German Shepherds are a very active breed that are known to be very destructive. There are a number of possible reasons for their destruction and there are a number of things that you can do about it.
So, why is your German Shepherd destroying everything? There are a number of possible reasons why it could be happening. The main ones are that it’s teething, boredom, separation anxiety, fear or it might be in its nature to be on the more destructive side. The best way to diagnose the cause of its destruction will be to consider the time that it happens, if you’re around or not and the German Shepherds age.
How to stop your German Shepherd from destroying everything? There are a number of possible options that you can try and the best will depend on the cause of its destruction. Some options that you can try are giving it lots of exercise, doing lots of “leave it” training, crate training, doggy daycare and getting help from a certified dog behaviorist.
Stopping a destructive German Shepherd can be a difficult task especially when you’re not around. But, for its safety and your own sanity, it’s important that you get it to stop.
Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Might Be Destructive
There are a number of possible reasons why your German Shepherd could be causing lots of destruction. It’s important to take the time to consider the cause since it will give you a lot more direction on how to make it stop.
Below are some possible reasons why your German Shepherd is being destructive.
If your German Shepherd is a puppy that has just started teething then it’s likely that this is the cause of its destruction. This stage can last for around 6 months so you’re going to need to be very understanding of your German Shepherd during this period.
To alleviate the destruction of things that you don’t want to be destroyed you should give it lots of things to chew and to follow the advice given in the next section below.
It might be tempting not to do anything since it should calm down once it stops teething but you shouldn’t do this. The best time to get your German Shepherd into good habits is while it’s still young. It’s easier to change the habits of a German Shepherd that’s a puppy than an adult German Shepherd. If you don’t take measures to stop its destructive behavior now then it might continue into adulthood.
German Shepherds are dogs that need a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated. If your German Shepherd isn’t getting lots of exercise then it’s likely that it’s going to become bored and to find its own way of entertaining itself which could include destroying things.
To alleviate this type of destruction it’s imperative that you ensure that your German Shepherd gets lots and lots of exercise.
The cause of the destruction could be caused by separation anxiety where your German Shepherd does not like being left alone. This can cause it to become anxious when it’s alone and to cause it to start to destroy things as a way of coping.
To reduce this type of destruction you can try to get it used to being without you for longer time periods by starting by only leaving for a small amount of time. You can do this by simply leaving the room for a few seconds and then to reward it for being well behaved and then to gradually increase the time that you are away.
There can be a lot of other issues with this type of destruction so a good idea would be to get the help of a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist in your area.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd so anxious?
It could be that something happened in the past that has caused your German Shepherd to become fearful of something which could result in it becoming destructive.
You can try the advice given in the section given below to correct this type of destruction but you’ll often find that help from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist in your area will go a long way.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
It could just be that your particular German Shepherd is more destructive than others. To get this to stop you’re going to need to be patient and to be consistent with your training. If it’s not working then you could consider solving the issue when you’re not around by using doggy daycare or crate training.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
How To Stop Your German Shepherd’s Destruction
When training your German Shepherd it’s important to be active in stopping the destructive behavior and keep them in your presence when you’re around. There are a number of different things that you can do and the most effective ones will depend on the cause of your German Shepherd’s destruction.
Train it to not be destructive
Training your German Shepherd to stop being destructive can be a difficult thing to do but with a lot of patience and persistence you can make a lot of progress.
The training to stop your German Shepherd being destructive will be quite spontaneous since you’ll usually be doing it when it starts to destroy things. To train it you’ll need to keep treats that it likes handy.
Then, when it starts to chew things, get its attention and then when it gives you its attention get it to sit or lay down then reward them with a treat. This teaches it to pay attention to you when it’s feeling impulsive rather than destroying things.
When it does start destroying things in your presence avoid physically pulling the German Shepherd away unless you have to. The goal is to get them to voluntarily stop chewing things that you don’t want them to and to learn to direct their attention towards you instead.
The other type of training that you should do is lots and lots of “leave it” training sessions where you place things that it might want to chew in front of it and tell it to leave it then give it a treat. This teaches them what is ok to chew on and what is not.
