You return home from a long day at work, ready to relax… Only to walk into a path of destruction. Your favorite shoes are chewed, the couch is ripped, or some other calamity awaits as soon as you walk into your home. You love your dog, but you’re fed up with him destroying things. Why does he do it? And what can you do to stop him?
First, understand that your dog does have reasons for his behavior, but they don’t fall into the categories of anger or revenge. Nope, he’s not chewing up the TV remote because you ignored him to binge-watch Criminal Minds last night! His reasons are much more simple and straightforward than that.
Teething. If your dog is young, this behavior is likely due to teething. Giving him his own toys to chew can help, but naturally some of your personal possessions might get confused for toys. Keeping him contained in a smaller area of the home while you’re away can keep the damage to a minimum. This behavior will often stop once puppies have all their teeth, but it could become a habit due to one of the other following causes.
Anxiety. It is possible your dog experiences separation anxiety when you leave him alone all day. Don’t feel guilty; it’s normal to go to work and have a life outside the home! But he doesn’t understand that.
If he reacts very strongly to you leaving or arriving, and if he tends to follow you from room to room when you’re home, separation anxiety is likely the cause of destructive behavior. Sometimes, getting him a companion can help, but this isn’t a step you should take unless you truly want another pet anyway. And occasionally, this strategy can backfire, as the arrival of a new animal can also trigger anxiety in some dogs!
Boredom. Yes, your dog might simply be bored. Make sure he’s exercising out all of his energy with frequent walks (before and after work, if you can).Extend these walk times longer, encourage more active play by engaging in a game of fetch, or take him for a jog if he’s extra energetic. Regular playdates at a dog park could also help.
Fear. Your dog might simply be reacting out of fear to some sort of stimuli. Loud noises, for example, can send many dogs into a fear-based response.
Smells. Believe it or not, if your dog plays with toys that have your scent on them, he/she may begin to think that anything with your scent is a toy! This can lead to chewing on shoes, socks, clothing, and other household items that you regularly touch or wear. Solution… wash your hand before you handle the dog toys and wash the toys regularly as well.
If you’re dealing with destructive behavior in your pet, just know that you don’t have to go it alone. Call us to schedule an appointment, and we can discuss methods of addressing your dog’s behavior.