WHY DOES MY DOG TEAR UP THE PILLOWS ON THE COUCH WHEN I LEAVE THE HOUSE?
We get questions similar to this one all the time! And the answer…well, it depends. First, you need to do a little inventory. Does Fido have enough activity in his day or is he just bored? Does Fido have a little separation anxiety? When you leave the house do you make a big deal about it? Does your dog need more exercise during the day?
WHY DID MY DOG TEAR UP MY FAVORITE BOOK?
Most of the time dogs “get into trouble” during the day when you are not home because they are simply bored. In general we are not giving our dogs the proper amount of exercise they need in order to “relax” during the day. The proper amount of daily exercise really depends on the breed, age, and health of your dog, but 30 to 60 minutes is about average. Sending them out into the backyard on their own is NOT exercise! Here is a newsflash for you – EXERCISE IS GOOD FOR YOU TOO! The time you spend exercising with your dog is great bonding time for the two of you! Take a walk first thing in the morning, or play “fetch” in the back yard for a few minutes. I promise, if you start a regular routine of exercising with your dog you will notice the difference in their behavior when you are away from home.
If you just don’t have the time you can always hire a dog walker or trainer to come during the day to play with Fido! This is a great way to break up their day and give them some undivided playtime with a human! Pet Sitters International (www.petsit.com) and National Association of Professional Petsitters (www.petsitters.org) are great places to search for a local dog walker in your area.
WHAT IF MY DOG HAS SEPARATION ANXIETY?
Some dogs do have mild to severe separation anxiety that could be caused by many things – mostly the owner :-). If your dog has some separation anxiety, taking some of these steps could help or just seek the advise of a local dog trainer. Don’t make a big deal when you leave. Try to have a routine like giving a treat, stuffed KONG treat, etc, say goodby and just leave. You may want to practice leaving for only a few minutes at first and take longer trips away from home as things progress. Don’t make a big deal when you get home. Let them calm down before you greet them. Kennel training is another option. Please keep in mind the kennel is NOT punishment, it is simply a safe place for your pup to stay while you are away. It keeps him from tearing things up AND prevents ingestion of inappropriate items!
I hope this helps with your “naughty” furry kid! Give them the exercise, attention, and routine they need and you will be rewarded!
Thank you to John Wren with Starkey Mortgage for sending in this question.
Trisha Stetzel, Owner
Fetch! Pet Care of Clear Lake