Just like human babies, puppies are going to explore. They’re going to put things in their mouth and dig into things. They’re going to want to snatch things and run. Dogs have been known to destroy furniture, toys, shoes and even chew on the ends of a corner wall.
If this behavior isn’t corrected, it will get worse. Just as babies are taught the right and wrong way to act, all dogs – puppies or not – have to be taught what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
Tearing up things in your home can get expensive, depending on what the dog tears up, and it can be dangerous for him. You can lessen the chances of your dog tearing something up by pet-proofing your home.
Dogs will tear up anything when they’re bored or lonely or dealing with separation anxiety. Put away things that dogs are normally attracted to tearing up – such as shoes and pillows.
Keep any stuffed animals out of sight when you’re not home because dogs often mistake stuffed animals for chew toys. Give your dog items that he is allowed to chew on – such as dog toys and dog teething rings. If your dog is teething, giving him a dog teething ring that’s been chilled will help him not chew on things he shouldn’t chew on.
Dogs will repeat behavior when there are no consequences to their actions. If they chew on the end of the sofa and you laugh or simply replace the sofa, it gets reinforced to the dog that his actions were okay.
When a dog does destroy something and you fuss at him after you discover it, your dog doesn’t understand what he’s done. He understands only when you interrupt him in the middle of tearing something up.
Firmly say, “No!” and then gently remove him from the item. You want to be gentle, but you don’t want to engage or pet the dog when he’s in the middle of tearing something up.
He’ll associate that action with your petting him or giving him attention. When there are no consequences, dogs will keep going back – such as chewing on the same piece of furniture.
There are some natural repellants that you can buy at the pet store. You can spray down the part of the furniture where he’s been chewing with this repellant. The spray won’t hurt him, but what it does is give him a nasty taste, like he’s bitten into something very bitter.
He quickly learns that the furniture doesn’t taste good. To head off the issue of chewing on furniture, some pet owners spray the edges of the furniture down ahead of time with repellant.
Make sure that you’re keeping your dog active – because many dogs will tear things up because they have a lot of energy that isn’t being released through enough exercise.