Bed Destroyers! How Do I Stop My Dog From Destroying The Bed?
Winter is here and we all want to make sure our dogs are kept warm with snuggly dog jackets and nice warm beds. They aren’t cheap either so when the dog happily rips them to pieces… the disappointment is real.
So what can we do about this? How can you stop your dog from destroying their bed?
You can train the dog to stop destroying beds by catching them in the act and punishing with a startle tactic but this can be difficult to do as the dog often only does it when unsupervised. Never punish a dog after the fact – they won’t understand and will be confused.
Another option is to make the surface taste bad, like a booby trap! Now, there are all sorts of bitter and anti-chew sprays on the market along with at home recipes with chillies or citronella in it. If you try one and it doesn’t work, don’t give up on the idea straight away. Effectiveness will vary from dog to dog. Some dogs hate one anti chew solution while another acts grateful that you seemed to have seasoned the item for them (yum, chilli…)!
Another option is to choose a different approach with bedding – continually replace cheap bedding, or invest in a higher quality dog bed, like one that comes with a destruction guarantee. By the time you add up the cost of continually replacing cheap beds you usually may have invested in a stronger bed. If you think there is no bed that can survive your dog, you could try one with a guarantee so that you have insurance if you’re right. I recommend Kuranda dog beds – look them up online.
You can train a dog to value their bed and not chew it by only having it available when you’re there to supervise in the beginning. This way you can ensure that the bed is only used as a bed. Gradually, the dog can have more and more time alone with the bed once they know that this is a relaxation spot, not a chew toy.
I recently saw a dog that was removing the outdoor lounge pillows each day and the owners were at their wits ends. She wasn’t actually destroying them, she was laying on them and moving them around the yard. After some investigation it turned out that she used to have her own cushiony dog bed but they got rid of it. After returning the dog bed, she completely stopped removing the couch cushions! All she need was her own cushion. The moral of the story is that sometimes your dog just needs an alternative, like a chew toy that they ARE allowed to chew on.
Speaking of training, obedience training helps the big picture and can lessen destruction. Your dog gets practice listening to you and is also more tired and satisfied after using their brain to train.
When you have a dog that likes to chew, providing alternatives is a good idea. Allow your dog to chew on strong dog chew toys like Kongs and show them that these types of toys are the only things that are okay to chew on. Put their meals or treats inside the chew toys so that they spend their time and energy on this and have less desire to chew other objects.
I also recommend that dogs sleep indoors during the cold season. This way, if they have to go without a bed, they are not left out in the cold.
Remember, what you allow will continue and the longer a habit is practiced, the harder it is to break. There’s no better time than now to put in some training time and break the cycle.