There is no such thing as the “most destructive” or “least destructive” dog breeds. All dog breeds can be destructive with the perfect storm of circumstances, and all dog breeds can be well-behaved with proper training and physical and intellectual stimulation.
Are Some Breeds More Prone to Destructive Behavior?
While destructive behavior is not a characteristic of a particular breed, some breeds are more prone to boredom and anxiety. These dogs were bred to perform a job and have exceptional intelligence and energy to spare.
When given no outlet for these traits, active and working dogs will find their entertainment and even act out to show their displeasure.
Some of the most popular active and working dog breeds include:
- German shepherd
- Siberian husky
- Doberman pinscher
- Border collie
- Australian shepherd
- Belgian Malinois
- Chesapeake Bay retriever
- Labrador retriever
- German Pointer
- Golden retriever
Bored dogs may show their boredom by:
- Playing with things they should not, for example, your shoes!
- Howling and barking and disturbing neighbors.
- Pacing on the floor and disturbing neighbors if you live in an apartment or condo.
- Counter surfing (snatching items off countertops.)
- Initiating play with other pets knocking over items in the process.
- Dig in furniture.
The best way to avoid a destructive dog is to make sure that you have the time and resources to devote to your dog before adding them to your family!
In addition to the necessities, every dog needs:
- A good routine of walking and playtime to burn off extra energy.
- Mental and intellectual stimulation to satisfy their curiosity and need to problem-solve.
- Training and ongoing training reinforcement to help your dog understand acceptable behavior.)
Why Are Dogs Destructive?
Dogs can be called destructive when they rip, tear, chew, claw, and dig at things they should not. There is a common misconception that some dog breeds are more likely to be destructive than others – this is not true.
Destructive behaviors like these occur for a few reasons, including:
- Lack of Understanding
One of the most common reasons that dogs are destructive is their age. Young puppies become destructive because:
- They are exploring the world around them, something they must do with their mouths.
- They do not know any better! (They lack training!)
- They are teething, and chewing helps to relieve teething pain.
The best way to avoid having a destructive puppy is to provide your puppy with plenty of exercise and training. These things will take time, so in the meantime, when you go out, use a crate or a baby gate to keep your puppy in a safe area where it cannot destroy anything or hurt itself.
Puppies do not have all their vaccines until sixteen weeks old, so be sure to keep playtime indoors or in your garden and begin training at home until your puppy can join a puppy class.
One of the most common reasons that adult dogs are destructive is boredom! Many dog owners are guilty of neglecting their dogs’ basic needs, which causes lethargy, leading to bad behavior.
The average dog gets two short walks daily for twenty to forty minutes. This amount of exercise is not enough! Depending on a dog’s breed, dogs may need as much as two hours of good aerobic exercise a day and playtime with toys.
One very effective method of keeping a dog from acting out when at home alone is to give them a longer walk in the morning. A longer walk ensures your pup is tired enough to sleep while you are at work, allowing you both to relax!
Not all dog parents can provide their dogs with the levels of exercise they need, but fortunately, some solutions can help burn extra energy!
- Interactive toys keep your dog stimulated even when you are at work!
- A dog walker to walk and play with your dog while working provides extra daily exercise.
- Doggy daycare offers an energy outlet for particularly active dog breeds.
When people label certain breeds as destructive, it is almost always because a dog has acted out due to boredom. (We will cover this in more detail shortly.)
Anxiety is another common reason that dogs become destructive. When dogs with separation anxiety or noise phobias are triggered, they have a fear response – they freeze or panic. When dogs panic, they can become destructive.
A panicking dog may:
- Chew or scratch at drywall to try to escape to “safety.”
- Damage walls, doors, or windows to try to escape to find their “person.”
- Dig at, chew, or lie on items that carry a “safe person” scent to self-soothe.
- Accidentally knock over household items in a panicked frenzy.
Treating anxiety in dogs can be difficult, but some solutions can be helpful for some dogs, including:
- Thunder Shirts and other anxiety-reducing wraps create a calm feeling.
- Pheromone sprays, plug-ins, and collars can induce calm feelings.
- Soothing music collections to induce feelings of relaxation.
- Herbal supplements that induce relaxation.
- Anti-anxiety medications reduce the body’s anxious response.
- Sedatives that induce sleep and reduce fear reactions.
- Behavioral training to desensitize fearful dogs to certain stimuli.
- Crating to keep anxious dogs in a safe space where they cannot hurt themselves or destroy property if they become panicked.
- Heartbeat toys that induce relaxation by replicating a soothing heartbeat.
- Scented collars utilize natural oils to induce relaxation.
It is a good idea to talk to your dog’s vet to determine which anxiety-fighting solutions might be best for your dog’s anxiety.
Lack of Understanding
Dogs do not just understand what you expect of them. It is our job as their guardians to teach them “the ropes.” When we don’t provide this type of guidance, it can result in destructive behavior.
For example, a new rescue dog that has never lived in a home may be used to root through trash to find food. As a result, they may start to root through your trash when they get hungry. This behavior is natural for them that meets their needs. Your job is to teach your dog that food should not come from the garbage.
A lack of understanding can also be due to improper training. For example, if you laugh when your dog runs off with your sibling’s shoes, your dog may repeat this behavior in the future because it seemingly makes you happy.
Training plays an integral part in our relationship with our dogs. However, if done incorrectly or inconsistently, it can create behavioral problems. The key to remedying these types of behavioral issues is to consult with a behavioral trainer so that you can both learn obedience commands and how to follow through with them!
Conclusion / Summary
A tired dog is a happy dog – it is the mantra of most canine behavioral experts for a reason!
As your dog’s guardian, you must be sure that you can provide the exercise and mental stimulation your dog needs to be tired and the training they need to behave!