Owning a dog or cat can be a complete joy until he or she decides to destroy your furniture. While a bite or scratch on your sofa may not drain you of your love for your pet, it can get you to think twice about how often you let your pet around your personal belongings. It may also have you concocting ingenious ways to make your furniture unattractive snacks or scratching posts. While the reasons behind destructive behavior can vary between species and individual pet personalities, behavior medication tactics can remain the same. Read on to learn more about how to stop your pet from ruining your furniture.
There are a number of reasons why a dog may chew on sofa legs and other types of furniture. Boredom and stress are two of the most common factors that precipitate biting. If your dog is bored, provide him with a variety of toys to keep his attention. Identify what makes your dog anxious, if he’s stressed. When you sense that your dog’s stress level rising, do your best to stimulate good behavior by distracting him with a treat and positive reinforcement. Excess energy, phobias, and a need for attention can also lead to gnawing. Increasing your dog’s level of exercise may be able to combat all three of these reasons for furniture-chewing. It should be noted that puppies that are less than a year old may seek to gnaw on furniture because of teething. Providing puppies with a wide array of chew toys of different sizes and textures may curb inclinations to use furniture to cope with new teeth. It can be important that you not leave your dog alone with the furniture he likes to chew on. If you need to leave your home, crate him with his favorite toy while you’re out. Dogs that cannot be classified by any of the aforementioned categories may suffer from behavioral disorders. In cases like these, special obedience training classes may be required.
Scratching furniture is a behavior that can be observed in dogs, though it may be more commonly associated with cats. This is because cat scratching has a number of evolutionary and physical benefits for felines: when a cat scratches objects, it may be doing so to maintain its nails, mark its territory or relieve stress. A good way to encourage a cat to stop scratching personal belongings is to provide her with a substitute. For this tactic to be successful, you may have to closely observe your cat’s scratching behaviors, note what materials she likes to dig her claws into, and what positions she’s most likely to bear her claws in. Then, you should find a cat scratching post that mirrors the surface and these conditions. Attaching toys to the scratcher may make it more attractive to her. For especially insistent cats, you may find that you have to get creative with your deterrents. Covering areas that you don’t want your cat to scratch with aluminum foil or double-sided tape can do wonders to keep her nails off them. Products exist that allow you to cover your cat’s nails with plastic casings so that the sharpness of the nails is removed. Regardless of the damage that may ensue from a feline’s natural inclination to scratch objects, declawing her should never be considered as effective management for this behavior.
- Stop Destructive Chewing: This website discusses unwanted chewing behavior in dogs, and what owners can do to help curb it. There is a special section devoted to puppies.
- Dog Obedience Advice: Dogs That Chew Furniture: Here, expanded insight into why dogs gnaw on furniture is offered. The website suggests several ways to prevent chewing behavior.
- Stop Dog Chewing: Dog Behavior Training: This numbered advice helps owners regain control over their dogs’ chewing behavior. A video accompanying the suggestions demonstrates what proper behavior is.
- Introduction to How to Solve Dog Behavior Problems: The Animal Planet encourages owners to tackle disagreeable behavior in their dogs at home.
- How to Stop Your Dog From Scratching: Common items that dogs like to scratch are discussed here. The reasons why they are so attractive to dogs are also listed.
- Why Cats Scratch Things: The Animal Behavior Society provides insight into this common, territorial behavior of cats.
- Cats and Scratching: Practical Tips for Owners: WebMD offers its own take on the cat-scratching phenomenon, and suggests healthy and easy ways to deter the behavior.
- Cats Scratching Furniture: Feline Care (PDF): PetCo offers a care sheet for cats that like to scratch. A list of anti-scratching equipment, prevention techniques and even suggested reading is included.