It’s hard to decide what’s worse, coming home to a break-in or coming home to your dog’s ‘destroy-in’. Dogs, especially young dogs, when left alone can destroy your house in ways you’ve never imagined.That’s why I will let you in on a few easy ways to prevent this from happening and if it already happened, you’ll see how to prevent it from happening again.
- Confine him. Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan often discusses ‘limitations’ and although I disagree with much of what he says, he is right about this one. Especially if your dog is young (below three years). The same way you should keep a toddler in a play-pen to prevent damage, is the same way a young dog should never enjoy unsupervised free reign of the house. A good solution is a crate, a puppy gate, a tie-out or an outdoor run. That’s because for dogs, if no one is around, there is no such thing as private property. If he sees a couch and there’s no one else around to claim it…it’s his. And that means that if he wants to chew it, pee on it, defecate on it or any combination of all three, he can and may.
- Leave him a chew toy. The reason your dog chews is because he is bored and has the desire to chew.
So let him know that he can satisfy that desire by chewing things that he is allowed to chew-like a chew toy. Find out what he likes. Some dogs can spend all day chewing a kong with peanut butter inside. The challenge of getting the peanut butter out of the hole can keep them busy for hours on end. For some dogs, a kong doesn’t do the trick. The best chew toy I’ve ever experimented with is a frozen bone…Yes, a frozen real bone of an animal. The bigger and harder the bone, the more time the dog will be occupied chewing it. I once had a client leave his dog a cow femur bone when he left for work for ten hours. When he came back, the dog was chewing on the bone with as much enthusiasm as he did when he left for work ten hours earlier.
Don’t say goodbye.
The concept of goodbye doesn’t exist in the dog world. Especially an emotional goodbye many dog owners often shower upon their four-legged pooches. All the dog learns during an emotionally charged farewell is energy from the owner and then POOF!…they’ve disappeared into thin air (AKA leave the house). This can be the source of anxiety or stress for a lot of dogs which will often causes them to fall into destructive behavior in the form of chewing or relieving themselves. So when you leave…just leave. No goodbyes, just a cold, apathetic exit.
If the chew toy (or other form of mental exercise) you provide your dog with does the trick, he won’t even notice that he’s being confined. And if you follow those easy instructions, not only will your dog be happier, but so will your furniture.
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