13 Reasons Why Your Dog Rubs Itself On The Carpet + 9 Tips

Why Does My Dog Rub Itself On The Carpet

What is it with your carpet?

Why does your dog go crazy for it?

You’d be surprised about the many reasons why they do this.

In this article, you’ll read about:

  • 13 reasons why your dog rubs themselves on the carpet.
  • What to do when your dog rubs their bum on the carpet.
  • How to approach a dog who rolls around the carpet and growls.
  • Important tips for when your dog rolls around the carpet after eating.
  • And many more…

Why does my dog rub itself on the carpet?

Usually, your dog rubs themselves on the carpet because they want a good scratch. It reminds them of rolling on the grass, satisfying their playful and active mood. It’s also their basic instinct to disguise or spread their scent. But it could also be for medical or psychological reasons. 


13 reasons why your dog rubs itself on the carpet 


#1: Psychological issues, like OCD 

Dogs can get OCD and other psychological issues. 

Some signs to look out for could be: 

  • Air biting.
  • Hair biting.
  • Tail chasing.
  • Pacing around.
  • Excessive scratching. 

When they see your carpet, they could use it to scratch their body.

Rubbing on the carpet could be dangerous. Especially if no one’s there to look after them.

Some dogs rub their body on the carpet until their hair falls off. 

Or even to the point where you can see patches of skin.

You have to find ways to help your dog. Try to find alternatives to get their attention away from rubbing too much.

#2: To disguise their scent

Your Dog Rubs Itself On The Carpet To Disguise Its Scent

Disguising their scent is a basic instinct. This is from their ancestors. 

Wild dogs before would disguise their scent for their predators.

They’d usually roll on odd smells.

This helps confuse their predator with such a different smell. One that smells nothing like a dog.

Dogs still carry this behavior with them. Even most domesticated dogs these days.

This is why they enjoy the carpet.

They may find the scent of your carpet completely different. 

This makes them roll on it as their protective scent. Coating themselves with a new scent is their form of safety.

#3: They have allergies 

Though, it’s not all for fun.

They could be experiencing discomfort. 

Or it’s a possibility of a rash. But they can’t reach it. 

You could also not be around to help them. So, they move to the carpet.

They’ll treat it like a “back scratcher”. 

Dogs are prone to skin allergies. 

You should check how sensitive your dog’s skin is.

This is also something to think about:

Your dog could get allergies from the carpet itself.

This is why you have to regulate them rolling on it.

Check their skin from time to time. There could be redness or some spots.

#4: To spread their scent

As we all know, dogs like to spread their scent. 

Your carpet is something that’s always walked on. 

They’ll end up sensing those different scents and take action.

They want their scent to be noticed too. It’s not a form of dominance or anything. 

In fact, dogs like your scent, and they want to share theirs.

Similar to humans, our brains get triggered when we’re near the scent of someone we know. 

With dogs, noticing a familiar scent makes them respond more strongly towards the person.

This is why they share or mix their scent with yours. It’s to make sure that both of you are included in the pack. 

Rubbing on your carpet makes them feel a part of you. 

To them, it makes your home their home too.

#5: It’s like rolling on the grass

Imagine this:

You’re taking your dog out for a walk.

They see a flat field and run towards it, acting all crazy. 

And they roll around it for the longest time. At times, you can’t tell if it’s for a scratch.

Or they’re trying to get something off of them. 

But one thing’s for sure, they like the feeling of it.

When you get back home, there’s no grass anywhere. 

What do they do? They’re off to your carpet.

It reminds them of that grass-like feeling in the field. 

You can say that it’s their comfort spot.

So, whenever they’re home, the carpet substitutes the grass they roll on.

#6: They have fleas

If your dog stays outside a lot, be aware of the fleas they might catch. 

After a whole day spent outside, they’d run to your carpet. 

Rubbing themselves on the carpet is a major sign. Check their skin, fur, paws, and ears.

They could be telling you they can feel something. 

You have to address this right away. Because if they do have fleas, it could spread on your carpet.

Make sure to catch these as early as possible.

#7: To get a good scratch

Your Dog Wants To Get A Good Scratch

Your dog can’t reach all the parts they want to scratch. 

This is why you see them against your furniture. But there’s something about your carpet. 

They enjoy the feeling of it. 

It’s soft, fluffy, and cushion-like. Plus, it’s a big space. 

So they can roll around on all its corners. 

You’d normally see them rubbing the back of their neck. Or even the base of their tail. 

Sometimes, they’d even stuff their face on your carpet.

It’s a great feeling for them.

But for you? Get ready for their fur all over your carpet!

#8: They trust you and the environment

Have you noticed that your dog pauses?

You see them rolling around on your carpet.

And out of nowhere, they stop. 

Their position is even their bellies exposed. This certain behavior means they trust you. 

It looks like a way of surrendering themselves to you. 

Rubbing themselves on the carpet keeps them occupied. 

They also trust the environment and that you’ll watch over them.

Appreciate this behavior. It strengthens the relationship you have with your pup.

#9: To relieve their zoomies

Your dog’s zoomies are uncontrollable. 

It could happen in the morning.

A time when they’re full of energy. Or also during their puppy witching hours at night.

It’s best to let them be. 

To relieve themselves, they’ll run to your carpet. 

They’ll start rubbing themselves to use up all the energy they have.

It usually lasts for a few minutes. Soon, you’ll find your loving little pup laying on the carpet.

#10: Resource guarding

This is different from “claiming their territory”.

Dogs consider the carpet as important. 

If you see them rubbing themselves on it, they’re scent marking. 

This shows that they also want a piece of it. 

Them making it a habit forms into a routine. 

If they notice a different smell, they’d roll on it. 

Although this is fine, it may lead to possessive aggression if not controlled. 

Remember that aggression and violent behaviors can be managed in resource guarding.

So you can always allow your dog on the carpet.  But keep in mind if they get too rough in marking it. 

#11: It comforts them

Your carpet may be the comfiest place for them.

Yes, even comfier than their bed. 

Your carpet has your scent from always walking on it. Or what’s more, if you also sit on it. 

Your dog likes being close to you. So the scent of your carpet makes up for it.

Especially when you’re not home. Rubbing themselves on it’s one of their ways to cope with your absence. 

You might also be interested in: 15 amazing reasons why your dog is trying to be close to you

#12: They want to play

Your Dog Wants To Play

Your dog has moments of playful moods. 

Rubbing themselves on the carpet is a way to get your attention. 

They could even take it a step further. While rubbing themselves on it, they could also bark at you. 

If this happens, they’re communicating with you. 

Check their body language also. If you see them wagging their tail, it’s most likely a playful mood. 

Rubbing themselves on the carpet shows you that they’re ready to play.

Give them this attention. 

Especially if you haven’t played with them the whole day. It’s always good to set time for them. 

Further reading: 11 real reasons why your dog barks when you stare at it

#13: It’s a displacement behavior

These displacement behaviors are like substitutes for emotions. 

Here’s a scenario: 

Your dog enjoys getting the throw pillows on your couch. 

It makes them happy and active to run around with it. 

Of course, that’s not allowed inside the house. So you call their attention to stop.

But you notice that they’re still staring at the throw pillows.

You call their attention again to remind them “No.”

This is when displacement behaviors begin. 

They’re torn because they want the pillows. But they know they’re not allowed. 

So your dog would decide to rush to the carpet.

They’d begin rubbing on it as a way to control themselves. 

Expect that they’ll also go crazy on it to relieve their stress.

Sooner or later, they’ll calm down. And they’ll forget about the pillows.

3 scenarios of dogs rubbing on the carpet & a bonus


#1: Dog rubs nose on carpet before eating

You’d notice that after pouring their meal in their bowl, they stare at it.

After that, they’d rub their nose on the nearest carpet or rug-like cloth they see.

They’d try eating their food but stop after a while.

Where do they go? 

Back to the carpet to rub their nose. 

This scenario does happen often. 

You may think it’s because they get distracted.

But that’s not the reason.

It all boils down to their instincts. 

Here’s another thing:

Does your dog try to push their bowl away?

Meaning, after rubbing their nose on the carpet?

Exactly. 

They’re trying to bury their food. This is to tell you that they’re not interested in it anymore. 

Or they could also be full.

They attempt to bury it to hide it from you. 

But of course, there’s no dirt around. So they try the carpet.

The behavior is common and they’ll end up stopping too.

What to do:

Try switching up their food. 

Or you can also wait for them to continue eating. 

But if you’ve fed them earlier, they’re most likely full. 

Try cutting down their diet if this continues any longer. 

#2: Dog rubs nose on carpet until it bleeds

Dog Rubs Nose On Carpet Until It Bleeds

Leaving your dog alone with their toys helps entertain them. 

