Destructive Behaviors (Chewing, Digging) - Dog Training Tips
Boredom can lead your dog to misbehave or engage in destructive behaviors like chewing and digging; the following are some suggestions for keeping your canine friends entertained!
Buster® Cube (available from your local Bark Busters trainer): This award-winning dog toy is a great distraction. Fill the toy with dry kibble. As your dog rolls it around on the ground, the kibble falls out from multiple compartments. This motivates your dog work for his food, keeping a brain-active dog busy for hours.
Scatter feeding: Turn feeding into a treasure hunt. Scatter a variety of foods (such as whole carrots, celery, peas, broccoli, beans, apples etc.) around the yard when you put your dog outside. This gives your dog something to forage for as well as some nutritious food to chew on (rather than your wooden lawn furniture). You can also scatter his dry food around the yard.
KONG® toys: The durable rubber toys made by KONG® have a hollow center that can be stuffed with delicious treats. Seal the ends with biscuits to make it harder for your dog to get the goodies inside, or fill one with food and then freeze it to make your dog a "KONG-sicle" to enjoy. KONG® also produces the Wobbler, which is similar to the Buster® Cube. Place treats or kibble inside, and your dog has to figure out how to release them by maneuvering the toy around.
If your dog seems to prefer your yard or household items over his toys to chew, one way to discourage him is to have the item itself give the correction by applying a foul-tasting product such as Grannick's Bitter Apple spray, citronella or hot chili sauce to it. Never give your dog old shoes or clothing items to chew, as he may not distinguish between these old items and new ones.
Digging is a normal behavior for dogs. They dig in search of food, to investigate sounds and smells, to improve their shelter, or to escape. This behavior can be triggered by boredom, separation anxiety, chasing rodents or bugs, and/or a nutritional deficiency. The reason for the digging must be determined before a possible training solution can be tried. Contact your local Bark Busters Dog Behavioral Therapist to help you with this tricky behavioral issue.
For boredom-related destructive behaviors, also see our articles on:
Indoor Games to play with your dog
Outdoor Games to play with your dog
Mental vs. Physical Stimulation
Creating a Dog-Friendly Backyard