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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

Chew No More: Understanding & Managing Your Dog's Destructive Behavior

If you're a dog owner, you've probably experienced the frustration of coming home to find your favorite pair of shoes or a piece of furniture destroyed by your furry friend. Destructive behavior in dogs can be a challenging problem to tackle, but with some understanding, patience and training, you can prevent chewing behavior.

Why Do Dogs Engage in Destructive Behavior?

There are several reasons why dogs may engage in destructive behavior, including:

  1. Boredom: Dogs that are left alone for long periods of time with nothing to do may turn to destructive behavior as a way to entertain themselves.

  2. Separation Anxiety: Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety may exhibit destructive behavior as a way to cope with their anxiety and stress.

  3. Lack of Exercise: Dogs that don't get enough exercise may have pent-up energy that they need to release, often resulting in destructive behavior.

  4. Teething: Puppies that are teething may chew on anything they can find to alleviate the discomfort in their gums.

  5. Hunger: Dogs that are not fed enough or on a consistent schedule may chew or destroy items in search of food.

How to Prevent Destructive Behavior in Dogs

  1. Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation: Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day. Play games, go for walks, and give your dog toys that will keep them mentally stimulated and entertained.

  2. Provide appropriate chews: Dogs love to chew, so you cannot expect your dog to just stop chewing altogether, it is important to give your dog an outlet for their chewing behavior. One of the best ways to curb your dogs desire to chew on everything is to provide them with plenty of appropriate toys and bones to keep them busy.

  3. Use management: It's important to create a space where they can be confined when you are not able to supervise them. This will prevent them from engaging in destructive chewing. You can create a space for your dog by providing a crate, a room with a comfortable bed, or use baby gates. Make sure that the space is secure and free of anything that you do not want your dog to chew on. This will not only prevent destructive behavior but also provide your furry friend with a safe and comfortable place to retreat to when they need some alone time.

  4. Reward good behavior: When your dog engages in appropriate behavior, such as chewing on their toys instead of your shoes, reward them with a high value reward.

  5. Seek professional help: If your dog's destructive behavior is severe, it may be necessary to seek the help of a professional dog trainer.


Destructive behavior in dogs can be a frustrating problem to deal with, but with patience, understanding, and training techniques, you can correct the behavior and prevent future damage. Remember to provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, create a safe space for your dog, and reward good behavior. With consistency and dedication, your furry friend can learn to behave appropriately and become a well-behaved companion.

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