Okay, we hate throwing anyone under the bus, but some dogs are so destructive that we have no choice but to call them out and expose their behavior. Maybe you’re a pet parent to one of these dogs and know all too well how frustrating it is to deal with chewed shoes, shredded couches, and broken belongings. Destructive dogs can be defined as — chewers, diggers, and clutzes. So, what breeds are deemed the most destructive? And, if your pet is destructive, what can you do about it?
What are the Most Destructive Dog Breeds?
Sure, every dog can find themselves in a bit of occasional mischief, but some dogs live to destroy everything — your shoes, furniture, pillows, carpet, doors, yard, your entire home. While dogs, in general, like to chew on things like their toys and bones, as a destructive dog behavior, these breeds take (or, in this case, lick) the cake:
- American pit bull terrier
- Australian shepherd
- Basset hound
- Border collie
- Doberman pinscher
- German shepherd
- Golden retriever
- Great Dane
- Labrador retriever
- Shetland sheepdog
- Shiba Inu
Got plants? You may want to keep your eyes on them if you have a Jack Russell terrier (really any terrier) or shih tzu because these breeds are notorious for tearing up turf and flower beds. On the other hand, Staffordshire bull terriers and giant dog breeds tend to be the clumsiest dogs in the home, breaking plant pots, fragile home decor, and phones.
Reasons Dogs are Destructive
Why are some dogs destructive? Your pet may be acting out due to any number of reasons such as:
Puppies may find relief in chewing on things that aren’t necessarily good for them. This type of behavior should go away once your pet’s permanent teeth come in. You can redirect the puppy’s chewing tendency by getting dog-safe chew toys and teaching them what’s OK to chew and not OK.
If your dog lacks social interaction with humans or dogs or lacks a variety of toys, out of boredom, your dog may find ways to entertain themselves that lead to the destruction of your belongings. Here are 10 ways to prevent doggie boredom.
High-energy dogs and destructive behavior go hand-in-hand. Dogs may dig up your entire backyard or chew through your whole couch in one go if they lack enough daily mental stimulation and exercise.
Separation anxiety in dogs is one of the most common reasons behind destructive behavior in dogs. If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, they will most likely display other behaviors such as following you everywhere you go, even room to room, and jumping on you when greeting you upon your return.
Fears and phobias in dogs
Fear of things like fireworks, thunder, and other loud noises can cause your pet to destroy doors, windows, etc., as he attempts to escape.
What your dog may think is play is, in your mind, destructive. Behaviors include chewing and shredding things that are similar to toys like your shoes and socks.
Dogs LOVE attention, even if it’s negative. Whenever your pet destroys your stuff, and you scold or yell at him, it reinforces the behavior.
It may be that your dog’s destructive tendencies are merely the result of his size. Some large and giant breeds are the “bull in a china shop”. They can’t help but knock things over in their path if not given enough room.
Medical conditions such as dental or gum pain, upper gastrointestinal irritation, pica (consumption of non-food substances), and polyphagia (excessive hunger) can lead to destructive behavior.
Other causes behind destructive behavior include inconsistent feeding schedules, barrier frustration (confined to one area), and predatory behavior.
How to Curb Unwanted Dog Behavior
Since there are so many potential reasons your dog may act out, the ways to curb destructive behavior are equally plentiful. If your dog is known for breaking (due to size or clumsiness) or chewing on things around the house, the best way to avoid your pet destroying them is to move your stuff up and out of the way.
Providing playdates, adequate daily exercise and mental stimulation, and plenty of appropriate chew toys can help ensure your pet doesn’t act out from boredom or pent-up energy. Consult with your vet about concerns related to health issues and destructive behavior. Medical treatments may include prescriptions and an animal behaviorist. On the other hand, training techniques and training tools can prove effective for curbing destructive behavior that arises out of fear, separation anxiety, attention needs, or aggression. If your pet displays multiple unwanted behaviors like excessive chewing and digging, a combination of approaches can help stop your dog from acting up.
In the end, no matter the damage done, keep calm and remember your dog isn’t destructive out of spite, and yelling at him or punishing him most likely will cause him to increase any unwanted behaviors.