Please circle the letter next to the answer that most applies to your dog.
If a question is not applicable, then please leave that question and go on tothe next
Does your dog usually chew the same thing or a variety of things?
1.The same things
2.A variety of things
What type of thing is he most likely to chew?
1.Carpets, furniture, plants, etc.
2.Personal items–clothing, shoes, handbags, etc.
If he chews personal items, do they belong to a particular person?
If he chews non-personal items, is the destruction centered around exits such
as doors or windows?
Does he chew only when he has no access to you, or when you are present as
1.Sometimes when you’re present.
2.Only when he has no access to you.
Is your dog content to be isolated from you in any room with the door closed?
If the destruction is accompanied by defecation or urination, is there just
one spot to clean up or many?
Would your dog be likely to chew if left for
1.More than half an hour?
2.Less than half an hour?
Is your dog ALWAYS destructive when left by himself?
When you return, does your dog
If your dog greets you after he’s destroyed something, is he
1.Very excited and happy to see you?
2.Stressed, anxious, and clingy for some time after your return?
Does your dog sleep in your bedroom?
Analyzing your answer.
1’s indicate non-stress-related destruction–boredom or attention seeking.
2’s indicate separation anxiety.
In cases of absent-owner barking, separation anxiety begins with sniffing and whining and then builds to continuous barking. Attention-seeking barking is episodic–a few barks followed by listening, then more barks, and more listening.
Dogs CANNOT have separation anxiety if they do not sleep in the bedroom.
Causes of destructive behaviour:
Chews many different items. Happy to see owner on return. Doesn’t appear stressed. The same behaviour can be observed when the owner is present. If owners are asked to totally ignore the dog, the dog will often solicit attention and begin chewing.
Usually chews the same thing. Appears guilty when owner returns.
Chewing is focused around owner’s scent and escape routes. Often chews underwear or sock. Chewed clothing will be warm to touch from dog lying on it. Dogs will be stressed upon return. Often wet around mouth and chest.
Treatment for boredom-related destruction:
Exercise the dog mentally and physically for 1/2 an hour before leaving.
Scent work, is very absorbing and tiring. When leaving the dog give him a big twisted rope ( most vets and pet shops sell them) soak this with a bit of sardine or tuna and give it to the dog. This will occupy the dog.
Treatment for attention-seeking destruction:
Owners must walk away from all solicitations for attention. Owners should call the dog to them for attention when he wants to give it. Confine dog in a closed room (this should be the room the dog will be left in when the owner goes out.) and listen for chewing. Slap door if you hear any noise. No shouting or verbal comments.
When dog refrains from chewing for 2 minutes, go in the room but ignore the dog for 2 more minutes.
Five minutes in the room. Then increase 5 minutes a day until the dog can be left for 1/2 an hour. When the dog is ok for 1/2 an hour, the owner should withdraw all attention from the dog for 1/2 an hour before going out. Always confine to the room where the dog was trained. Leave recently worn clothing outside the door so dog will think the owner is still there.
Treatment for separation anxiety:
Since there is usually an excessive bond with one family member, spread out the bond by having other family members, feed and exercise the dog.
Deprive the dog of physical contact for 2 minutes at a time. Crate or tie in the same room as the favourite person about 3-4 feet away. Everyone must ignore the dog. Reads or watch TV. Do this as often as possible for several days.
Return and pet dog only when he’s calm.
Increase time and distance from the dog separately and gradually. Next tieor crate dog in same room with favourite person but block his view of thatperson. The person may verbally praise the dog when he’s quiet.
Then crate or tie the dog in another room with the door open. Listen forstress and praise calmness.
Then close the door of the room with dog loose in it. Owner must sit onfloor right by closed door. Listen for stress. Praise calmness. Then leaverecently worn clothing right outside the door while person is away.. Canrecord a family conversation and play it whenever you leave the dog.
Extracted from David the Dogman’s A-Z Guide to Dogs available bookshops or from here