If you have a cat that shreds your upholstery or a dog that tears up pillows and drapes and chews everything in sight, you know the challenges of housekeeping while pet parenting.
As a pet care and dog training company in Toms River, we are often asked about ways to help keep destruction at bay. We’ve gathered up some tips and tricks to help you and your pet keep your home from going to the dog house.
What the Experts Say
Dog trainer and “It’s Me or the Dog” TV show presenter Victoria Stilwell writes on her website that much of a dog’s destructive behavior stems from boredom and can be alleviated with activities that interest and stimulate him.
She recommends learning about your dog’s breed and planning activities around that breed’s instinctual needs, such as long runs for coursing hounds like greyhounds and tracking games with bloodhounds. Give them regularly, supervised time with activities they’ll enjoy.
Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, warns against triggering unwanted behavior. Don’t leave food on the countertops or tables around food-snatching dogs, and don’t let your pets have access to the kitchen and an uncovered trash can when you’re not home. Dr. Becker recommends you work with your pet on positive training and conditioning, and possibly consulting a certified animal behavior specialist.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals believes pet owners need to understand the importance of chewing; it is normal and necessary behavior for dogs of all ages.
Chewing fulfills health and developmental needs in animals and should be managed in a gentle, humane way to both keep your pet healthy and happy and protect your décor.
The ASPCA recommends providing a variety of safe and appropriate things for your pet to chew on, including cold and frozen washcloths and special frozen chew toys for teething puppies and safe chew bones and toys for juvenile and adult dogs.
Chew-proofing your home while providing a variety of proper chewing materials including edible and non-edibles like dental chews and pet puzzle toys will satisfy your pet’s chewing urges and decrease the temptation to taste and gnaw everything in sight.
The ASPCA also recommends ensuring animals get lots of exercises to alleviate the boredom and frustration that can lead to destructive chewing and other behaviors.
A combination of patient, gentle training and managing your pet’s environment will prevent destructive behaviors—but sometimes, pet owners need a quick fix. When you’re ordering new drapes or getting new furniture delivered and you need to stop destructive behavior pronto, try these tips:
- Experts recommend removing temptation while you’re not supervising your pet. Until he’s trained, put him in a crate or behind baby gates when you go out.
- Distract your pet from digging, chewing or scratching by providing positive distractions or replacements for the destructive behavior, such as a scratching post for your cat or chew toys for your dog.