The best way to stop your dog from destroying things while you are gone is to address the root cause. Whether it be too much freedom, a lack of exercise, or separation anxiety, there are things you can do to address your dog's needs and stop the destructive behavior.
If your dog destroys things when left alone, you're most likely a working puppy parent who is fed up with this behavior. You've likely come home to find your house in disarray, with the couch cushions destroyed or your favorite pair of shoes chewed up by your fur baby.
When you leave the house, your dog might feel abandoned and anxious. Emotion is “energy in motion.” All of that anxiety has to go somewhere, and, unfortunately, it often gets taken out on our belongings. Dogs that have separation anxiety can experience extreme mental anguish when their owners are gone.
Dogs who chew to relieve the stress of separation anxiety usually only chew when left alone or chew most intensely when left alone. They also display other signs of separation anxiety, such as whining, barking, pacing, restlessness, urination and defecation.
If a dog's chewing, digging and destruction are caused by separation anxiety, they don't usually occur in his guardian's presence. A dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where he's confined when he's left alone or separated from his guardian.
It is normal for dogs to chew on things, dig, and be protective over their territory. Dogs are diagnosed with destructive tendencies when they destroy things we don't want them to, such as furniture, shoes, doors, or carpets.
It just means their emotional response hasn't developed sufficiently enough to give an appropriate response. Dogs may also feel overwhelmed or intimidated by a big show of emotion. Their natural response will be to step away.
Boredom, restlessness, fear, and separation anxiety are all common reasons that your dog might bark and whine while you're gone.
Separation Anxiety in Dogs If your dog tends to howl every time you leave the house, it is most likely a sign that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Unlike a joyful, excited howl, a dog with separation anxiety will persistently howl as soon as he senses you are leaving him alone.
A number of medical issues—including a urinary tract infection, a weak sphincter caused by old age, hormone-related problems after spay surgery, bladder stones, diabetes, kidney disease, Cushing's disease, neurological problems and abnormalities of the genitalia—can cause urinary incontinence in dogs.
Dogs with separation anxiety become upset when they're apart from the people they're attached to. In addition to defecating or urinating indoors, they may bark, howl, destroy or chew objects, or dig at exit points like doors and windows. They will also become agitated when they see their humans getting ready to leave.
A scared dog sometimes tries to hide itself to avoid an activity, such as a morning walk, that is often followed by the owner's departure. Some dogs try to hide under a parked car or a place hard to access. Some just do not allow their owner to catch them when they have to let them out before leaving.
If you find something that your pet has done (destruction, elimination), but you did not catch him in the act, just clean it up and vow to supervise your puppy better in the future. Do not get your pet and bring him over to the mess, then yell and physically discipline him.
Defining Tasks. Simply put, dogs tend to do things because they get some kind of reward out it. For example, they eat because the reward is a full stomach, they play fetch because they get to play with you and are rewarded with plenty of praise. Likewise, they get on your couch because it's nice and comfy.
If your dog barks when you leave and you can hear him or her barking as you walk to your car or elevator, he or she may be trying to tell you not to leave. He or she may also be expressing displeasure or distress at your leaving.
Urine Marking Some dogs urinate in the house because they're scent marking. A dog scent marks by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces.