Pets are absolutely adorable, but sometimes they act like they have no gods or masters above. They are the kings and queens of the house which are spoiled with love and attention daily, and they usually have complete freedom to do whatever they want, including scratching, digging, tearing, chewing, and marking their territory on your most prized possessions.
Wonder Homie created a challenge, requesting that people submit photos of their pets destroying something, and here it is at Gidypet! They’ve sentboth hilarious and heartbreaking photos of their misbehaving pets, and we’ve compiled the list of the best (or worst?) destructive pets down here. No matter how enraged owners are at first, nothing can replace their dear pet, so they must accept that this is what pets do, forgive them, and train them so it doesn’t happen again.
Make sure to give the photos you like the most a thumbs up, and let us know what your furry friends have done to your home in the comments!
To answer the question why our pets could be such destructive little monsters, Certified animal behaviorist Yody Blass, the owner and director of Companion Animal Behavior in Northern Virginia is here to help us understand animal's behavior and reach the goal of a well-behaved pet and a safe, undamaged house.
She is the owner and director of Companion Animal Behavior in Northern Virginia, who is a pioneer in the field since 1990, claimed that there are three main reasons why pets are destructive: "Young pets who are either teething or are in need of training regarding appropriate chew items; pets who are bored; pets with anxiety issues, including separation anxiety, panic disorder, and OCD."
Wendy Kruger, dog behavior and training specialist and Samantha Prior, cat advisor at Wood Green, The Animals Charity in Godmanchester, are also here to unsolve the problem. They went into greater detail about the causes of pets' behavior, emphasizing that being "destructive" is completely natural.
"There are many different reasons why animals are destructive, rooted in their basic needs and their emotional state. Often, it’s a totally natural behavior and is only considered ‘destructive’ because of what’s being ruined—for example, a puppy chewing a chair leg is just teething and doesn’t understand what they should or shouldn’t use their teeth on! Similarly, a cat scratching the sofa may simply be maintaining their claws or leaving an important territorial marker to give them reassurance, a scent that our noses cannot detect."
"It’s also very common for pets to be destructive when they’re bored. An under-exercised young dog can find immense entertainment shredding a sofa cushion, and a kitten who isn’t given appropriate toys for practicing its hunting skills may explore and damage the curtains. Cats who are kept as indoor-only pets will often show these behaviors more due to frustration.
The most challenging cause of destructiveness is when dogs are distressed due to being left at home alone. Luckily, separation anxiety isn’t as common as pet owners think. Emotions that drive dogs to chew things when left alone range from boredom, frustration, and a lack of guidance from the owner about what’s appropriate to chew and what’s not, to separation anxiety and even external triggers that stimulate the behavior like passers-by or the postman."
People frequently rush to judgment about what might be causing inappropriate behaviour due to a lack of insight about animal behavior. There are a few stereotypes that most people have, and you are probably aware of them. Have you ever considered that your pet may resent you at times and is committing these 'crimes' on purpose? It's not true, according to Yody Blass.
"Many people jump to conclusions that their pets are just being 'bad' or misbehaving because they are 'mad' at us. An example of this is the dog that has destroyed the couch when left alone. When the family gets home, they assume the pet is mad at them for leaving him alone, without realizing that the pet was anxious and possibly panicked at being alone and did not necessarily enjoy destroying the couch," Blass said.
When it comes to items that pets prefer to destroy, it may appear that they have distinct behavioral patterns, but Yody Blass informs us that pets are not picky and will destroy anything that is available. "For the most part, pets will go after what is available to them. That is why it is so important to kitten or puppy-proof the home before bringing home a young animal, or pet-proof when bringing home any new pet. Put away breakables, cover valuable furniture, and provide a dog crate, close off rooms, or use a baby gate to prevent access to areas until you know the pet is able to handle being in the area without issues."
When you catch your cat, dog, or other pet destroying your belongings, keep your cool, interrupt the behavior, and provide a fun alternative, avoiding giving them punishments.
"I caution people often not to get angry or punish the pet after the fact. Pets need to be taught in the moment as much as possible for training to be effective, not hours later when they can't understand the connections between what happened and why you are now upset. The key is to interrupt the behavior whenever possible, and then immediately redirect the pet onto an appropriate item",.
The next step in resolving the undesirable behavior is to devote time and effort to educating yourself and training your pet from a young age.
"It is very important to train your pet and manage the environment they are in from the very beginning whenever possible. Avoid giving a puppy or kitten too much freedom until they can handle it. Some pets are more destructive and more persistent than others. These pets may need a trainer or behavior expert early on to get ahead of the problem. Also, any pet with separation anxiety or other fear/anxiety issues should get the help of a pet behaviorist".
There is a bunch of information about pet behavior on the internet, as well as helpful tips on how to correct it, but the most important thing is to adjust your own pet to the best treatments.
"All owners should research their pet’s basic needs, taking into consideration the age of the pet, and make some changes to ensure these needs are being more than met," Wendy Kruger and Samantha Prior at Wood Green point out.
"If you believe you are meeting your pet’s needs and the destructive behavior is still happening, it’s time to reach out and ask for help."
There's no shame in asking for help and utilizing all of the resources available to improve your own and your animal's well-being these days. Wood Green, The Animals Charity, for example, can offer free advice to anyone who needs it.
"Historically, destructiveness was something that prospective owners were understandably concerned about, and people would tend to try and keep the pet in an area they think prevents destruction of furniture and personal items," Kruger and Prior stated. "For dogs, this used to be the kitchen; however, it’s actually one of the more expensive rooms to replace and repair the damage. Whilst it’s a good idea to minimize your pet’s access to things they may chew where reasonably possible, like picking up shoes and socks off the floor, it’s also important to provide things they can chew and play with to prevent mishaps."
But the best way to prevent your pet from harming your stuff is to give them an alternative choice to tease with, as Yody Blass shared her experience:
"We want the pet to learn over time what is acceptable to chew on and what is not. It is important to provide chew items the pet will enjoy, as well as items that are safe, as some pets will ingest items that are not good for them. Some pets will do better with a faux fur toy that does not have any stuffing. Other pets will enjoy ripping out the stuffing, and as long as you supervise and make sure they don't ingest any of the toy (or the squeaker) they can have the empty shell to play with (hint: buy inexpensive items for this purpose)."
Wendy Kruger and Samantha Prior also pointed out some useful tips:
"For dogs, pay plenty of attention to mental stimulation, exercise, and company. When it comes to preventing destructive behavior, chewing is probably the most important and under-utilized natural activity. Everybody seems to accept that puppies need chews, but dogs of all ages need an outlet for chewing! Who can blame them for chewing a shoe if this essential basic need is not being provided for? If your dog does get hold of something they shouldn’t have, don’t punish them or snatch it away. Instead, direct their attention and energy to something more appropriate—like a long-lasting chew or their favorite toy.
When it comes to cats, a safe and secure territory is essential. Make sure they have plenty of sturdy and appropriately-positioned scratching posts or mats. For example, if the sofa is getting scratched, place a large scratching post next to it to help them transition across."