Destructive Behavior in Dogs

Destructive behavior in dogs may be due to the lack of proper training or it may also be among the symptoms of a medical condition. The destructive behavior may manifest in several ways: barking, chewing or digging. The dog’s destructive behavior may also be directed towards himself. Finding the causes of destructive behavior is imperative to establish the best ways to cope with the problem.


Types of Destructive Behavior


There are several types of destructive behavior, manifested through:


  • Excessive barking
  • Digging
  • Chewing
  • Scratching
  • Jumping on people


This type of behavior may destroy your home and is not acceptable, as it may bother you or your neighbors (i.e. noise).

The dog’s destructive behavior may also be directed towards his own body; he may chew and scratch himself.


Causes of Destructive Behavior in Dogs


The causes of the destructive behavior in your dog may vary. Your pet may lack proper training or the behavior may be due to:


  • A medical problem that will cause pain or discomfort (i.e. allergies)
  • Stress, which can have varied causes (changes, pain, the loss of a family member)
  • Lack of exercise and the dog has too much energy
  • Boredom, if the dog stays alone for too long


Diagnosing Destructive Behavior


If you notice that your dog displays destructive behavior, you need to monitor him for additional symptoms and take him to the vet.

The vet will examine the pet and establish if there are any medical causes that may lead to the destructive behavior. A series of tests may be needed, which will include blood tests and even allergy testing.

If there are no medical problems, the vet will ask you a number of questions about the dog’s diet, activity and training, to establish if he displays this type of behavior due to boredom, lack of exercise or lack of proper training.

If there are no reasons why your dog may display destructive behavior, your vet may suspect that he suffers from anxiety or stress. These are difficult to diagnose, but if all of the other possible reasons are ruled out, this is the only remaining diagnosis.


Treating and Preventing Destructive Behavior


The treatment of destructive behavior will depend on the findings of the vet after the checkup; if the vet establishes that the dog is not properly trained, he will recommend taking the dog to a professional trainer that will help you eliminate these types of behaviors.

If there is a medical problem, the dog will get treatment that is specific to the condition that affects him.

A dog that lacks sufficient exercise will have to be taken outside more and additional play time is necessary. Exercise may also be recommended if the dog is bored. This will ensure that he spends all his energy on activities and will not have more energy to chew or destroy other objects in the house.

Stress and anxiety will be more difficult to treat. However, there are medications and other alternative means that can eliminate stress.