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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19661
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Why does my dog destroy things when I go to work Somedays

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Why does my dog destroy things when I go to work? Somedays he's fine, other days he gets into all kinds of things. He's not alone. He had two older dogs to keep him company.

Hi Sir or Madam,


It sounds like your dog is bored. Younger dogs are more active than older dogs and thus have different requirements than the older dogs. They usually require more exercise as well. It might also be separation anxiety, but that does tend to be more consistant than you are seeing. I'll go over it anyway since many of the same technique should still help with a bored dog as well.


The first thing is to take your dog for a nice long walk before you leave, preferably 30 minutes or long. Make it a long, quick paced walk to tire your boy out.


Second is to use a low-key approach to leaving the house. Ignore your dog before you leave and after you come home for at least 5 minutes or more. If your house is like mine in the morning everyone is running around getting ready to leave. This has the dog in an excited mood and then suddenly he is alone. If this is the case, put him away from everyone, say in a bathroom until the frenzy is over.


Don't punish or shout at your dog when you come home and find he's destroyed something or gotten into stuff he shouldn't have. When you do, you increase his stress level rather than reduce it.


You can provide him with small stimulating toys or toys that you can fill with treats. One I find that is very effective is the Kong which has a compartment that can be filled with treats. I have found filling the compartment with peanut butter and freezing it before giving it to the dog can keep a dog busy for hours on end. Large knuckle bones are also good for keeping a dog busy and are pretty safe for a dog to gnaw on.


Sometimes leaving a TV or radio on can help a dog with this problem as well. Recording the sound of the humans moving through the house and played on a tape or computer may also fool the dog into thinking you are home. Also remember to not reward a dog's excitement to you with petting and affection or even eye contact. You want to show him nice calm praise when he is being calm.


You can also try practicing alone time by having him spend time away from you in a crate or other area away from you for short periods of time when you are home.


These should help his separation anxiety and boredom and help curb his destructive behavior. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family's part to be consistent in your interaction with him.


Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site:


Of course, crating him while you are gone or containing him in a room that has been dog proofed will also prevent the desctruction. Many owners crate their dogs when they leave them at home. Some are crated for up to 8 hours at a time with no ill effects. It actually would be in his best interest if he may be consuming foreign objects during his destructive phases.


Hope this works for you.

Jane Lefler and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you. I had read about not making a big deal when leaving and that has definately improved. They do still go to the window and watch me leave. I can't leave bones as the alpha female will take them all. I have left some toys and chew toys but it was short term interest. Both the other dogs will play with him. I will try your suggestion to walk him in the AM prior to leaving. Does crating work ok when the other dogs are loose? I had planned to crate train him, but he was hit by a car and had a broken rear leg ( a year ago) - so he convelesed in my room (probably part of the problem). I do leave a radio on every day. So, I should not act happy to see them when I come home? I usually talk and pet them as I walk to the back door to let them out. I will get the Kong toy and try the P.butter. Thank you for your help.



Crating works regardless of whether other dogs are out or not. I crate my large dogs when we leave but the little ones are allowed to roam the house. Mine don't destroy things, but one of my dogs can open the refrigerator, so she needs to be crated.


Wait at least 5 minutes before showing your dog's attention. One way would be to just enter the house, open the crate, command the dogs to follow you and let them out. When they come back in is when your should pet them and talk to them. This rewards them for coming in with positive reinforcement and doesn't get them all excited about your return before going outsode. Make it just part of a normal routine for you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you so much. I'll try your suggestions.