Provide Canine Enrichment
To prevent destructive behavior, provide your dog with entertainment that keeps his mind focused on acceptable activities, like interactive food puzzles or appropriate chew toys.
“While we may talk about this approach in terms of providing the dog with ‘entertainment,’ this is actually a behavior solution called differential reinforcement of other behaviors,” says Burch.
Simply put, you’re supplying the dog with something else to do other than the “bad” behavior. “If he is chewing an acceptable chew toy, he is not chewing the stuffing out of the couch,” she says.
Fortunately, there are a variety of items, including treat-stuffable toys like Kongs or remote-controlled treat machines, that can entertain your dog while encouraging him to use his brain, Lincoln says.
While it’s also common for pet parents to leave the television or radio on for entertainment when their pet is home alone, Burch says that action should come with a warning.
“While this might make the pet parent feel better, if dogs have behavior problems related to being separated from their person, this simple solution doesn’t usually result in effectively fixing the problem,” she says.
If you’d like to give it a try, Sinn suggests starting with a white noise or nature sound machine, classical music or dog-specific television.