Often, the actions the pet parent describes as destructive behavior in dogs is an instinctive behavior for the dog. To dogs, it is normal to dig and chew on anything they believe is interesting. Destructive behavior is often diagnosed when a dog is chewing on any type of unwanted item; a pair of shoes, your clothing, your furniture. In order to prevent these behaviors, we must teach them they are not desired behaviors in “our world.” Find out here how to put a stop to destructive dog behavior!
Primary and Secondary Destructive Behavior in Dogs
There are two types of destructive behavior in dogs. The first type of destructive behavior is primary destructive behavior and involves the dog chewing on unwanted items. If your dog is chewing up your shoes, for example, she is displaying a primary destructive behavior. If your dog is digging up the yard, this is also a primary destructive behavior. The cause of this behavior often relates to insufficient exercise or an insufficient amount of mental stimulation.
Secondary destructive behavior is diagnosed if your dog is destroying items just to get the attention of the pet parent. The behavior has now moved from normal instinctive behavior to that of a dog wishing to obtain additional attention. How do you know if your dog is displaying secondary destructive behavior? Your dog is displaying secondary destructive behavior if he is willing to perform the behavior right in front of you. There is no cause yet found for this type of behavior.
Reducing/Eliminating Destructive Behavior in Dogs
Destructive behavior in dogs can be reduced and/or eliminated. In regard to primary destructive behavior, your dog often just needs an exercise routine implemented and/or mental stimulation toys. The Kong serves a large number of purposes and mental stimulation is one of them. In a Kong, there is an area which can be stuffed with treats. The dog has the ability to attempt to get the treat from inside the Kong. This often keeps their mind busy for hours.
In regard to secondary destructive behavior, dogs often need additional training to solve the behavior(s) occurring. Your dog must be taught not to destroy items. Many dogs; however, with this type of destructive behavior are given supplements or medication to help control the behaviors as this type of behavior is often correlated with dog anxiety.
As with treating any behavioral problem, destructive behavior in dogs must be treated with consistency. You must be firm in all you teach your dog and remain consistent with the behavior each time it is displayed.
Still dealing with destructive dog behavior? If you are having difficulty in treating your dog’s destructive behavior, you should contact our pet behavior professional to implement a plan which should assist your dog in reducing and/or eliminating the behavior(s).
Amber Johnson, Animal Behaviorist
Miss Amber Johnson has many years of experience with pets and is a licensed cat and dog nutrition and behavior specialist. She currently collaborates with PetPremium where she counsels clients in pet behavior and nutrition. The statements made in this article are the personal opinions of Miss Amber Johnson and based on independent experiences and could be different from the opinions of PetPremium Pet health Insurance or any other pet health insurance provider.
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