home.