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How to Keep Your Dog From Chewing and Scratching Everything

Dogs can cause significant damage to your home and yard, depending on their size and breed. While this can be frustrating, destructive behavior in dogs often has various motivations. It might be normal canine behavior that can be addressed with more mental and physical enrichment, or it could be complex and require a consultation with a veterinarian or veterinary behavior specialist.

To address this behavior, observe your dog closely to understand how, what, and when they destroy things. This information will help you make a plan to prevent future incidents.

Is Your Dog Destroying Things With Their Teeth and/or Claws?

Dogs primarily use their teeth or claws to destroy things, but they may also damage property by urinating and defecating. Often, dogs destroy items while pursuing another objective. Reasons for destruction can include play behavior, curiosity, natural seeking behavior, predatory behavior, escape-motivation, or anxiety.

What Is Your Dog Destroying and Where Is It Located?

Identifying what your dog is chewing or scratching can provide insight into their motivations. Are they targeting loose items around the house or specific personal belongings like shoes or clothes? Is there a preference for a particular texture or location? Noting these details can help you understand and address the underlying reasons for their behavior.

When Is Your Dog Chewing and Scratching Everything?

Determine when the destruction happens. Is it when you're not paying attention, or does it occur when you're leaving the house? Observing the timing can help you identify patterns and potential triggers for the destructive behavior.

How to Keep Your Dog From Destroying the House

Armed with observations on the how, what, and when, you can develop a plan to manage the situation and prevent future destruction.

Rule Out Medical Issues

A dog that chews things up should be evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out underlying medical reasons such as dental problems, pain, or conditions like pica. It's essential to have your dog's teeth checked, as destructive chewing can cause gum problems or cracked teeth.

Rule Out Anxiety

It's crucial to ensure your pet's well-being by ruling out anxiety-related behavior issues. Anxious animals often destroy items to cope with stress. If your dog destroys things when left alone, especially around exit areas, it could be due to separation anxiety. In such cases, set up a camera to observe your dog when you're away and seek help from a veterinarian if you notice anxiety-related behaviors like panting and pacing.

Add Some Enrichment When You’re Gone

If your dog destroys items when you're not home, they may be bored or seeking food. Provide food enrichment toys or a digging pit to keep them occupied. This can prevent them from turning your couch or yard into a play zone.

Give Your Dog Exercise, Attention, and Mental Stimulation

Dogs may destroy items to get your attention or out of boredom. Ensure they get enough exercise and mental stimulation, especially if you work from home. Offering toys and engaging activities can keep them occupied and prevent destructive behavior.

Remove Outside Triggers

If your dog destroys items because they see something outside, such as other animals, use visual barriers to block their view. Close off certain rooms or use pet gates to limit access. Teaching alternative behaviors through positive reinforcement can also help manage their impulses.

Never Punish Your Dog

Yelling at or hitting your dog won't stop the behavior and can worsen anxiety. If you catch your dog in the act, interrupt and redirect their attention to an appropriate activity or toy. Punishment can damage the human-animal bond and make behavior issues more challenging to address.

By understanding your dog's destructive behavior and taking steps to address their needs, you can create a more harmonious home environment and strengthen your bond with your pet.

Dog chewing it self
Dog chewing it self


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