When you have a dog who seems to be acting out or behaving strangely, it can be frustrating. Often, when dogs act out, it ultimately means they’re destroying something in the home. For example, maybe you leave for work, and when you return, your dog has chewed through every pillow or piece of furniture in the house.

As much as you probably love your dog, it’s difficult to deal with this behavior, but there are some things to know that can help you prevent or stop destructive behaviors.

Is Your Dog Lonely During the Day?

One of the most common reasons a dog becomes destructive is because they are lonely while you’re gone for the day or at work. Dogs want to be with their owners, and if your dog is your only pet, their loneliness or separation anxiety can be particularly difficult for them to deal with.

There are a few solutions to loneliness or separation anxiety. One option is to use a dog walking service. There are on-demand dog walking services that make it easy for you to find someone who will not only walk your pet, but also provide you with reports as to how often they relieve themselves during the walk, how far they go, and whether or not there are any strange behaviors noticed during their walk.

Another option is a doggie daycare, although this does require you transport and pick your dog up, so it’s more time-consuming and it’s going to be more expensive as well.

Specific Behaviors Are Related to Certain Issues

Sometimes, if you can identify the source of your dog’s destructive behavior, it’s easier to deal with the problem. There is obsessive-compulsive destruction, and also separation anxiety destruction. There can be fear or phobia-related destruction as well.

Obsessive-compulsive destruction can occur if an owner is nearby, or not. Separation anxiety obviously occurs when an owner leaves, while phobia-related destruction can occur in front of an owner or not, and it’s often set off by a specific event such as a loud noise.

You might want to start taking notes about the types of behaviors your dog is exhibiting, and what could be triggering them so you can speak with your veterinarian.

Don’t Be Overly Harsh

Being harsh with your dog isn’t likely to be effective to help put a stop to destructive behavior. Some people think that it helps when in actuality being overly harsh can reverse positive effects.

It’s better to take action such as crating your dog on a certain schedule, as opposed to hitting or yelling at your dog. If your dog is acting out because of anxiety or a phobia, harsh tactics can be particularly problematic and are likely to make the behaviors worse.

Finally, while crating is mentioned as a solution for certain destructive dog behaviors, bear in mind that this isn’t a solution to use while you’re gone from your home all day. It can be useful in certain situations, but if you’re just putting your dog in a crate all day while you’re gone, it can lead to serious problems including muscle atrophy and deterioration, and mental problems.