Help, My Dog Destroys Things When Left Alone!
If your dog destroys things when left alone, you’re undoubtedly a working parent who is sick of this behaviour. It’s possible that when you got home, you discovered it in ruins, your favourite pair of shoes had been destroyed by the house, and the couch cushions had been ripped apart.
It might be a good idea to take time to unwind and act out what is causing Rover’s actions before calling your dog Beast, Diablo, Storm, or Chewbacca. Sincerely speaking, we can only draw some conclusions and improve our understanding of what is occurring with our companions by adopting a dog’s perspective and taking into account the results of the most recent canine study.
It’s not what it seems to be, to begin with!
I would probably be one of the richest people on the planet if I had a dollar for every time a dog owner told me that their dog had destroyed something when left alone out of resentment, anger, or revenge—or, my personal favourite, “as a way of getting back at humans,” as if dogs were plotting cunning ways to drive us crazy.
As I shake my head in disbelief and explain that I don’t think all dogs are acting spitefully, some dog owners may occasionally cut me short since the dog’s body language when they open the door seems to say it all.
The dog carefully steps back, moving his ears aside, keeping his body low, and they are sure that the proof is in the pudding. The canines’ faces appeared covered in the word “guilty.” There are, however, several dynamics at play.
The Human Guilt Emotion
Guilt is a basic human emotion. Guilt needs the adherence to a moral code necessary to do the act of destroying objects unethical for dogs. Instead, this species tends to act out of instinct, which involves some complex reasoning.
Your dog’s “guilty expression” after you yell at him is not an accurate reflection of actual guilt. Dogs are unable to express cognitive feelings to that level. Instead, they respond to your body language automatically.
Recent research suggests that a dog’s “guilty face” is an instinctive reaction to what it sees as threatening behaviour, not an “official admission of guilt.”
If you have harsh body language, dogs will shrink and appear as unassuming as they can to avoid your wrath. This deed primarily acts as a means of reconciliation.
Therefore, think about what might be initially causing the devastation before you start criticizing your dog for its behaviour. Below is a list of potential reasons why dogs left alone could behave destructively.
For four reasons, dogs are destructive when left alone.
If spite or retribution is not on your dog’s schedule, what is causing him to act destructively when left alone in the first place? These are the possible causes.
1) Initial separation anxiety
It may be a sign of anxiety if your dog is normally calm when you’re around but becomes agitated when you leave the house or are about to leave, even for a short time.
It’s possible to find a bite, scratch, or chew marks on surfaces like windows or doors in dogs with significant separation anxiety.
Watching your dog while you leave the house might be beneficial to see whether he acts anxiously at all. Watch out for actions such as excessive pacing, whining, barking, howling, drooling, scratching and chewing windows and doors, and having accidents about the house.
2) Adaptive behaviour
Some dogs, like others, may respond negatively to certain sounds or sights. When their owner is around, dogs typically respond less readily to stimuli. However, the sights and sounds of the outside world might be overwhelming for them if they are left alone.
Some dogs cannot handle the added burden of watching your entire home while you are away. No matter how big your pet is, the space they occupy will always seem larger when they aren’t sharing it with you.
Dogs are inherently gregarious animals. Being left alone was risky, especially when they were wild. If a dog is left alone, a larger predator could capture even the fastest one. Dogs still dislike being left alone since there is safety in numbers.
Therefore, stress can negatively affect dogs, which may turn to chew as a preferred coping technique.
3) A Dog’s Work-Life Balance
The fact that many dogs were domesticated and later bred for certain purposes should not be surprising. Hounds were bred for tracking. Collies were bred to herd, but dogs like Malamutes and American Eskimos were bred to pull.
If you live in the city or the suburbs and own a dog from one of these breeds, your pet likely serves more of a social and cuddly role than the purpose for which they were bred.
Now, that says nothing unfavourable about you. They need to release some pent-up energy, even though you cherish them and expend them to be your furry children. Because of this, they usually break things in the house to have fun.
