For the past few weeks, my ten-year-old poodle has been pawing the rug in my living room. As a result, the nap is being pulled up. Please tell me why he is doing this and how I can handle this situation other than correcting him with a no command.
– Evelyn, Massapequa, New York
I am not sure why you don’t want to correct the behavior with a “no” command, but your dog may be doing it because he smells something in that spot that you can’t detect. I would do three things.
First, look under the carpet and padding to see if there is any food or toy that might have wiggled its way into the area. Vacuum the padding to be sure.
Next, get an enzymatic cleaner at the pet store to clean the carpet itself. An enzymatic cleaner will eat up any biologicals (urine or poop) that may be attracting your dog to the area.
Finally, after cleaning the area, change your dog’s habit. If you are reluctant to correct your dog with a verbal “no” command, then shake a can of coins to interrupt the behavior, say “here,” so your dog comes to you, and then give him another command, like “sit,” before redirecting his attention to a toy or treat. After a few days, he will likely leave the spot alone.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal