Have you ever brought your pup over to a friend or neighbourhood Pet Sitter’s house only to have them take one glance at the floor and try to walk right back out the front door? That’s because there are certain surfaces that dogs just don’t like. They simply won’t set one paw on that flooring; or if they do, they’ll give you that look that says: “I trusted you and this is how you treat me?”
If you’ve been curious about what kinds of surfaces act as repellents for dogs, you’re in the right place. We’re going to talk about which floorings are no-no’s in the dog world, and some solutions to make your dog a bit more comfortable if they do come across them.
So what is the deal with dogs and surfaces?
Why are dogs seemingly afraid of certain types of flooring?
Well, it all comes down to nature. Dogs evolved to be masters of the dirt floor. They can run, jump, burrow, and roll around in dirt from dawn until dusk. As such, their paws evolved to be perfect for soil.
They’ve got rough pads that protect against sticks and stones, and they’ve got claws for digging and picking up speed. Some dogs even have pronounced webbing that can help with muddy areas or swimming. In fact, dog paws are great for nearly every natural surface – from snow, to rocky hillsides, and even water.
Now, imagine having that kind of equipment attached to your legs and trying to walk on a completely smooth surface. It’s like placing a piece of farming equipment on an ice rink: it may work, but it won’t be pretty.
What are the surfaces that give doggos the most trouble?
Essentially, the farther away you get from a natural surface, the more you can expect your doggo to avoid it. Here is a list of the top problem floorings:
- Polished marble floors
- Smooth hardwood floors (there are some hardwoods that are more distressed and easier for your pup to get a grip)
- Slippery sealed concrete
These floors are all very smooth, shiny, and grip-less for your pup. The minute they start sliding around, you’ll have an anxious dog that just wants to get back to solid ground.
Another drawback to these surfaces is that they’re very reflective and shiny. Seeing their own reflection can spook a doggo, probably because it looks to them as if they’re about to step into a body of water.
And finally, there’s the smell. The cleaning supplies for these surfaces often include lemon or pine scent, vinegar, alcohol, or ammonia. These are all smells that are very strong and unpleasant for your pup.
Before you throw up your hands in defeat, there are a few solutions
It’s not reasonable for your dog to avoid every house with hardwood flooring, so what can you do to minimise the discomfort? Here are a few simple solutions:
- If you can, start familiarising your pup with smooth surfaces when they’re young. This will ensure that they’re not taken by surprise when they come across floorings like marble or laminate. Adding in treats whenever your dog has to walk on a smooth surface is also a great training technique. If you’ve booked an experienced Dog Walker to exercise your pooch, ask them to do the same.
- Switch to less smelly cleaners. There are plenty of dog-friendly cleaners that are less harsh on your dog’s sensitive nose. This will make them more willing to spend time in rooms with smooth flooring.
- Clip their nails. This will give your dog more of a grip by allowing their pads to rest more firmly on the floor.
- Make a doggy runway with floor rugs and mats.
- Try out some doggy slippers. You may use slippers around the house, and your dog might enjoy some too! This will increase their grip and make them feel more confident walking on slippery surfaces.
If you are thinking about installing new flooring in your home, there are a few options that will make your pup happy to romp around any time:
- Carpet. Obviously, this is going to be your pup’s number one option. It’s soft and stable so that they can sleep comfortably and walk around with ease.
- Tiles with a bit of texture. Because a tiled surface often has grooves and ridges, your dog will have an easier time walking around.
Your dog and smooth surfaces: not best friends, but they can get along
With a bit of patience and some easy solutions, you can get your dog to let go of their aversion to smooth surfaces. Make sure to give them plenty of love and cuddles so that they start to see smooth flooring as a friend instead of a foe.