Did you come home to find your new Prada shoes turned into your pup’s new chew toy? Is that new sectional you just bought to watch the Superbowl on completely decimated? Ok PetParents we need you to take a few deep breaths, because we can help you win the war on destructive dog behavior. There are many causes for destructive dog behavior, and understanding why your dog is doing something is key to stopping it. Let’s go through the root causes together, so we can productively counteract them.
You dog may be feeling a little neglected, seeking out an item that you may be paying attention to more than them…cough cough…the remote. First, start making time in your day for your pup. This can be going on a walk, playing in your backyard, or taking them to coffee with you. Next make sure your praise your dog when they chew on appropriate items, like a toy. Praise them as much as you scold them when they chew something inappropriate up, and your dog should be more eager to please you by chewing on the appropriate item.
Your dog may be chewing on that new sectional because they are bored. Chewing up your new sectional is your dogs way of entertaining itself. Exercise is a great way to deter this behavior, as is socialization. Take your dog on a hike, walk, or run for at least 30 minutes a day. You can also take your dog to your local dog park so they can play with other pups! Have a 9-5 office job? Consider putting your dog into day-care a few days a week. At doggie day care they get to play with other pups in a fun structured and supervised environment. If you confine your dog while you are gone consider leaving them a puzzle toy like a KONG, so they will not take their boredom out on your couch.
3. Separation Anxiety
Many dogs have destructive behavior from the fear or nervousness caused by when you are not home. Punishing your dog may be counterintuitive to stopping this behavior. One DIY way to fix this is to counter condition the problem, so associating a positive with your absence. You can do this by giving your dog a frozen treat or a fun puzzle toy to do while you are gone. This ‘treat’ is a positive to your absence, and will help ease their anxiety. If you are continuing to have severe problems we recommend talking to a dog behaviorist, which your vet should be able to recommend to you. They can observe your specific case and help your dog work through their separation anxiety!
Did you just adopt or bring a dog home? You dog may be exploring and trying to get accustomed to their new home. Many dogs investigate things by exploring them with their mouths (or tasting them), the result can be a destructive one. When you are home with your dog, supervise them as they explore their surroundings. Helping them become accustomed to their new home, will help deter this curious behavior.
If your dog is teething, they make take out this uncomfortable process by chewing on human things to relive the pain. Try giving them a cold treat like frozen carrots or green beans.The cold will help numb the teething pain which makes frozen treats a great tool to help curb destructive teething behavior.
If you are having serious destructive behavior, make sure you consult your vet. They can help you get to the root source of your dog’s problems, and hopefully help you save your last ‘in tact’ couch.