You come home from your day at work and find your house upside down, your pillows slashed, your shoes slashed, your brand-new piece of furniture covered in bite marks, possibly urine and small souvenirs. Scented on a beautiful living room rug. It’s hard to stay calm in the face of a destructive dog. However, anger is useless, because your dog will not understand you and therefore will not stop this behavior. But what to do next? Why would your little buddy loot your house like this? How to overcome this unpleasant phenomenon? Discover our solutions and tips in this file.
Destroyer Dog: What is it?
A destructive dog is a dog that destroys or damages the property of its master or family on a daily or very regular basis. Furniture, various things, shoes, pillows, upholstery … The animal can do a lot of damage with its mouth and claws, but also contaminates them with its urine and feces.
Most often this behavior occurs when the dog’s owner is absent.
Destructive dog: what are the causes of this phenomenon?
To treat this kind of unpleasant and harmful behaviour, it is essential to understand the cause in order to provide an adequate solution. However, this phenomenon can have many origins.
stress and fear
The phenomenon of hyper-attachment is frequent in dogs. When a dog is separated from its mother too soon, when it is voluntarily or involuntarily abandoned or when its master covers it after adoption, the young animal becomes so attached to the latter that it cannot be alone. These dogs feel constantly dependent on their owner, who is their only source of security and comfort. Thus, when the master is absent, even if only for a few minutes, the dog goes through hell and expresses his separation anxiety by destroying familiar things, especially those that carry his scent.
lack of activity
Your dog may be bored and trying to occupy himself or show his discomfort by destroying things in his environment. This behavior can allow him to distract himself and de-stress without seeing any harm in it.
Hyperactivity and sensitivity
Many young dogs suffer from hyperactivity and sensitivity, a behavior that tends to decline with age. These dogs, many of which are abandoned or separated early from their mother, often suffer from poor hygiene and destructive behavior. Often, they react to the slightest noise or movement, barking at anything that moves and biting at anything within their reach. This phenomenon is explained by incomplete education.
Dogs are routine animals, like cats. Any change, even a small one, can be bad. Thus some dogs suddenly adopt destructive behavior to show anger or a sense of injustice in the event of a move, a rearrangement of the house, the arrival of a child in the house, the adoption of a new animal, a death, etc. This is what horrifies the gentleman who does not understand this reaction.
The Destructive Dog: How do you solve the problem?
Securing your environment
When you get home and see the damage, there is no point in letting your anger control you. Your dog will not understand your reaction because he is unable to connect your current feelings with past actions. Even if you catch him red-handed, he will view your cries as an injustice, because his behavior reflects his discomfort. It generally seeks in this way to alert you.
So start out for a walk with him to get some air and blow off the steam, both of you. Then you can start arranging.
When you get back from a walk, send your dog to rest in his basket and put him away. Don’t do it in front of him so he won’t take it in a game.
Be sure to secure your inner home at the same time, and put valuable or fragile items and sources of danger out of reach. This will allow you to limit damage in case of recurrence.
A precautionary measure will be helpful before you take steps to solve the problem.
What solutions can be put in place to solve this destructive behavior?
Start by identifying the cause of this behavior, this will allow you to come up with a suitable solution. If you can’t find it, feel free to consult a specialist (veterinarian or behavioral specialist) for help.
Here are the solutions you can consider.
Your dog has difficulty in your absence. The solution then is to teach him to tolerate it. Here are our tips.
Reduce the accessible space when you are away. Leave him only one or two rooms (with all the basic necessities he needs) in order to constrain his environment and thus reassure him. This way, you can also isolate it from the fragile items in the house.
- Avoid turning your departure into events, by reassuring your dog and saying goodbye, because in this way you make him understand that there is cause for concern. It’s better to walk out as if nothing had happened.
- Avoid making your return events, because again, your dog should minimize your absence. It is up to you to initiate the communication. So when you get home, take care of your things, put your coat and shoes away, and only then can you take the time to sit with your dog for a few pets.
- Get him used to the things he associates with your departure. Your dog can actually feel the pressure rise as soon as you touch your keys, take your bag, or put on your jacket. Make these gestures from time to time without going out so that he does not associate these actions with things with your absence.
- Walk away briefly (a few seconds, then a few minutes) and then extend your absence little by little, until he understands that the fact that you are walking through the door does not mean that you have been systematically absent for hours on end.
- Leave him something to take care of so he can handle your absence. A gnawing bone, a toy … all useful and harmless accessories are good.
Solutions in case of lack of activity
Adopting a dog is not something to be taken lightly. You agree to take care of your little buddy every day, thus making time for him every day. Your pet needs at least 30 minutes of exercise a day outside the yard. So you have to take him for a walk to allow him to occupy himself healthily.
Feel free to suggest some activities with him, if he has the ability. Running, cycling, swimming, treasure hunting… All activities that can be shared with him are welcome.
Of course, you can also enroll your pet in dog sports and activities. Agility, obedience, dog dancing… There is no shortage of ideas and will allow your dog to stress himself and be in contact with his peers, which is a good way to maintain good socialization.
Finally, leave something to take care of at home to ease boredom in your absence. Playing and chewing bones… Pleasures are varied.
Solutions for hyperactivity and hypersensitivity
Don’t let these disorders settle, as they can have serious consequences for the animal and lead to chronic anxiety, sociopathy, and even depression which is likely to cause the dog to die.
Consult your veterinarian to prepare the appropriate drug therapy and/or behavioral therapy.
Other solutions to implement
In addition to the targeted solutions we discussed earlier, there are other simple tips you can implement to help your pet stop engaging in this destructive behavior.
- Aromatherapy (essential oils) and Bach flowers: some extracts (lavender, yellow mandarin, bitter orange petitgrain, marjoram, etc.) or compound Rescue (Bach Flowers) Valuable allies to calm your dog on a daily basis in a natural way and help him stop this negative behavior. However, avoid self-medication which can be dangerous and prefer to seek advice from your veterinarian.
- Natural repellents: To keep your dog away from things that tend to destroy or target them, you can use a natural repellent like white vinegar, lemongrass, lavender, or peppermint essential oil. Spray it before you leave to protect your home. However, this harmless solution is short-lived.
- Give him a good time: Spending time with your dog is good, but quality time is even better! In fact, the idea is not to stay planted next to your animal with the phone in hand or in a discussion with your neighbors. You must be 100% dedicated to your dog. No need to do much, better 10 to 20 minutes a day of real engagement than hours of “fake presence”.
- Be Initiated by All Contacts: We have already mentioned this, but it is critical to be systematically the origin of all contacts, at all times. This allows you to establish that you are in control in the relationship and thus build trust and a healthier bond, but also to make your dog understand that he should respect you. It is up to you to decide when to cuddle, play, rest, go out, etc. If your little friend comes to you, ignore him (don’t talk to him, don’t look at him or touch him) and turn your back on him until he leaves and walks away. Only then can you contact him to give him what he wants. This way, it also teaches him that giving up allows him to get a reward, which is an essential daily learning!
- Reduce his space: in your absence, remember that it is necessary to reduce his space by giving him access to only one or two rooms in the residence, which, of course, should contain all his needs. This reassures and secures him, but also isolates him from the elements he tends to destroy. You also prevent him from worrying about going up and down the house in hopes of finding you there.