Dogs’ Destructive Behavior

The first thing one must understand about a dog’s chewing habit is that it is a normal, natural, and necessary activity. The act of chewing on objects provides exercise for the jaw, helps to expend energy, relieves pain when a puppy is teething, and even helps relieve boredom. Believe it or not, dogs are having fun when they chew!

Obviously, problems occur when your dog chooses the wrong thing when engaging in his or her favorite pastime. All dogs chew to some extent throughout their entire lives. It’s up to you to teach him early on what he can chew.

One of the biggest mistakes that dog owners make is giving their pet an old shoe to chew on. While it may seem like a good idea, it only serves to confuse the pet. Dogs cannot make the distinction between “old” and “new” shoes. If you give him an old gym shoe, he only sees that as encouragement to entertain himself with everything else in your closet!

It would be in your best interest if you kept your prized possessions out of your dog’s reach. Your dog could never harm anything valuable if he couldn’t get hold of it in the first place.

You can also spray stationary objects with a deterrent solution, such as Tabasco sauce or “bitter apple,” so the dog won’t find it very appealing. When using commercially made pet repellents on the furniture, test the solution on a hidden piece of fabric t be sure it doesn’t stain.

Initially try confining your dog, or at least limiting the areas he has access to in your home. You want to prevent him from having the opportunity to exhibit “bad” behavior and develop bad habits. It’s much easier to prevent “bad” behavior than to modify it.

When you catch your dog chewing on the wrong things, remove the object from his mouth as you scold him verbally. Say “No!” or “Out!” with a firm, deep, but not harsh, voice. Take the object from him and replace it immediately with one of his chew toys. Be sure to praise him when he chews on it.

Do not reprimand him/her physically. If you spank or swat your dog with a newspaper (a common practice) you will be encouraging your pet to hide their “bad behavior” from you.

Remember that you must catch your dog in the act. Scolding your pet after the fact will only confuse him or her. If the dog chews on the throw rug and you discover it a few minutes later, the dog will have forgotten about it by them. Yelling at him for a past offense does no good because he/she won’t make the connection.When it comes to providing chew toys, make sure you have several of one particular type. Introducing a variety of toys will only confuse him. If you dog has a rubber bone, rawhide chips, tog-toys, fiber chewies, and the like, he could be overwhelmed. The dog needs to be taught that his chew toys have a similar feel. Keeping the chew toys uniform will help. Give him just rawhide chewies, or rubber bones, or whatever seems to be his biggest preference. Also make sure that there is a toy in each room that he has access to so that it’s easy to find.Always be sure to praise good behavior when it is exhibited, even if you don’t ask for it. If you walk in the room and see him chewing on his favorite chew toy, pet him on the head. If he is just resting tranquilly, pet him for being a “good boy.”

Exercise is very important. Some dogs have more energy to expend than others, and sometimes require that their owners lead more active lifestyles. It is your responsibility to see that your dog has a chance to expend that pent-up energy. Dogs can be a nuisance when they are restless. Take him to obedience class so that the dog has a chance to exercise his mind as well as his body. If his mind is challenged, he won’t get bored.

It is a common misconception that a dog is exhibiting “spite” towards his owner when he is destructive. This is not true, since dogs lack the capacity for they type of reasoning and really can’t “hold a grudge” against their owners. Boredom or anxiety are often the reasons a dog exhibits destructive behavior, so keep him entertained. A dog that is frequently occupied with his toys will be too busy to get nervous or be a nuisance.

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