With two dogs of my own, I can tell you that I have lost a lot of my belongings to them. Over the years, I have learned from the advice of others and also from new things that I have tried on my own that will keep my dogs from being too bored. If you are going through this destructive phase with your own dog, I hope that these 5 ideas can help.
1) Provide your dog with toys of their own
A bored dog will always find something to do; which means that something of mine is going to be chewed up, dug up or scratched up. An easy way to stop this is to provide them with toys of their own to play with. To reinforce that you want them to play with their toys and anything else, give them a healthy treat, like greenies for a dog, each time you catch them with the toys.
2) Plenty of Exercise
Get out and move with your dog. Again, bored dogs are destructive dogs, so you have to make sure that they are getting plenty of exercise. This physical activity is in addition to having their own toys to play with. I find that the days I play with my dogs for long periods of time are the days that they are just too tired to do anything else; including chewing on anything.
Good physical activities for dogs include: taking a walk, running around in the park, tug-o-war, and playing fetch. And it’s good exercise for me too!
3) For the Digging Dogs
Some dogs are just destined to dig. To prevent them from digging in places that you don’t want them to, you need to provide them a place they can dig away to their heart’s content. A good idea is to provide them with a sandbox like you would a child and bury their toys in the sand for them to find.
I have found that dogs also dig when they are hot and need a cool place to relax in. To stop them from digging their own cool place on a hot day, provide them with a place to go that is shady and cool. If they already have a cool place to escape to, they won’t exert the energy to make another one.
4) Make Desirable Places Accessible
If you allow your small dog up on your bed or furniture, make it easier for them to get up there. This will stop them from having to scratch the item to pieces before you finally help them up. Ideally, putting in dog steps for small dogs will allow them to easily get up to where they want to go without the destruction.
5) Visit Your Vet
If you have tried everything you can, and your dog still continues to destroy stuff, you might be facing a medical issue instead. A call or visit to your vet for help may be in order. Sometimes pets are facing anxiety issues, dental problems, or pests that are making them miserable, which in turn could be causing them to chew or engage in other destructive behavior.
As an example, a friend of mine had a cat that chewed on anything plastic that she could find. It turned out that the kitty was having problems with her teeth and chewing on the plastic made her feel better.
Once you get your vet involved, they may be able to recommend meds for pets like yours that are having these types of issues.