Possible causes for destruction
When you catch your dog in the act, the technique for solving the problem remains the same, no matter what the cause for destruction is. Still, certain additional exercises are recommended, depending on the nature of the cause.
Typical causes for destruction are:
- Separation anxiety
- Games related to investigating the environment
- Social isolation
- Fears and phobias
- Demanding attention
- Territorial destruction
- Destruction as a means of appeasement
Separation anxiety: A dog always displays the same symptoms for separation anxiety, no matter what the problem is. The destruction, be it inside or outside, will occur within the thirty minutes which follow the "abandonment". Whenever the dog ends up alone in a specific situation, such as the master leaving for work, the problem will inevitably occur. The problem doesn't manifest itself when the family is at home. Should the problem occur anyway, it is not likely that it can be attributed to separation anxiety. However, destruction could be caused by a combination of problems, including separation anxiety. For example, a dog suffering from separation anxiety will chew on doors and windows; he will pull out the rug; he'll tug at the curtains or destroy the outdoor fence. If he feels like it, he will demolish objects which are impregnated with a strong scent from his master, such as cushions or clothes. Destruction can be attributed to anxiety without necessarily manifesting itself on the usual objects. One must therefore not presume that because the dog is not destroying the usual objects, he doesn't suffer from separation anxiety. Typically, a dog placed in a cage before departure spells trouble. A dog suffering from this ailment is usually reticent to be placed in a cage. Such a dog follows the master everywhere in theand displays tense behavior whenever he loses sight of his master. Whenever the master returns after an outing, the dog overreacts. Seeing as preparations for a departure are always basically the same, the dog will recognize departure time and will be duly agitated. Such must be submitted to an absence desensitization program, which you will find in the section which deals with separation anxiety. Furthermore, we recommend the program dealing with destruction problems and attention-getting de vices.
Here is a quick overview of what you will find in this section. Departures can be rendered less predictable by repetitively simulating departures. The anxiety can be ignored (habituation); whenever it crops up, give the dog somebefore each departure (counter-conditioning). Another alternative is to tell the dog to "stay" or "Iie down" (counter-conditioning). Change your departure routine by not giving the dog too much attention before leaving, and by changing hints of departure, such as taking your keys or putting on your shoes. The dog must be accustomed to staying alone for short periods when he isn't anxious, and gradually increasing the time you are absent. The master should practice the "NAME + STAY" command when the dog can't see him. Each arrival at home should be calm so as not to excite the dog. Do not give the dog any attention before he has calmed down.