It’s a fairly safe bet that almost every dog owner has probably experienced shredded shoes and clothing, chewed-up furniture [including cushions], and other really destructive behaviors from their dogs. I know I have – and I know how incredibly frustrating it can be, and how sometimes you just feel like there’s no hope of ever getting the dog to stop doing that.
But, guess what? There is a light at the end of the destruction tunnel!
In my experience, a destructive dog is a very bored dog. Just like humans do, dogs build up excess mental and physical energy that, if left unexpressed, can manifest in some very unpleasant ways, such as chewed up shoes, clothing, or furniture. So, just like humans seek physical and mental outlets for our built-up stress, dogs need a way to let go, too. If your “Fido” is being destructive, there’s a good chance that he or she is bored. Here are some ways you can help alleviate that boredom, and finally start gaining peace in your proverbial valley.
Give your dog a job. Carrying a weighted back-pack works wonders. Put a small, full water bottle in each side of the pack and have your dog carry it around for an hour or so. The weight of the pack forces the dog to focus on keeping the pack balanced, which is an excellent way to drain out excess mental and physical energy. By the time the hour is up, Fido will be too tired to get into any trouble.
Challenge your dog. If he’s really good at sniffing things out, you could enroll him in a nose-work course. If she loves to jump and catch things, you could get her involved in an agility course. Do things that challenge your dog’s natural skills and abilities; “feed the breed” as best you can, and you’ll have a very happy dog. A happy dog is a calm, non-destructive dog.
Exercise your dog. Letting Fido out in the back yard to run around and play is not exercise, and it most certainly won’t drain out excess mental energy. Leashing him up and actually walking him – that is how you exercise your dog. While you’re out walking, you can do a variety of things that mentally challenge him, such as changing direction or pace without giving him advanced warning, teaching him to heel, and the like. Large-breed, higher-energy dogs can be walked several times a day, every day, but if you’re not mentally challenging them, they may still be on the naughty list. They need mental challenges as well as the physical exercise.
If you want your dog to be happy, help them drain out their excess physical and mental energy. A happy, fulfilled dog won’t eat your shoes, tear up your furniture, or destroy your furniture, doors, walls, curtains or blinds, or anything else.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on.