Why is my dog ​​scratching the ground?

Is your dog scratching the ground with his front and/or back paws and are you worried? Rest assured, this phenomenon is nothing to worry about. It is even completely natural in some contexts, when related to certain behaviors or actions. Digging the ground actually enables the dog to mark its territory and communicate with its companions, among other things. However, in some cases, especially when the floor is scratched for no apparent reason, it can be synonymous with stress and discomfort.

While it is important to give a proper response to this phenomenon, it is more important to understand its motives. Here are five main reasons that can cause a dog to dig in the ground.

Explanation #1: My dog ​​scratched the floor after he did his business

You may have noticed that your little friend is scratching the ground with his hind legs after urinating or defecating. This behavior cannot be compared to the behavior that the cat does to cover its needs in order not to be recognized by a predator. No, the dog scratches the ground after relieving itself in order, on the contrary, to mark it. Yes, you got it right, this “scratching” is actually a marked behavior.

Through his feet, the doggie deposits his pheromones on the ground. It is naturally secreted by glands located between its pads. The true messengers, but have no scent for humans, they are used to mark the path of the dog and they allow him to send a message to his congeners.

Of course, doing his business is already a way for the dog to deposit his pheromones, because his urine and feces contain them, thanks to the anal glands in particular. However, depending on the environment in which the animal relaxes, its message may go unnoticed. In fact, in a vast park, in a forest, in a field or something else, the chances that a dog will follow its exact trail and detect its pheromones are very small. Therefore, the combination of needs with the fact of digging the ground makes it possible to add other pheromones to it and make a visible mark, because the scratching leaves imprints on the ground. The doggie thus increases its chances of being understood and “heard” by its congeners.

The message being sent can be very different from one doggie to another. Some thus show their plain path when others want to mark their territory and prevent their companions from approaching them.

It seems that this phenomenon of digging in the ground during needs is taught to the puppy from the socialization stage, that is, in contact with his mother and siblings in the first weeks of life, in the same marking of urinate by raising the leg. . As a result, puppies that are prematurely separated from their mother rarely practice this behavior as they grow up.

So it is rather amusing to note that this usual movement, made after needs, has a completely opposite meaning if it happens to dogs or cats. If the latter wants to hide, the former wants to show himself and talk. A funny contrast between our favorite little companions.

Explanation #2: My dog ​​is tearing up the dirty floor

Some dogs will try to dig in the ground if it is made of dirt. Thus the animal scratches more or less deeply with its feet on the ground. Why this behavior? No one is worried about that, but the reasons that explain this phenomenon are many.

In fact, by digging in the ground, the doggie can show or search for many things. Excavation allows a part to leave a trace of its path, as we saw in the previous point. The dog thus deposits its pheromones on the ground and combines them with a visual marking that attracts its congeners and allows it to send them a message.

But that’s not all. Digging in the ground also allows the dog to seek coolness in the summer. During periods of high heat, the animal burrows to take advantage of the coolness underground. On the contrary, in winter, some dig to protect themselves from the extreme cold, especially from the wind that makes them colder.

Digging in the dirt can also keep a dog busy, especially if he is tired or hasn’t been outside enough. By occupying himself in this way, he spends himself and evacuates his overflowing energy. However, it is better to ensure that his needs are met by offering him at least 30 consecutive minutes of real walking every day, in an outdoor environment.

This behavior can also be observed when the dog just wants to bury something – or on the contrary to get something that has been deposited before – or when it tries to pass under a fence. Some dogs put real lard underground, for fear of running out.

Finally, for doggies with a strong hunting instinct, digging in the ground may mean they’ve smelled a track. They can also search this way to enlarge a hole when they smell prey there.

Explanation n°3: My dog ​​scratches the floor of his bed before settling there

It’s common for a dog to scratch under his bed, whether it’s a basket, a cage, a rug, a pillow or just a blanket, before lying down there. This phenomenon has many explanations, again.

Thus the dog can only try to arrange a comfortable bed to rest. After all, we tend to do the same to find comfort in a nice, cozy bed. He could scratch the surface to make it more than he wanted and even turn himself on several times before landing, finally.

Digging the soil in his bed also allows him, once again, to mark his territory. The dog is very attached to his peace and his bed. This is his space, his refuge, and he can try to make those around him understand it this way. Thus he uses the pheromones released by his glands located between the pads to indicate that the area is his.

Explanation #4: My dog ​​scratches the floor at home for no apparent reason

While the three explanations above are safe and similar to natural, harmless behaviors, a confused dog scratching the floor of the house for no apparent reason is more concerning. In fact, in this case, the dog scratches the tiles, parquet, linoleum or even the carpet with its front paws as if trying to dig there.

Far from being fun for the master of the animal because of the bad marks that this movement leaves on the surface of the skin, it is especially important to worry about this surprising behavior. In fact, this digging in the ground for no apparent reason can be observed when a dog suffers from anxiety and stress. An animal can become a victim for many reasons (due to fear, fear of loneliness, illness, etc.). He may also not be able to control his frustration and find this way to get rid of his sadness.

However, this phenomenon is problematic and requires a reaction from the master. It is necessary to know the source in order to find a suitable solution. Often, the implementation of behavioral therapy is recommended to relieve stress and anxious animals. It is possible to seek advice from your veterinarian and be accompanied by a dog behaviorist.

Make sure your dog gets enough exercise every day, with at least 30 minutes of real walking outside. Allowing him access to the garden was not enough to meet his needs. If he is bored, he can dig the soil to understand and try to occupy his mind.

Do not allow such inconvenience to the dog. Stress and anxiety can lead to depression. However, with our friends doggies, this real disease tends to push the animal to let itself disappear without being able to move.

Explanation n°5: My dog ​​scratches the ground to dry his nails

It just so happens that a dog will scratch the ground to wear out his nails if they are too long. In fact, the dog’s nails should always be maintained and shortened so that they do not hinder him when he moves, hurt him when he scratches, etc. Nails that are too long can throw it off balance and prevent it from holding certain postures properly. In addition, the risk of infection is greater and the resulting pain is often sharp and difficult for the doggie to bear.

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