But this can also be dangerous.

Have you ever experienced seeing a cut on their nose? 

It’s hard to know where it came from. Especially if you weren’t around to see it.

This scenario is similar to the first. It’s also a sign that they were trying to bury something, only this time a toy. 

Try giving your dog a chew toy. Then observe them. Because they might take it and bring it to the carpet. 

Next thing you know, they’re scratching the carpet. And rubbing their nose on it to create a hole to bury their toy. 

You have to stop this behavior. They could end up hurting themselves.

What to do:

Check if you have their dog toys laying around. 

Keep them in an elevated area. Make sure the toys they try to bury are out of reach. Only bring them out when you’re around.

Be sure that you have eyes on them. Or else they could try to bury them. 

Note: Keep your carpet away for a while. This will remove the possibility of “digging” it. You can, at times, bring it back out. This will regulate the behavior and soon put an end to it.

#3: Dog rubs belly on carpet

These are for two reasons: 

  1.  They’re playful and trying to get your attention
  2.  They have a rash and they’re using the carpet for a scratch.

Let’s talk about reason number one first.

What position does your dog get in?

Do they lay down with their back legs out? (Or what we call a “sploot”).

And proceed to drag across the carpet? This does look cute. 

At times, they could even be carrying their toy in their mouth. 

They’re telling you that they want to play. 

Chances are when you approach them, they’d stand up.

And they’d wag their tail assuming you’re ready to go out and play. 

What to do

You don’t want them dragging their belly across the carpet. 

So, you have to train them with a signal when it’s playtime.

Establishing this will make them patient enough to wait for it. 

Make sure you’ll take the time to do it. Our dogs need all the playtime they can get.

Let’s talk about reason number 2.

This is a common issue. They do this because they can’t reach their bellies. 

You have to see if they’re doing this often. 

Check their bellies for redness or bald spots.

You can also try scratching it for them. But this isn’t recommended.

What’s more, if it’s an actual allergy. It’d be best to bring them to the vet for a check-up.

Note: Make sure your carpet is clean. If your dog likes staying on it either way. Keep it clear of any bacteria or germs. So you won’t have to worry if they play on it. 

BONUS: dog rubs face on carpet when excited

This happens all out of happiness!

Has it happened when you arrive home after a long day?

Or when you’re playing with them inside the house?

Yes, these all trigger excitement. And it’ll make them want to rub their face on the carpet.

There’s nothing to worry about in this scenario.

Your dog is just happy to be connecting with you. They do this to release all the excitement they have.

And if you’d ask me, it’s better than running all around the house.

But if you’re worried that they’re doing it too much, 

What to do:

Show them their toy. They’ll remember it and release their excitement on it instead.

You could also bring them outside to run free.

This all comes down to helping them release the excitement. After which they finally can relax.


7 tips on what to do if your dog rubs itself on the carpet


#1: Clean their bums well

Cleaning their bums well will prevent issues with their anal area.

Keeping this area clean is needed. What’s more, if your dog’s experiencing diarrhea. 

Using a warm compress would help. It’ll lessen the chances of it being swollen. 

Remember: Make it a habit to wipe or clean their bum, even if they sat down outside.

Cleanliness and proper hygiene go a long way for your pup!

Don’t forget to also read: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Keeps Looking At Their Back End

#2: Address any fleas or allergies

Address Fleas And Allergies

It’s important to clear this out right away.

Even if it’s the first time seeing your dog rubbing themselves on the carpet.

You have to check them immediately. They could already be telling you something. 

After a long walk or playtime outside, the more you should be alert.

And also when it’s bath time, look for any signs of fleas or skin problems. 

Note: Aside from their groin, fleas hide in your dog’s 

underarms, between their toes, or in the folds of their ears.

#3: Call them out if it gets too much

Most times, I would suggest ignoring it. This is so they know it’s not a big deal.

Because the more you call their attention, the more they might do it. But there are times when they get carried away. 

So you have to create some sort of noise or call out their name. 

This will remind them to stop. 

The specific sound you make can even be their indicator.

Note: Dogs are sensitive to the tone of your voice. When you sound firm and assertive, they’ll notice the change in emotion.

Calling them out will help. It’ll even make them routinize the specific sound as a cue.

#4: Don’t encourage the behavior

Why do you think your dog keeps going on the carpet?

