Help for Home Wreckers
Sidebar: Tips to help keep your dog from wrecking your home.
If your dog is a home wrecker, don't despair. Help is available. A little digging on your part, not your dog's, will turn up any number of useful techniques, products and information sources to help with the problem.
Toys and Play
Look for toys that stimulate your pet's interest. Make sure each toy has lots of "give," so your pet can chew to his teeth's content without shredding it. Beware of bells, buttons and squeakers that may come loose; your pet may swallow them and choke. Some toys can be filled with kibble that falls out as your pet plays. Agility training equipment combines exercise with fun to create a constructive outlet for your pet's energy.
Bitter sprays and salves applied to furniture edges help deter chewing. Motion- and touch-sensitive warning systems keep pets away from family belongings. Shock training collars apply mild electrical stimulation to control behavior, but American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officials recommend them only as a last resort and only under the supervision of a trainer experienced in their use.
Crates, dog nuns, training choke collars and "invisible fencing" collars that condition dogs to avoid the perimeter of a yard with an unpleasant buzz or mild shock offer a variety of ways to contain destructive pets.
Books, videos, seminars and hot lines are all available in book stores, pet stores and libraries. The ASPCA also offers free information.