Got a dog that keeps destroying your shoes? Or perhaps your cat won’t stop scratching the furniture? Whatever the destructive behavior may be, here are several ways in which you can get your pet to stop.

Identify the cause

Cats and dogs exhibit destructive behavior for a reason. The most common motives for dogs are stress and boredom – many dogs will chew because of separation anxiety or because they’re not getting enough stimulation – however it can be a sign of dental problems in older dogs or even hunger. Cats generally scratch objects as a way of maintaining claw health and sometimes as a way of marking their territory, although for others it is stress relief. It’s easier to stop the destructive behavior if you know the cause, so try to assess their mood to work this out.  

Provide toys as an outlet

Toys can provide an outlet for their destructive behavior. Make sure to buy chew toys for dogs and supply a scratching post for cats. By telling your pet off for destroying the wrong thing and rewarding them for attacking their toys, you can help to control their destructive behavior. If you think it’s pure boredom that causing your pets to scratch, it could be a case of providing a variety of toys. Cat tinsel balls are fun ways to stimulate your cat, whilst dogs may appreciate toys that they can tug with you. By rotating toys, you can ensure that they always have different toys to play with so that they don’t get bored of one particular toy.

Make use of scents

Scents can also be used to control destructive behavior. Both cats and dogs dislike citrus scents such as lemon or bitter apple – you can buy deterrent scents to spray on objects that you don’t want them to destroy. At the same time, you can also buy scents such as catnip for cats and lavender for dogs to spray on toys and get them to obsess with these.

Protect your possessions

Whilst you should try to train the behavior out of your pets, another option could be to protect your possessions from your pets. This could include storing certain items out of sight or using a containment measures such as a mail cage to stop your dog eating your mail. Adding slipcovers to sofas and rugs to certain areas of carpet may also stop these possessions being targeted or at the very least getting damaged.

Know when to get professional help If you can’t seem to cure the destructive behavior or you can’t get to the bottom of the cause, it could be worth hiring the help of an animal behavioral expert – they may be able to use advanced training methods or they may be able to identify a medical problem that they think may be worth seeing a vet for. You may have to pay a small fee to see a professional, but it could be worth it if the behavior has become a serious concern.

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Emma Dawn


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