Are you using it as a way to distract them? Or maybe you often place their treats on it. 

Actions like these encourage the behavior. 

Don’t get your dog used to staying on the carpet. Because rubbing on it will soon happen. 

Instead, divert their attention to other things. 

You can set a specific area where they get a treat. Or even where they can play with a toy. 

Less time on the carpet will make them forget about it. 

Remember:  Giving your dog a spot of their own establishes obedience too.

#5: Clean your carpet

Your dog’s always on your carpet. You have to keep it clean for them and you as well.

Imagine if your dog has fleas without you knowing. And you still allow them to rub themselves on the carpet. 

All those little fleas could spread everywhere. So making a habit out of cleaning your carpet can help. 

A useful hack: Looking for a natural remedy to get rid of fleas on the carpet? One way is to spread salt all over your carpet and then vacuum it.  

#6: Offer a new or challenging toy

This will help get their attention away from the carpet. 

As mentioned, they also rub themselves on the carpet to release excess energy.

Giving them a toy is another outlet to release it to.

The more challenging the toy, the better. Because this will help exercise their brain. 

Mental simulations are equally as important as physical ones. 

Note: Keeping your pet mentally stimulated also affects their behavior. 

It also manages the way they solve problems.

#7: Calm them down and present their bed

What happened before they started rubbing themselves on the carpet?

Were they yelled at or scolded? They could be doing it out of stress.

If you notice that they’ve been doing it for long, try calming them down.

Say their name in a calm tone. You can try to approach them without rash movements. This is so you won’t startle them.

Offer their bed so they can transfer to it. This will show them a calmer place than the carpet.

Give them some time. You’ll notice that instead of the carpet, they go more to their bed.

People also ask: 


Why does my dog rub himself on the carpet after a bath?

Your dog rubs themselves on the carpet after a bath to get rid of the feeling of being wet.

They aren’t familiar with the new scent. So they’d try to regain the old one.

Which is quite funny, considering you’ve finished cleaning them.

This also happens because they’re expressing relief.

But remember, this post-bath hyperactivity is normal. So the carpet would automatically be their next destination after a bath.

Why does my dog rub his face on the carpet?

Your dog rubs their face on the carpet to mark their territory.

It’s also their way of familiarizing themselves with the scent. 

They could also be showing you, or the other dogs in the house, that the carpet is theirs.

Interesting fact: Dogs have scent glands on their face. Because of that, they’re able to leave pheromones behind on your carpet.

By the way, dog parents with Pugs or French Bulldogs? Your dogs could do this more than other breeds.

Their deep wrinkles can collect bacteria. This makes them rub their face on the carpet to clean themselves.

Why does my dog rub his butt on the carpet?

Your dog rubs their butt on the carpet as a form of scooting.

They do this because their anal sacs may need squeezing. This is also a sign that they may have an anal sac disease. 

It could be because your dog has been experiencing diarrhea. This issue could make their glands swollen.

Squeezing them will release a strong and stinky smell. It’s best to take them to the vet for this.

But are there ways to prevent this?

Absolutely! 

Here are 3 simple ways:

  1. Exercise your dog.
  2. Add more fiber to their diet.
  3. Watch what they’re eating.

Watch how Dr. Jones explains what to do when your dog scoots.

Read also: 17 reasons why your dog (suddenly) acts crazy

Why does my dog roll around on the carpet after eating? 

Your dog rolls around on the carpet after eating to express gratitude. 

This is their way of showing they’re happy about the meal.

You can count this as their way of saying “Thank you” and being content with the food. 

They also do this as a way to clean themselves. Because some dogs are sloppy eaters, they could have food particles left in their mouths.

This is why they use the carpet as their napkin. 

Creative, huh? But another reason is due to allergic reactions. 

Check around their mouth for any redness or itchiness.  Because It may be time to switch up their food. 

Why does my dog roll around on the carpet and growl? 

Your dog rolls around the carpet and growls to relieve stress or anxiety.

The gowl they exhibit is their way of releasing pleasure. It’s their way of communicating. 

Don’t be afraid, this growl of pleasure is normal. 

But it’d be safe to take a few steps back and not interrupt them. 

They also want their space.

What’s more, if they’re experiencing a calm feeling.

Although, if you notice they’re getting violent on the carpet, it’s time to take action.

You can call them out through their name. Or also a firm “enough”

Once you notice their growl is calmer, give them time.

Later on, you can approach and pet them.