I Can Destroy This: Destruction and Boredom

When you lose your determination and begin slipping and falling behind on your training, it can have serious consequences. When dogs do not get enough physical or mental stimulation, they look for ways to entertain themselves. This usually means they begin chewing or destroying something important to you (shoes, your couch, etc.). Similar to humans who get bored and become unproductive at work, dogs become bored when they lack engagement. However, while humans will turn to Facebook to curb their boredom, your dog will probably turn to your favorite pair of shoes.

The best way to prevent destructive and neurotic behaviors is to ensure that you are providing your dog with plenty of ways for them to exercise their body and mind. Like I stated before in my first blog post, a tired dog is a good dog. Daily walks, nose-work, tug of war, dog sports and games, are great ways of ensuring you have a tired dog.

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A few other destructive behaviors that unsatisfied dogs can display are digging, chewing and tearing things apart, pacing, or repetitive activities. Being determined and sticking to your training schedule will reduce the amount of these destructive behaviors you will see in your dog. In addition, if your dog spends too much time alone, don’t be surprised when they start displaying these behaviors. Just as humans need interaction with each other, so do dogs. Dogs are social animals and having limited interactions with them are going to have consequences. When dogs are bored, they misbehave. Like Odin pictured below when he decided that it was time for his stuffed pig to be disemboweled as a result of boredom.

Everyone gets busy and cannot spend 24/7 with their dog so make sure that the time you do spend with them is meaningful. Spend that time communication and motivating them to complete a job that will leave them mentally and physically satisfied. Get in the habit of interacting with them and engaging with them daily. Make time before and after work to walk them and enrich their minds. Engage in a fun activity with your dog, such as exploring a new area or new environment. This last Saturday during Odin’s Summer Continued Obedience Class, instead of working on training and sits and downs, his trainers pulled out toys, ramps, balancing platforms, and small kiddie pool filled with the balls you would find in a McDonald’s Play Place ball pit. This provided the dogs with a new, interesting environment that the dogs could explore and stimulate their brains.  

Get into the habit of interacting, engaging and exercising with your dog. Tiring out your dog goes a long way in avoiding destructive behaviors and having both you and your dog lead happier lives.

2 thoughts on “I Can Destroy This: Destruction and Boredom”

  1. Hi Arianna,

    I always enjoy reading your posts and get such great information from you. I have two rescue wolf hybrids and they are a handful and a half! I think it was around age two when they decided that destroying all things would be the best thing ever. I am talking three couches, a mattress, giant dens dug out of the grass, you name it they destroyed it! I am constantly trying to take them hiking, to the lake, and “school” (we work on tricks at home and I call it school and they get so excited). It seems like no matter how much I try to wear them out it doesn’t work. Do you have any suggestions for when I am at work to keep them entertained?
    Your posts are great!
    Felicia

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  2. Hi Felicia,

    I am very happy to hear that you are finding value in my blog! I too suffer the frustration of having a pup that enjoys chewing on things (my couch is the newest victim). One thing that I like to give Odin daily before I leave for work is some type of puzzle toy. The Wobbler made by kong, is his favorite (https://www.amazon.com/KONG-PW1-Wobbler-Large/dp/B003ALMW0M/ref=pd_sim_199_5?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B003ALMW0M&pd_rd_r=JGFAQCKJJ0BE4NP6CH28&pd_rd_w=7qu3J&pd_rd_wg=AvhWo&psc=1&refRID=JGFAQCKJJ0BE4NP6CH28). I usually stuff it with odd shaped treats so they are harder to knock out. There are also other, harder versions of the toy made by different companies for once you dog has figured out/got bored of the original. The wobbler has been tested to be fairly chew proof. Odin has not left a mark on it yet and he has destroyed the heavy duty kong toys in the past. Another that is good if your dog can figure it out is this bottle toy called Tug-A-Jug (https://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-Busy-Buddy-Dispensing-Small/dp/B000KV61FC/ref=pd_sbs_199_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B000KV61FC&pd_rd_r=Y3EZSPJDV651AH328BJ0&pd_rd_w=ZTwGE&pd_rd_wg=0asLz&psc=1&refRID=Y3EZSPJDV651AH328BJ0&dpID=41xRZg%252BwfgL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=detail). Odin couldn’t figure it out so he resorted to throwing it around the backyard to try to get it to dispense treats. This one is also has stood up against his chewing. I haven’t tried the treat ball yet (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ARUKTG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=rove05-20&linkId=0be5cb881d475dfddf23be3930225db0), however I know people in my classes and the trainers all use them and like them. It would be interesting to videotape and see what our dogs do all day without us. I live in a corner lot so I am sure that Odin spends a lot of his free time defending our house and the fence from people walking by.

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