How to Stop a Dog From Ripping the Carpet

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Some people face this problem: your formerly good-looking carpet is looking rough and your dog is to blame. If a dog tears up carpet when left alone, it's likely a separation anxiety issue. Few dogs actually take a liking to carpeting and become bent on destroying it — there's usually an underlying reason.

Dogs sometimes tear up carpets when left alone too long.

The sooner you detect the behavior and do something to stop it, the better. In the meantime, considering tacking the carpet down better, using a dog chewing deterrent spray, providing toys, or even consulting a dog behavior expert.

Repair the damaged carpet

Locate the spots your doggie is chewing or ripping apart. Is it the edges of the carpet or a certain spot where he's found a loose thread and is now pulling at it like crazy? If it's the edge of the carpet, get an installer to fix it or tack it down with carpet tacks purchased from a hardware store. Of course, if there is concrete, not wood or subflooring, under the carpet you'll need to use two-sided carpet tape.

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If your carpet edges are visible, try concealing them under the baseboard. Sometimes concealing potential lifting places can work. Also, cut any loose threads or push them through to the other side, so your dog can't grab them.

Rearrange the furniture

Try to cover the torn part with furniture or even tape.
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Rearranging the room might be an option. Simply cover the torn spot with a piece of furniture, even if it's a temporary move during the time you are not at home. But if your dog is only attacking one corner of the carpet over and over again, place a small bookcase, chest, or ottoman in that area — anything that doesn't have legs so he can't crawl under it to keep ripping the carpet apart. Remember that dogs, particularly puppies, explore the world with their mouths, so removing temptation might be the easiest solution.

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Apply a dog chewing deterrent

Bitter apple spray, available at pet stores, or a mixture of vinegar and water, are also recommended by some pet experts but it's generally considered better to use positive reinforcement techniques rather than deterrents or punishments. Dogs are deterred by both smell and taste. When your dog takes a bite out of the carpet, he'll taste the sourness and usually stop chewing.

Solutions for separation anxiety

Direct your puppy's attention somewhere else. Is he ripping up the carpet because he's bored when you're gone? Maybe he's anxious, suffering from separation anxiety, or simply looking for something to occupy his time. Cover the floor with toys. Go on a shopping spree and get at least a few different interactive toys. Puzzle toys — which require your dog to trigger a mechanism to get to a treat — are ideal to keep him occupied so he forgets about the carpet.

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If the issue is anxiety rather than boredom, you might need a more long-term solution. Separation anxiety is more extreme than its moderate cousin, isolation distress. However, if either is contributing to your dog's destructive behavior, you'll need to solve the issue — maybe with professional help. Practice leaving for short periods of time and returning; don't make a big deal out of leaving; give the dog chew toys or food before leaving, or consider crating if that does not cause additional stress.

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