This connects to the general sense of ennui felt when left at home alone. They aren’t doing it out of spite when they destroy your pillows, couch cushions, or even a prized child’s toy. They can only express their desire and displeasure by desiring to play with you.
4) Natural Feelings
Even though your dog is domesticated and is fed in glittering bowls made of cans and sacks, he still has some innate tendencies. He still has a hunting spirit, to put it simply.
Because they remind him of prey animals, those filled couch pillows are highly enticing to him. Dogs enjoy tearing apart toys to get to the squeaker, just as they enjoy “de-gutting” pillows by chewing through the filling to remove the internal “entrails.”
How to Prevent Your Dog’s Behavior When Left Alone
As was seen, when left alone, dogs have some valid motives for destroying things, and most of the time, they scream for help.
Controlling your dog’s behaviour when you’re not home is a big part of being a fur parent. You need to be able to carry out your regular tasks without worrying that your puppy will move into your house. Here are some ideas to keep in mind while you tackle this issue.
- If your job requires you to be away from home for an extended period, consider giving your puppy the best chance to compensate. Not everyone can pay for doggie daycare or a pet sitter for their dog. Making sure your puppy succeeds will improve everyone’s quality of life.
- You might want to open the curtains and turn on some calming music if your dog tends to bark at every animal or person that walks past the window. Or perhaps it would be best to consider them in a location without windows that face the front.
- Ensure your dog has access to chew toys and other items that will hold their attention for a long time.
- Remove any shoes or items with attractive stuffing from your dog’s immediate area before you leave. They can’t rip into them if they can’t get to them! Remember to remove everything from the areas your dog can access.
- If not, you may consider keeping your pup in a smaller, more enclosed area of the house to lessen their inclination for mischief. If you’re leaving to be gone for a brief period, install a baby gate, create a playpen, or crate your dog. Ensure your dog has the appropriate training before putting him in a crate or playpen.
- Play with your dog and take a stroll before you have to leave. This keeps kids interested and keeps them from having to use their energy in a bad way because they are too tired.
- Consider remote monitoring to monitor what your dog does when left alone. With the touch of a button, the Furbo Camera lets you see your dog, talk to him, and even distribute treats to keep him busy.
- Take care. Start with small absences and gradually build the duration of your absences. It would help if you established a schedule. Hence, your dog knows when you’re going to leave and assumes you’ll leave him with a range of food puzzles to keep him entertained and satiate his desire to chew.
- Arouse some curiosity. I like to make some treats in advance and create excitement before leaving. As an illustration, I might prepare a Kong with a dog cookie stuck at the bottom, some kibble mixed with peanut butter, and another cookie to lodge things in. I might put some treats mixed with more kibble in a Kong Wobbler, and I might then open a package of bully sticks and take one, and I might place all these treats up on a high shelf as I get ready to leave the house. When I am prepared to leave, the dog will be pleading with me for access to all these goodies. After scattering all these goodies throughout the floor, I would tell the dog to stay. I would then cry, “Go!” to free the dog from the stay as I opened the door.
- If you discover your dog chewing on something inappropriate, use the drop-it commands to replace it with a tasty treat. This instruction manual can teach dogs the “leave it and drop it” command.
- Speak with your veterinarian about how to deal with this behaviour if you find that your dog displays extreme stress or separation anxiety when left alone. It is feasible to meet a veterinary behaviourist. But you won’t look back with any regret at all. You can never enjoy seeing your pup go through so much stress. With the assistance of your behaviour specialist, your dog’s separation anxiety can be handled.
A crucial word
Extreme caution must be taken when dealing with dogs that destroy objects when left alone. Some dogs might never develop the trustworthiness necessary to be left alone. In light of this, it might just be best to crate these dogs, especially if there’s a danger they’ll chew on or eat something that could lead to issues like intestinal obstruction.