You left your puppy home alone for a few hours. Upon your arrival back home, you must endure your neighbor nagging you about how your dog did not stop barking all day. You check your voicemail to find a nasty message from your landlord letting you know that it can't happen again. You open the front door. You are greeted by your adoring puppy. You are also greeted by the lovely aroma of dog urine and trash. You spend the remainder of your night picking up the garbage that has been strewn across the apartment and scrubbing the pee stain out of your new rug. Sound familiar? This is a normal part of raising a puppy and there are many tips and tricks to help you solve the problem!
1. Know The Reasons Why
Most likely, your dog is simply under-stimulated. Your dog is bored and therefore entertains himself by destroying your possessions. Your dog could also be stressed, or be exhibiting signs of seperation anxiety. This is common in dogs but can easily be solved by following a few simple tips!
2. Don't Scold Your Dog After The Fact
Of course when you come home from a long day at work only to find your apartment a mess, you want to react by yelling at your pup. However, this will not help the situation. Your dog will not know why you're yelling. Puppies do not have memories like we do- he will not know what he did wrong. You can't scold your dog for something they did hours or even minutes ago because he just will not know what you're yelling at him for.
3. Teach Your Dog To Love Their Bed
Teaching your dog to love their bed is essential in relieving separation anxiety and reckless behavior. If your dog learns to enjoy laying in his bed and feels safe in his bed, then he will do so when you are not home. Start by leaving treats in the bed. This will associate his bed with reward. Also, be sure to calmly pet your dog and tell them how good he is whenever he is in his bed. This will teach him that you approve. Once your dog is calmly laying in bed for a bit, leave the room for a few seconds. Over time, increase the amount of time you leave the room. If your dog leaves the bed, go back and start over. Eventually, you should be able to leave the room and even go out the front door and your dog will remain in bed. Of course always reward your pup with a treat in his bed when he stays successfully.
4. Eliminate Clues
Your dog will pick up on what it is you do right before you leave them home alone. To disassociate these clues, try to make it a point to jingle your keys, or put your coat and shoes on at times when you aren't planning on leaving. This will help relieve some of the stress your dog feels the moment you are starting to leave and the moment you go.
5. Ignore Him
Before you leave the house and right when you get home ignore your dog. If you act super excited to see him every time you come home, it will make your departure worse the next time. Pretend he is invisible for a few minutes after coming home. This will make your departures and arrivals less of a big deal to him.
6. Leave Him With Chew Toys and Treats.
Leave your dog with something to stimulate him while you're gone. A Kong toy stuffed with treats is a great way to keep your dog occupied while at the same time enforcing reward with being left home alone!
A tired dog is a good dog. Taking your dog for a long walk when you know you will be leaving them alone later that day, will make your pup sleepy! They'll be mentally stimulated and will be much less likely to destroy your home :)