Stopping Destructive Dog Behavior: Chewing, Digging, and More

by | Feb 16, 2023 | Behavior

As pet owners, we all love our furry friends, but sometimes their destructive behavior can be a real headache. Whether it’s chewing up our favorite shoes or digging up the garden, it’s frustrating when our beloved pets behave in a way that damages our property. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common forms of destructive behavior and provide tips for stopping them. By following our advice, you’ll be able to put an end to destructive dog behavior and enjoy a more harmonious life with your pet.

Understanding the Causes of Destructive Dog Behavior

Before we can address destructive dog behavior, we need to understand what causes it. The reasons why dogs engage in destructive behavior can vary widely, but some of the most common include:

  • Boredom or lack of exercise
  • Separation anxiety
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Teething or dental issues
  • Attention-seeking behavior

By understanding the root cause of your dog’s destructive behavior, you’ll be better equipped to address it effectively.

Chewing: How to Stop Your Dog from Destroying Your Belongings

Chewing is one of the most common forms of destructive dog behavior, and it can be a real problem if your dog starts chewing up your favorite shoes or furniture. To stop your dog from chewing, try the following tips:

  • Provide plenty of appropriate chew toys for your dog to play with
  • Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation
  • Use deterrent sprays or bitter apples to make objects taste unappealing to your dog
  • Keep valuable or dangerous items out of reach.

Digging: How to Keep Your Garden Intact

If you’re an avid gardener, a dog that likes to dig can be a real problem. To prevent your dog from digging up your garden, try the following:

  • Create a designated digging area for your dog and encourage them to use it
  • Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation
  • Use deterrent sprays or chicken wire to keep your dog out of areas you don’t want them to dig
  • Supervise your dog when they’re in the yard and redirect their attention if they start to dig.

Barking: How to Stop Excessive Barking

Excessive barking is not only annoying for you and your neighbors, but it can also be a sign of underlying anxiety or stress. To stop your dog from barking excessively, try the following:

  • Identify the root cause of the barking (such as boredom, anxiety, or fear) and address it directly
  • Use positive reinforcement to reward your dog when they stop barking
  • Teach your dog the “quiet” command and reward them when they stop barking on command
  • Consider using anti-bark devices (such as citronella collars) as a last resort.

Separation Anxiety: How to Help Your Dog Cope

Separation anxiety is a common cause of destructive behavior in dogs. If your dog becomes anxious or upset when you leave them alone, try the following tips:

  • Practice leaving your dog alone for short periods of time and gradually increase the duration
  • Create a safe and comfortable space for your dog when you’re not home (such as a crate or a designated room)
  • Use pheromone sprays or calming supplements to help your dog feel more relaxed
  • Consider enrolling your dog in a doggy daycare or hiring a pet sitter to keep them company when you’re away.


Q1. Can chewing be a sign of a health problem?

A1. Yes, excessive chewing can be a sign of dental issues or other health problems, so it’s important to consult with a veterinarian if you suspect that your dog’s chewing behavior may be related to a health issue.

Q2. How can I tell if my dog has separation anxiety?

A2. Signs of separation anxiety can include destructive behavior, excessive barking or howling, and inappropriate elimination (such as urinating or defecating in the house). If you’re not sure if your dog has separation anxiety, consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer.

Q3. Is it okay to use punishment to stop destructive dog behavior?

A3. Punishment is not an effective way to address destructive dog behavior, as it can actually make the behavior worse and damage the relationship between you and your dog. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and reward your dog for good behavior.

Q4. Can hiring a dog trainer help with destructive behavior?

A4. Yes, a professional dog trainer can be a valuable resource for addressing destructive dog behavior. A trainer can help you identify the root cause of the behavior and provide personalized training strategies to help stop it.

Q5. How long does it take to stop destructive dog behavior?

A5. The length of time it takes to stop destructive dog behavior will vary depending on the individual dog and the severity of the behavior. It’s important to be patient and consistent in your training efforts and to seek professional help if necessary.


Destructive dog behavior can be a frustrating and challenging problem for pet owners, but with the right tools and strategies, it can be addressed effectively. By understanding the root causes of destructive behavior and using positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior, you can help your dog become a well-behaved and happy member of your family. Remember to be patient, consistent, and loving in your training efforts, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need it. With a little bit of time and effort, you can put an end to destructive dog behavior and enjoy a more harmonious life with your furry friend.