There is nothing like coming home after work, stepping outside to greet your dog, and your lounge is in tatters. Or perhaps there is just cushion stuffing everywhere, or your Birkenstock soles are destroyed. We love them unconditionally, but we get pretty frustrated when puppies destroy everything. Why does my dog chew things up when I leave the house? And when do puppies stop chewing everything?
We’ve done our research and compiled the potential reasons dogs become destructive and our remedies to stop dogs chewing furniture, hopefully for good!
Reasons why dogs destroy property
Boredom is the number one reason for these problem behaviours when dogs are left alone to their own devices. We have to remember, our dogs don’t like being left home alone for hours on end. They hate it! The frustration from lack of attention can quickly result in chewing and tearing.
Unlike us humans, dogs are left with fewer options to take out their frustrations. Once their stress builds up, the only way it can be relieved is through destruction like chewing and digging. For some nervous doggos, separation anxiety is the culprit for their behaviours, often panicking when left home alone for too long and wreaking havoc in the process.
As anyone with a border collie or a lab will know, a dog with a lot of energy can quickly turn to destruction as a way to use up its energy. When these intelligent and inherently active dogs are left in a backyard all day, they most likely have already run through all potential activities before lunchtime.
Some dogs may be hyperactive, suffer from anxiety and get bored all in the same day! Perhaps we will have more sympathy for our four-legged friends, but it doesn’t mean we can’t try to amend this behaviour.
How to stop destructive dog behaviour:
Especially for hyperactive dog breeds, enough exercise can curb these destructive habits. Exercising dogs is necessary for their health and mental stimulation, plus your dog will have less energy to dig holes in your backyard if they are tired. Just like us humans, exercise releases calming endorphins for pups. When dogs aren’t getting enough walks, they could be turning to destruction simply searching for endorphins. Take them on a walk first thing in the morning when their energy tank is at its fullest.
Dogs need enrichment to be stimulated and keep their stress levels at bay. Chew toys and snuffle mats are an excellent remedy to stop dogs chewing furniture and provide them with entertainment and mental stimulation. Using scent skills ignite the foraging centres of the brain, encouraging slower eating habits and alleviating stress. A variety of toys and activities is great but don’t bombard your dog with them all at once. They will get bored with too many options. Give them new toys occasionally or swap them out for different ones every few weeks.
If you wonder when puppies stop chewing everything, the answer depends on when you are going to train them? Dogs are supposed to learn the appropriate behaviour from older dogs in the pack. Since they aren’t in the pack anymore, it’s up to us. If your dog is still managing to tear away at your belongings, it may be worth investing in a specialised dog trainer to help them overcome these tendencies.
If these options fail to stop your dog from tearing up furniture when they’re home alone, it may be time to review how long you are spending away from your furbaby. Canine experts recommend that puppies not be left alone for more than 2-3 hours to not develop separation anxiety issues, with the RSPCA recommending that adult dogs not be left more than four hours at a time.
If you feel guilty for leaving them all day, doggy daycare exists for this very reason! At PawPals, we are passionate about pooches. We built our daily doggy routine based on Canine Behaviour, with each day scheduled out for socialisation, enrichment, play and snoozing! Read more about enrollment here.