Destructive Behaviour

A bored dog can be an unhappy, destructive force.

We all know that dogs are social creatures who want to be with you every minute of the day. If they’re left alone for too long and become bored, the result can be destructive behaviour such as excessive barking, digging, or chewing. High energy dogs (such as sporting dogs) are especially likely to act up if not given enough attention and exercise.

If your dog is being destructive, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself is why. What is the reason for their behaviour? It is important to both understand and acknowledge that there will be a reason for it. Once the reason is understood, it will be much easier to correct the behaviour.

Is your puppy teething? Is your dog bored, anxious, not getting enough exercise? Is your dog an older dog that has learned bad habits?

Dogs that are left alone in yards without adequate enrichment may begin to dig, bark, and try to escape, or become destructive. It is important to provide plenty of toys and chew items for your dog, as well as proper shade, water and a warm place to sleep. If you have a dog that likes to dig, try providing him with an suitable digging area, such as a sand box. Let him watch you bury dog toys and chew items. Whenever you see a sign that your dog is able to dig inappropriately (pawing lightly or sniffing at the ground), redirect him to his sandbox.

When dogs engage in unwanted behaviour, the prospects of resolving or easing the problems are good if a logical rather than an emotional approach is adopted. The destructive dog is usually a well behaved, much loved pet in all other respects. Dogs thrive on human company, hence anxiety occurs as a result of separation from you. Giving your dog attention is a critical part of keeping him happy. Encourage as much play off the lead as possible. Interacting with your pet is critical whilst increasing bond between pet and owner.

As frustrating as it may be when your dog has destroyed something, take a deep breath and try not to be angry at them. Never try to discipline your dog after the fact by showing him what he did, he won’t understand. Your dog isn’t doing it because he’s mad at you, to teach you a lesson, or to show you who’s boss. There are many reasons for destructive behaviour, but spite and revenge aren’t included.

Keeping a dog occupied and entertained is good for both the dog and its owner. Not only will your dog be happier, but they will generally exhibit better behaviour. A place to dig or run, toys that are challenging, safe and durable or areas that can be explored will help a dog keep his mind and body active. Mental stimulation and physical exercise will produce a calmer pet who will in turn, not stress when left alone.

Things you can do:

Before you leave for work in the morning, take your dog for a brisk walk. A great way for you both to get some exercise!
  • Provide your dog with some safe chew toys – heavy rubber bones are a good choice (avoid rawhides as a dog can run the risk of choking on pieces of rawhide).
  • Consider leaving the television or radio on during the day, giving the dog visual/sound stimulation.
  • Maybe hire a professional dog walker to take your dog for a brief walk during the day while you’re at work.
  • If you’re in a position to do so, think about getting a second dog to provide company for your dog.
  • A fifteen minute visit by a friendly neighbour who gives a few head rubs can do alot to appease a bored dog.