What is the deal with my dog’s Destructive Behavior?
Don't feel bad when your dog chews things up while you're not home – it's in his nature. Dogs do this because it feels good, and because of the way their brains are wired. Even dogs who seem perfectly behaved at home can turn into little rippers if you give them enough time to go solo. If you want to know more about why dogs dig, chew, and tear at everything in sight when you're not around, read on…
1. Dogs are hard-wired to chew.
Their teeth are designed for ripping and tearing, not grinding like your teeth. So they need things to chew on. Chewing keeps their teeth and gums healthy, helps maintain their jaw joint health, and relieves stress. But you can’t just give them anything they want to chew on — it has to be safe and appropriate for their age, size, and chewing strength.
If you don’t give your dog an appropriate chew toy, he may resort to destroying something he shouldn’t be chewing on in the first place. So if you’re looking for ways to keep your pup from destroying your stuff, make sure you have plenty of appropriate toys available for him!
2. Your dog may be bored.
Dogs chew for the same reasons that people do: for fun, for stress relief, for exercise and to soothe boredom. So if your dog is chewing on things he knows he shouldn't, there's a good chance he's simply looking for something to do.
A few simple steps can help curb this behavior. First, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise each day — at least 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening, or more if possible. Next, give him lots of opportunities to play with toys. If you have a large yard or access to one nearby, teaching him to play fetch is an excellent way to expend pent-up energy at no cost to your wallet or your home! Finally, consider providing some type of outlet for his chewing needs — rawhide bones are popular among many dog owners.
3. Dogs may be stressed because they are left alone for too long.
Being social animals, leaving dogs alone for long periods can be stressful for them. This can lead to separation anxiety. Make sure that when you leave your dog home by himself, he has plenty of things to do — chew toys, food puzzles, and interactive toys that keep him busy while you're gone. This will help relieve his stress levels and prevent destructive behavior like chewing on furniture or walls in the home. There are also preventative measures you can take to ease separation anxiety such as K9 Comfort Spray’s collection of calming products that contain your unique scent.
4. Your dog has more energy than she knows what to do with.
He or she may have more energy than they know what to do with. They don't have televisions or books to keep them entertained during the day, so they look for other ways to entertain themselves. Dogs chew on things because they like the taste of rawhide or bones, and they dig because that is their nature. They also tear up things because they are bored and have nothing else better to do with their time than destroy your house!
5. Your dog wants attention.
Dogs are intelligent and curious animals that need stimulation and interaction with their owners to be happy. Chewing, digging, and tearing things up are ways for your dog to get your attention, so he can spend time with you.
The best way to deal with this is to take time out each day to play with your dog — even if it's just five minutes in the morning or at night before bedtime. If you keep good routines, it will be easier for both of you because you'll know when he needs some extra attention.
6. Your dog is teething.
If you have a puppy, he's probably teething. Puppies' teeth start coming through between four and eight weeks old, with the front incisors usually coming in first. If you've got an older dog who's just started chewing things up, it could be that his teeth are bothering him — even if they don't look like they're causing any pain. In either case, check with your vet to see whether there are any things you can do to help relieve your dog's discomfort.
7. Your dog smells things on your belongings that you can't smell.
The answer is that dogs have an excellent sense of smell compared to humans. They can smell things that you can't. If you have a dog, you may have noticed that they enjoy chewing on shoes or other items around the house. This is because they can smell the sweat and other odors on those items. Your dog smells things on your belongings that you can't smell.
8. They've learned it's rewarding (or fun).
They like to dig because they like to bury their bones and other things they find interesting. Dogs will dig holes in the ground or even in your carpet to bury their toys or bones so that they can come back later and retrieve them again later on in life when they feel like it!
They enjoy tearing up things because it's fun for them! They just love being destructive! If your dog tears up something precious of yours such as a shirt or blanket then don't be upset with them because they probably didn't know what they were doing!
How to Stop Destructive Behavior When You're Not at Home
1. Redirect the behavior
Redirect your dog's attention to something more positive, like playing fetch or chewing on a bone. This is a great way to teach your dog how to direct his energy and attention positively.
Give him extra attention before leaving for work in the morning or after coming home from work at night by playing with him or giving him treats every time he does something positive like lying down quietly in his bed.
2. Try crate training
If your dog is chewing on furniture during the day, put him in his crate or pen when no one is home so he can't get into trouble. When you come home, take him out of his crate and give him something fun to do like playing fetch or tug-of-war instead of chewing on things.
3. Provide your dog with lots of colorful chew toys
Provide your dog with lots of colorful chew toys. Dogs like to chew things so much that they will often chew the furniture if they don't have anything else to chew on. Chew toys are great because they help satisfy your dog's need to chew while keeping him busy so he won't cause problems while you're away.
4. Leave a radio or TV on
A radio or TV on low is a great way to make your dog feel like he or she is not alone. A calm soothing radio station playing jazz instrumentals, or television tuned to the Cooking Channel may fill in that empty, quiet "space" for your dog until you get home.
5. Provide your dog with plenty of exercise before you leave
Exercise helps tire out dogs, which reduces their chances of destroying things while you're gone. If possible, take your dog on long walks before leaving him alone in the house — it will help him burn off energy and give him something to do while you're gone so he doesn't get bored (and start tearing up the furniture).
6. Hire a dog walker or take your dog to doggy daycare
If you can't be home and don't want to crate your dog, then hire someone to come in during the day. Many people use dog walkers, but if you have an especially active dog, it's worth considering doggie daycare. This allows your pup to run around, play with other dogs and get some much-needed exercise. Plus, it's a great way for your pup to socialize with other animals.
All of these behaviors have the same root cause – some type of frustration that your dog is feeling. The underlying causes vary from dog to dog, but by identifying how your pet is behaving, you can find a way to stop the unwanted behavior.
For help with separation anxiety, see the full line of natural scent-infused products from K9 and Kitty Comfort Spray to help ease your pet’s anxieties. Choose www.k9comfortspray.com for dogs and www.kittycomfomfortspray.com for cats.
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