Tips and Tricks for Taming A Destructive Dog

Like people, dogs get bored. Unfortunately, when boredom sets in, so does the possibility of chaos. Destructive dogs can cause havoc to your home, furniture, and yard. So, how do you tame a destructive dog?

How Do You Deal With A Destructive Dog: 5 Tips & Tricks

1. Exercise

One of the main reasons dogs turn to destructive behavior is due to a buildup of energy. Without proper exercise, your dog will feel pent up. And with pent-up energy comes those violent tendencies.

Dog playing with a rope

To avoid this, be sure to take your pup out for regular walks when the weather permits. This is an easy and effective way for your pet to work off some of its vigor. If the weather is too taxing on your pet, a good alternative is indoor play!

Wrestling, fetch, and other activities that can be done inside will also encourage your pet to spend energy the right way. 

Remember that for working and herding breeds, you will need to be sure they are exercised more than other dogs because these destructive dog breeds have exceptionally high energy levels.

2. Toys for boredom

Boredom is another significant contributing factor to your dog’s behavior. As the expression goes, Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

Bored dog playing ball

Well, your dog will find something to do when they’re bored, and it won’t always be appropriate. Keeping a dog entertained isn’t as hard as you might think, either. 

Some tools that work well for keeping them busy are intelligence toys. These are an excellent method that utilizes both your dogs’ mind and body.

These are usually toys that your dog has to figure out, like a puzzle, before they can get to the reward inside. If these seem a little too advanced for your fur baby, there is always the option of using peanut butter bones. These are exactly what they say they are.

Bones filled with peanut butter. It gives them something to work at as they try to lick the peanut butter from out of the bones center. (Just be sure to use a dog-safe brand of PB!) And, should all else fail, keep them surrounded by different types of exciting toys! Balls, ropes, stuffed animals, squeakers; You name it, and they probably want it! These should help keep your pet distracted, encouraging them to rip up a stuffed animal before ripping up your furniture. Learning your dog’s favorite types of toys can increase their interest in play rather than in destroying your home.

Dog Subscription boxes are also becoming a thing today. You don’t have to worry about what to give your dog the next time as these monthly boxes already include treats, toys, and apparel.

3. Treats for good behavior

Whenever your dog displays the behavior you want rewarded, treat them and say, “Good boy/girl!” 

This reinforces positive training instead of frightening them with negative reinforcement. Then, start small.

Owner feeding destructive dog with treats

Leave the room for a few minutes at a time, treating them when you come back in and they are exhibiting the behavior you want from them. 

Continue to do this, gradually building up the time you are away from them until they learn to fly solo without needing treats so often! It’s proven that using positive cues and reinforcement works far better than harsh punishment. It also acts as a good bonding exercise for you and your dog. So, give it a try! Your pet will appreciate the extra tasty treats!

4. Fenced-in fun

While the outdoors might seem a great alternative to the havoc your dog makes indoors, I’m sorry to say that they can be just as destructive in your backyard.

Dogs inside a fence

And one of the biggest problems dog owners face when dealing with bad behavior is digging. 

Other than tearing up grass and making dangerous divots, some dogs are excellent escape artists. And all these holes can lead to their great escape.

So, how do you get a dog to stop wreaking devastation in your yard? The first, and most important step, is to figure out the reason behind the dog’s behavior. 

Typically, a dog will dig for one of these reasons:

  • Boredom
  • Comfort
  • Anxiety
  • Prey-seeking
  • Escape
  • Attention

Watch for where your dog likes to dig and try to discover the source. Remember not to punish your dog for digging, as this can regress progress and create more anxiety in the pet. Instead, try to focus your dog’s attention on other activities.

For example, place stimulating toys around the yard that he can enjoy. If it’s just boredom your dog is trying to escape from, giving him more things to do and increasing the time you spend with him will lessen his need to dig for fun.

If, on the other hand, your dog is trying to escape for either a romp around the neighborhood or due to a more predatory instinct, it is imperative to create a barrier.

Try burying chicken wire along the floor of the fenceline. This will make it impossible for your dog to dig through to the other side of the fence.

Another alternative is to put natural dog deterrents in the areas he frequents to dig. This could be a vinegar/water mixture or even citrus peels. Any safe and natural aroma that dogs find overpowering can keep them away from the source of the odor.

Arguably, the most challenging behavior to address will be the anxiety-induced pet. In these situations, it is ideal to seek a professional’s help to get to the root of your dog’s stress and learn calming techniques to ease their worries.

5. When in doubt, seek a specialist!

If you’ve exhausted your resources and you feel overwhelmed by your pet’s behavior, it’s okay to seek out help. That is exactly what professional trainers are here for! It doesn’t make you a bad pet parent for needing a little guidance.

Man training a destructive dog

It’s probably the most effective and productive thing you can do for a dog that just won’t settle down.

A professional trainer will help you identify the root of your pet’s destructive tendencies and will teach you the proper methods for redirecting the behavior into something more positive and productive for your pet.

There are plenty of public and private instructors, including those at your local pet stores. Researching trainers in your area is a great way to determine who you think would be the best match for you and your furry friend.

We know how loving and loyal a dog is. But we also know how destructive they can be. It doesn’t mean they’re bad dogs. It simply means they need a little extra help in adjusting the behavior. And we hope these tips help you deepen the bond with your pet while positively correcting the destructive behavior that may be keeping you and your companion from really connecting!