Dealing With Your Dog’s Destructive Behavior

A lot of people get turned-off with their dogs, even give up on them permanently, because of destructive behavior, such as chewing, digging, shredding, and scratching. These behaviors caused some owners to have their dogs euthanized by the local vet or the humane society.

Which do you think is more cruel, the use of a dog crate as a temporary training tool or putting your dear pet to sleep? If you raise your dog with a crate, you will never have to worry about coming home to find a shredded couch. When you cannot watch the dog, crate him. As he matures and excels in training, as he proves himself capable of being left loose in your home, give him the privileges he deserves. Never give him responsibility he cannot handle. That would be like giving a five-year-old your car keys!

Besides the crate, understanding is an important tool in stopping destructive behavior. Dogs chew for a variety of reasons and these must be reviewed along with companion remedies. Your dog will chew to release pent up energy, so make sure he gets enough exercise. Your dog will chew because he is anxious. He may be left alone too long and too often.

Give him a little more consideration when making plans. Train him so that you can take him with you more often. Train him to allay his anxiety, his feeling of looseness and lack of connection. Hire someone to walk him when you are out to work.

Dogs chew when they are bored. Leave your dog something acceptable to chew. That way, he’ll be less likely to chew your stuff. Dogs chew because they don’t know they are not supposed to. Be clear when you correct your dog. Do not give him socks to play with and then get mad when he chews your clothes. Female dogs shred just before coming into heat. Keep your female’s cycle on a calendar and watch for signs that she is coming into heat. These include: Increased appetite, increased displays of affection, increased activity level, and generally hyper behavior. You may have to crate her just before the onset of her heat cycle or provide her with a supply of shreddables to practice her nest making on.

To summarize the above statement: Use a crate when necessary. Your dog should be reliable sometime between one and two years of age. Give him plenty of exercise. Leave him some rawhide or other safe chew toys. Monitor his behavior when you are with him, correcting him with a ‘No’ for starting to work on the fringe of the carpet or the arm of the sofa. Then present him with one of his toys and tell him ‘OK.’ But if he goes right back to your stuff, correct him again and put him in the crate for one hour. Tighten your obedience work. This reinforces you as the pack leader, someone not to be trifled with. And, if you are gone for long hours, hire a reliable person to come and walk your dog and play with him.

What about hole digging in the yard? Digging is both natural and pleasurable for dogs. Let your dog have his pleasure. Give him a small corner of your yard in which he may dig to his heart’s delight. You may fence the corner, making it a pen or run. Once a week, fill in the holes and tamp them down. When the dog is in your part of the yard, correct him if he tries to dig up the lawn, eat your plant, or dash through the flower beds.