Why do puppies destroy everything?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Puppies have a natural instinct to chew on things. It’s a normal behavior for them, as it helps with teething and exploring their environment. However, it becomes a problem when they chew on the wrong things, such as furniture, shoes, or household items.

One of the main reasons puppies destroy everything is because they haven’t been properly taught what they’re allowed to chew on. Dogs don’t automatically know the difference between their toys and your prized possessions. It’s essential to teach them from an early age what is acceptable to chew on and what is not. This can be done through positive reinforcement training, where you reward your puppy for chewing on their toys and redirect them when they start chewing on inappropriate objects.

Another reason puppies may destructively chew is boredom. Dogs, especially puppies, have a lot of energy and need mental and physical stimulation. If they don’t have appropriate outlets for their energy, they may resort to destructive chewing as a way to entertain themselves. Providing plenty of toys, engaging in regular playtime, and taking them for walks or other forms of exercise can help alleviate boredom and reduce destructive chewing behaviors.

Separation anxiety can also be a factor in destructive chewing. Puppies are social animals and can feel anxious or stressed when left alone. Chewing can serve as a coping mechanism for them, providing comfort and relieving anxiety. If your puppy only chews when you’re not around, it may be a sign of separation anxiety. Gradual desensitization to being alone, crate training, and providing interactive toys or treats can help alleviate separation anxiety and reduce destructive chewing.

Lastly, some puppies may chew on things to seek attention. If they learn that chewing on your belongings results in you giving them attention, even if it’s negative, they may continue the behavior. It’s important to provide your puppy with plenty of positive attention, exercise, and mental stimulation, so they don’t resort to destructive chewing as a way to get your focus.

In my personal experience, I had a Labrador Retriever puppy who would chew on anything and everything he could get his paws on. It was frustrating to come home to find shoes, pillows, and even parts of the furniture destroyed. However, through consistent training and providing him with appropriate chew toys, he eventually learned what was acceptable to chew on. It took time and patience, but with consistent reinforcement, he outgrew his destructive chewing habits.

Puppies may destroy everything due to a lack of clear boundaries and training, boredom, separation anxiety, or the desire for attention. It’s important to teach them what is acceptable to chew on, provide them with mental and physical stimulation, address any separation anxiety issues, and give them plenty of positive attention to prevent destructive chewing behaviors.