How to Deal with Destructive Dog Behavior
Destructive dog behavior has been experienced by every dog owner whose had their dog from early puppyhood. Puppies, as well as adult dogs love to chew. This is their favorite passtime. They will chew on just about anything. This is a problem that needs to be addressed when your dog is just a pup. It's perfectly O.K. for dogs to chew but they need guidance as to what is acceptable to chew on and what is unacceptable. With destructive dog behavior, the first thing you need to do is dog-proof your home. If you don't want it shredded, then keep it out of harms way. Clear out items such as:
You should not use any of these items as an official chew toy because they don't know the difference between the "official" chew sneaker and off-limits running sneakers. When experiencing destructive dog behavior in your pup, it is initially up to you to guide him to chewing his own toys instead of household items.
During destructive dog behavior, be sure to keep an eye on your pup. They always seem to find the perfect time to sneak off and destroy something. If you have to leave him alone for any reason, confine him to a small space with his chew toys.
Then, you must address the behavior itself. If you catch your dog in the process of shredding your favorite pair of shoes, slam a heavy book on the table and say "Bad Dog" in a firm tone of voice. This will distract him enough for you to remove the shoe from his grasp and replace it with a bone. If he continues to chew on the bone, say "Good Dog" and give him some praise. Repeat this exercise each time the unfortunate circumstance arises that you find him destroying something.
In the instance where you cannot remove certain objects like electrical wires, you can try spraying them with a deterrent like Bitter Apple or Citronella.
If you find your favorite shoes lying in a corner all chewed up, unfortunately it is too late to do anything about it. Just bury the shoes in the backyard with the bones and move on. Do not repremand or punish him after the fact. This will do more harm than good. Although your dog may lead you to believe that he knows he did something wrong because he's walking hunched over with his tail between his legs, that is not the case. If you walk into a room and find a shredded pair of shoes on the floor, your first reaction is to say "What did you do?" in a firm tone of voice. Your tone alone is intimidating enough to make your dog want to run and hide. Destructive dog behavior can easily be eradicated, but keep in mind that puppies teethe between 3-6 months, which will give them the incessant urge to chew during this time.
And last but not least, provide your dog with plenty of exercise and play time. The more time you spend with him, the less likely he is to be bored and want to engage in destructive dog behavior. Another way to keep him from getting bored is by rotating his toys. Changing his toys every day is likely to keep him stimulated and take his mind off destruction. You may even want to keep him occupied with a chew toy that allows you to stick a treat into it, this way your dog will spend a good part of the day picking at it trying to get it out.
Keep in mind that if you have a new puppy, it may takes months to discipline him because he is teething and wants to chew on everything all the time. Once he stops teething, this will less the destructive dog behavior, in which case he will not have the urgency to chew as much.
Be patient and be caring!
About the Author: Nancy Settecasi, Owner of Happy K-9 Dog Care
Proud owner of Cookie and Skippy, Cocker Spaniels, Dog lover