Destructive Dog Behavior: Signs and Causes

Destructive dog behavior image

Although it would certainly be nice if this were the case, not all dogs are perfect. Like humans, dogs can be prone to personality quirks and even behavior problems. Destructive behavior is just one of the problems that you may need to cope with when you have a dog. Unfortunately for pet owners it can be quite distressful, not to mention expensive.

What is Destructive Dog Behavior?

Destructive behavior is often one of the most common causes for complaint among many pet owners. Destructive behavior can take on many forms, including digging, scratching, chewing and even clawing. Some dogs prefer to gnaw on shoes while others have no restrictions whatsoever and will chew, scratch or claw anything that happens to be in sight.

What are the Signs?

The signs of destructive behavior can vary among dogs. The behavior of some dogs can be fairly limited, such as just to shoes, although it can certainly be frustrating for their owners. In other cases, a dog’s behavior may be far more destructive and can even reach the point to where valuable furniture and structural elements in the home are destroyed through chewing and scratching.

What are the Causes of Destructive Behavior in Dogs?

One of the more frequent causes for destructive behavior in dogs is separation anxiety, a condition in which the dog is terrified of being left alone. In addition, specific elements in the dog’s environment can trigger fears and phobias, in these cases, chewing, digging and scratching can be tension- or fear-relieving behaviors.

Playful destruction and investigative behaviors are common in young dogs, dogs new to a household, active dogs and dogs that have few opportunities to engage in physical activities. When a dog becomes bored he may resort to behavior that is destructive in order to obtain the stimulation that he needs. This can be a particular problem among large breed dogs as well as young dogs that do not receive sufficient play time, exercise and activity.

Yet another contributing factor to destructive behavior can be frustration with being closed in, often referred to as barrier frustration. If the dog becomes tired of feeling closed in or if he notices something on the other side of a barrier that is attractive to him then he may attempt to destroy the barrier in order to either break free or reach whatever it is that he desires.

Getting Help

It should be understood that regardless of how frustrating destructive behavior can be in a dog, there are sources that can help your dog to overcome this type of behavior so that you can enjoy one another more, without the threat of property destruction hanging over your head.

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