How to Keep a Dog From Ripping Furniture

by Stephanie Dube Dwilson
    An unattended dog can quickly get into trouble.

    An unattended dog can quickly get into trouble.

    Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    Your dog may rip up furniture because he is bored, lonely, has too much energy or is anxious. Regardless of the reason, ripping up furniture is an expensive habit that requires effort to stop. Disciplining him after the fact for tearing up the furniture will not work -- he won't understand why he's in trouble, and you will only make him more anxious. The key is to redirect his energy and give him something else to do.

    Step 1

    Confine your dog when you aren't around. A crate is the best choice, as your dog won't be able to get into any trouble. If you don't crate your dog, a laundry room or bathroom will work, but your dog may dig or scratch at the baseboards or door. As your dog becomes more trustworthy, you can start leaving him unconfined for short periods of time.

    Step 2

    Exercise your dog daily. A dog who gets plenty of exercise acts better than a dog with excess energy. Don't make the mistake of thinking a large backyard is a substitute for daily walks or games of fetch. If you're already exercising your dog daily, increase the intensity.

    Step 3

    Provide mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys. You stuff the toy with food or treats and the dog has to work to free them. Keep the puzzle toys put away and only bring them out when you are leaving the house, to give your dog a positive association with being left alone.

    Step 4

    Use a taste deterrent. Before you begin to leave your dog unattended for periods of time, spray any furniture he has access to with a taste deterrent. This won't keep him off the couch or chair, but it will keep him from chewing on it.

    Step 5

    Continue to extend the period of time your dog is left loose in the house while you are away. You may also want to block some doorways with baby gates while he learns to leave the furniture alone. For example, you can block the doorway to the living room, so he has free access to the kitchen, bathroom and dining room, but cannot get to the couch.

    Items You Will Need

    • Crate
    • Baby gate
    • Puzzle toys
    • Taste deterrent spray

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    About the Author

    With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.

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