According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs are given up and enter animal shelters in America each year. ‘Pet problems’ like problematic or aggressive behaviors, the animal growing larger than expected, or health issues that the owner couldn’t handle were cited as the reason in 47% of cases. Destructive behaviors, in particular, can be very costly, but they can also often be resolved by getting to the root of the issue.
Check if your dog is teething
If your dog is chewing everything in sight and they are younger than six months old, there’s a high probability that they are teething. Like babies, dogs are compelled to chew when they have new teeth coming through. If this is the issue with your four-legged friend, try offering them a toy to chew on when they start on your belongings so that they learn what you would like them to chew.
Address possible separation anxiety
If your dog is chewing when you are out of the house, it’s possible that this behavior is a result of separation anxiety. You can try leaving your dog with an item of clothing that smells like you when you leave them, as well as ensuring that they have plenty of toys to keep them busy. It can also be helpful to try not to make a huge fuss of your dog on leaving or re-entering the house, as this teaches them that you coming and going isn’t a big deal.
Rule out any fears or phobias
Dogs can sometimes become destructive out of fear. Try to keep a record of when they are exhibiting destructive behaviors to understand possible triggers. Once you understand the trigger, you can prevent the behavior by providing reassurance during triggering situations: for example, a lot of dogs are scared of fireworks so you could make sure that you make your dog feel safe on dates like the 4th of July when you know there are likely to be firework displays.
One of the most common reasons dogs exhibit destructive behaviors is because they are bored. Make sure that your dog has plenty of toys to keep them occupied, that they have access to an outside space, and that they are getting enough exercise based on their breed.
Behavior and lifestyle coaching
If you are struggling to get to the bottom of the reasons for your dog’s destructive behavior, you can enlist the help of a vet. Easyvetclinic at veterinarianmidlothianva.com offers affordable and accessible behavior and lifestyle coaching to help you to get to the bottom of your dog’s behavior issues and come to a solution.
Don’t scold them
Dogs don’t know how to associate scolding with the behavior they were just exhibiting. All that scolding will do is make your dog anxious around you, which in turn can actually worsen destructive behavior. Your dog wants to please you, so the best way that you can correct an unwanted behavior is to use positive re-enforcement. By showing your dog what you want them to do instead of punishing the destructive behavior, you are more likely to get positive results.