You can watch the video below to see how to reduce your German Shepherd’s destruction
Reduce its ability to destroy things
One way to reduce how much your German Shepherd destroys things is to reduce the ability it has to do so. There are a number of ways that you can do so that I will mention below.
The first option is to leave your German Shepherd where it won’t be able to destroy everything. If your living room has lots of things that it can destroy then you should take measures to make sure that it doesn’t have the ability to get in there when you’re not around. Instead, you should try to leave it in an area where there is less for it to destroy.
One way to reduce its access to things that it can destroy is to make use of pet gates that block its path into different rooms. You can also make sure that you have high fences that are hard to break through since it might decide to start chewing on the fence.
Alternatively, you can move the objects that you don’t want to be destroyed instead. Easy objects to move would include remotes, wires, shoes, poisonous fluids like dish soap and pillows.
Do crate training
One way to make sure that your German Shepherd can’t destroy anything while you’re away would be to get it used to staying in a crate.
It’s important to get it used to going into the crate because it wants to and not because you’re forcing your German Shepherd to otherwise it won’t go well.
You can watch how to do crate training below
Use doggy daycare
Another option to make sure your German Shepherd can’t destroy anything would be to use doggy daycare. This option is good if your German Shepherd is older and doesn’t want to use the crate and it helps them to socialize with other dogs more.
Give lots of exercise
German Shepherds are very active dogs that are designed to be able to run for hours. With this being the case one of the most important things for you to do is to make sure that your German Shepherd is getting lots of exercise daily.
You might find that your German Shepherd can handle more exercise than you normally give it so you might want to find ways to make the exercise even more tiring.
When you’re walking it you can make it harder by walking faster further, in hilly areas or you could make it wear a dog weight vest that weighs less than 10% of its body weight.
You could also teach it to play fetch. By doing so you will be able to wear it out quickly because it will have it doing a lot of sprinting without much rest in between.
You could also teach it to swim. When dogs swim they have to move their legs around a lot which can cause them to use up a lot of energy. It’s also good for the summer months since it can help to keep them cool.
If you don’t have the time to walk it yourself then you could consider getting a dog walker to do it for you. There are apps that you can download now that let you hire a local dog walker through the app.
Give it lots of toys
One way to get your German Shepherd to stop chewing on things that you don’t want it to is to have lots of toys around for it to chew instead.
Get help from a behaviorist
If all of your attempts to get your German Shepherd to stop destroying things has not been working then try getting help from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist in your area. They will have dealt with similar issues before and they will be able to assist you with getting your German Shepherd to be less destructive.
If you would like some more tips on how to train your German Shepherd take a look at the German Shepherd training book on Amazon.
Things to consider
When you’re training your German Shepherd to stop destroying things there are some things that you should keep in mind.
Try to avoid the spray products
The problem with using spray products is that they don’t teach it what not to chew. Instead, they simply make it choose not to chew the particular thing that you sprayed. What you want is to teach it the things that it can and can’t chew instead.
Avoid physically punishing
If you physically punish your dog when it destroys things you’ll be risking making it lose trust in you and it will become fearful. This can lead to other problems such as anxiety and often won’t stop it from being destructive.
It’s important to remember that at a younger age your dog will naturally be more mischievous. Despite that, it’s important to take the time to train it to be well behaved now instead of waiting for it to get older.
When you’re training your German Shepherd to be well behaved it’s important to take a long-term approach to it. Getting your German Shepherd to change its habits isn’t something that you’ll be able to change in one training session but over the long term, you can.
It’s important to train your German Shepherd to be well behaved regularly. If you just train it to be well behaved once then it will likely forget its training.
Why is my German Shepherd suddenly destroying things? If your German Shepherd is suddenly destroying things when it was previously calm then there could be emotional issues causing the behavior. It could also be that it is ill or injured and that it is causing it to be destructive. To get it to stop you should consider getting help from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist in your area.
Most Recommended For German Shepherds
Best German Shepherd Training Program
Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.