If you have a destructive dog, do these 8 things before you leave for work

Having a destructive dog can be quite a challenge, especially when you’re about to leave for work.

It’s not about blaming your furry friend.

They may not even realize they are causing a problem. It’s more about understanding their needs and behavior.

Before you dash out of the door in the morning, there are certain steps you can take to ensure your pet behaves better while you’re away.

In this article, we will delve into 8 things you should do if you have a destructive dog and need to head to work.

1) Establish a routine

Dogs are creatures of habit, just like us.

They thrive on routine and predictability.

It makes them feel secure knowing what’s coming next.

It’s no secret that a well-established routine can significantly improve a dog’s behavior.

This isn’t just some pet owner’s hunch; it’s backed up by animal behaviorists.

Consider this.

It’s the same logic behind successful dog training programs, and the reason why professional trainers emphasize consistency.

If your dog knows what to expect each morning before you leave for work, they’re less likely to engage in destructive behavior out of anxiety or boredom.

So, try to establish a consistent daily routine for your dog.

This may include feeding times, walk times, playtimes, and even the time you leave for work and return home.

2) Provide stimulating toys

There’s no denying that dogs love to play.

One thing I learned from my own experience with my Labrador, Jack, was the importance of leaving him with toys that would keep him engaged while I was away at work.

Jack had a habit of tearing up the couch cushions when he got bored.

It was a nightmare coming home to a living room full of foam bits every day!

Then, I started leaving him with interactive toys, like puzzle balls filled with treats, or tough chew toys.

These not only provided him with the mental stimulation he needed but also kept him physically engaged.

The change was remarkable.

The destructive behavior significantly reduced, and my cushions were finally safe!

So, if you’re dealing with a destructive dog, consider investing in some quality, stimulating toys.

It could be just what your dog needs to keep their mind occupied while you’re away.

3) Regular exercise

A tired dog is a good dog.

It might sound cliché, but there’s a lot of truth to it.

Regular exercise helps burn off your dog’s excess energy, which in turn can significantly reduce their destructive behavior.

This is particularly valid for high-energy breeds like Border Collies or Labrador Retrievers.

Some breeds need at least an hour to two hours of exercise daily.

This doesn’t just mean a leisurely stroll around the block.

We’re talking about intense physical activities like running, swimming or fetch games.

Build in a good workout session for your dog before you leave for work.

You’ll likely see a decrease in destructive behavior as they’ll be too tired to get into mischief!

4) Training and discipline

Just as children need guidance to understand what is acceptable behavior, dogs do too.

Training your dog not just commands like ‘sit’ or ‘stay’, but also teaching them manners can help curb destructive habits.

Teach them what they can and can’t chew on, and reward them for good behavior.

This isn’t about punishing your dog when they do something wrong, but rather about guiding them towards what is right.

And don’t forget – patience is key!

Training takes time and consistency, but the results are definitely worth it in the end.

5) Offer affection before leaving

Dogs are incredibly social creatures.

They crave our attention and affection, and when they don’t get it, they can act out.

Before you leave for work, take a few minutes to show your dog some love.

A quick cuddle or a belly rub can go a long way in reassuring your pet that you’re not abandoning them.

This simple act of love can help to alleviate any separation anxiety your dog may be feeling and can make them feel more secure while you’re away.

To your dog, you are their world. A little bit of affection can make a world of difference in their day.

6) Create a safe space

When I first adopted Leila, my anxious rescue pup, I noticed she would often retreat to a corner of the room whenever she felt scared or overwhelmed.

That’s when I realized the importance of a safe space.

Creating a dedicated ‘safe space’ for your dog can help reduce their destructive behavior.

This can be a cozy corner with their bed and favorite toys, a crate, or even a separate room.

In Leila’s case, her safe space was a soft blanket in the quietest corner of the house.

Whenever I had to leave for work, I would guide her to her blanket, give her a toy and reassure her with a gentle pat.

Over time, this became our routine and it significantly reduced her destructive tendencies.

So, if you have a destructive dog, consider creating a safe haven for them.

It can provide them with the security they need while you’re away.

7) Use calming aids

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your dog may still exhibit signs of stress or anxiety leading to destructive behavior.

In such cases, consider using calming aids.

Calming aids can range from pheromone sprays and diffusers that mimic the soothing scent of a mother dog, to noise machines that play relaxing sounds, to anxiety wraps that apply gentle pressure, much like a comforting hug.

8) Seek professional help

If your dog’s destructive behavior continues despite all your efforts, it may be time to seek help from a professional.

A certified animal behaviorist or a professional dog trainer can provide valuable insights into why your dog is acting out and offer targeted strategies to address the problem.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

After all, your dog’s well-being and the harmony of your home may depend on it.

At the heart of it all, it’s about understanding

The world through a dog’s eyes can be quite different from ours.

Each bark, each wag, each chew, is their way of communicating with us, expressing their feelings and needs.

Having a destructive dog can be challenging, but remember, destructive behavior is often a cry for help.

It could be a sign of anxiety, boredom or unmet needs.

Understanding your dog, their needs and habits is the first step towards addressing this issue.

It’s about creating an environment where they feel secure and loved, even when you’re not around.

So next time you’re faced with a chewed up shoe or a scratched door, pause for a moment.

Instead of reacting with frustration, try to see it from your dog’s perspective – it might just be their way of saying they miss you.

Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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