Friday, September 14, 2012

Stop the Destruction!

Here at HSEC we can't get enough of this dog shaming blog.

All images in this post from
Owners send in pictures explaining their dog's (and sometimes cat's) crimes. It's hysterical! Often, the crime is the destruction of some priceless human artifact.

In order to successfully alter destructive behavior, figure out why your dog is doing it. There are three basic reasons why dogs destroy things: a desire to chew, boredom or misplaced energy, and separation anxiety.

Many dogs just love to chew things - any things. This may be particularly true of puppies and young dogs. This behavior doesn't need to be stopped (since chewing is good for the teeth), just redirected. Give the dog access to a chew toy, either edible or inedible. Treats like bonies or dental bones are designed to clean your buddy's teeth while being used. Dogs who love to chew can't really be expected to give up the activity entirely. And the habit might even save you some money in dental bills.
'I did this'

A bored dog will go beyond simple chewing to directed destruction. They may also bark excessively, run aimlessly around your house or yard, or just have a total lack of interest in you or their toys. Dogs need mental stimulation just like we do! Their destruction isn't naughtiness, it is a desperate attempt to stave off boredom. High-energy dogs may have particular difficulties in this area.

The easiest way to reverse boredom is to have a consistent walking and exercise schedule appropriate to your pet's needs. Try an agility course, a doggie sport, or incorporate your workout with theirs (just be mindful that most dogs will keep going far past the point when they need to rest, so watch for signs of exhaustion).

'I try to chew my way out when my parents are gone'
It's also important to work your pet's mind. Rotate their toys and introduce games like hiding treats around the house or employing a toy that requires the dog to manipulate the item in a certain way in order to receive a treat. Teach your dog a new trick, or sign up for a training course. Canine Good Citizen certification is a great goal to aim for. Mental exercise can be just as rewarding and exhausting as physical exercise.

Many dogs are stuck inside all day while the owner is at work. If your budget allows, consider a doggie daycare or hiring a dog walker. These professionals will ensure that your buddy is well-exercised and socialized.

If boredom isn't addressed, it can turn into a whole host of anxiety-related behaviors, including the last major reason for the destruction of your house: separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is pretty easy to spot. If your dog only chews up the furniture when you are gone, that's separation anxiety. This may also come with a host of other nervous behaviors - clinginess, whining, refusing to eat, barking, urinating/defecating inside, and so on.

Come back next Friday to learn about addressing separation anxiety in your pet! In the meantime, we want to know - has your dog ever destroyed anything? Tell us your horror stories in the comments.


  1. Our dog eats books! Library books are her favorites. Especially if they're out of print. We can trust her alone...

  2. Recently found a dog and took it in until we find it's owner. She ate my favourite underwear and threw trash all over the house while I was at a doctors appointment. My own dog's problem with being alone only happens if that time of the month has been around recently or the trash hasn't been taken out and there is food in it. Then it's trash everywhere, and if the former is true, then it's even more embarrassing.

  3. My boyfriend and I have a dog that gets very ill when she can't go 'buh-bye" with us. She always has a taste for our favorite things including but not limited to; oakleys, hats, shoes, and mini blinds. We have to leave at separate times so she thinks we aren't going anywhere together, and yet we still spoil her like she's royalty

  4. Your post is great to read. I was wondering what is the easy way to clean dog teeth?