Does your home look like a war zone every time you return from work? Are your shoes, furniture, rugs -- well, pretty much everything -- suffering the wrath of your puppy's teeth? If you want to ensure you still have a house to return to, you'll have to start making changes. You can't reprimand or teach your pup when you're away, so your goal should be to keep him away from trouble as much as possible.
Tip #1 - Identify the cause of the problem. Is it boredom? Is your pooch suffering from separation anxiety? Is he trying to punish you for leaving him alone for too long? The better you understand his "puppy reasoning" for destroying the house, the easier it will be to address the problem. Since you can't ask him why he's doing it, try paying attention to his personality and breed for some clues. High-energy dogs (like herding breeds) get bored easily when locked inside a house, while nervous dogs might get lonely or stressed about being alone.
Tip #2 - Get your doggie into a regular exercise program. Go for a run -- even if it's just a 10-minute run -- right before you have to go out. Then do it again when you come back. If you don't have a lot of time to take your dog out, make the walk as challenging as possible. Pick a hilly terrain or play Frisbee or "catch the ball" rather than just taking a leisurely walk.
Tip #3 - Do a house sweep and pick up everything "tempting" located on the floor or at eye level. Remote controls? Put them in a drawer, rather than leaving them on the coffee table. Shoes? Off the floor. Anything that can be chewed will be chewed by a bored or anxious dog. Move everything you can to higher ground.
Tip #4 - Limit access to certain rooms. Don't give your pup run of the house while you're gone. Close the door to the bedroom, the home office and other rooms that you want to protect. Keep the dog in the kitchen if you have to, but make sure you buy childproof locks for the cabinets first -- dogs are clever and many will figure out a way to open cabinet doors and get in very big trouble. Still not helping? Consider crating the dog while you're gone.
Tip #5 - Leave some toys and chew sticks or rawhides in different areas of the house. These will be surprise finds for your dog when he decides to start exploring and looking for things to destroy.
By Tammy Dray
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life