When dogs tear up their beds, dog owners feel very frustrated. Dog beds are quite expensive and seeing them mercilessly ripped up into pieces is certainly not pleasant at all, especially for the wallet. Some dogs seem to really enjoy tearing up their beds, what gives? Is there a way to inform these dogs that beds are for sleeping?
Dogs tear up their beds for the simple fact that they are fun to tear up. Just like children enjoy pillow fighting, dogs enjoy tearing up beds. If your dog is prone to destroying his bed, you may want to skip purchasing that expensive designer bed for now, as it would be shred into pieces with no mercy. Understanding this behavior requires taking a step back into the dogs evolutionary history and addressing the root of the behavior.
Ever wondered why dogs are prone to destroying stuffed toys, pillows, comforters, couches and beds? Most likely, its simply because they are fun things to destroy. When dogs destroy these things, it feels highly rewarding to them especially if these items are stuffed. But what ultimately makes these activities so rewarding?
This behavior to a great extent stems back to a dogs past as hunters. Despite being fed in shiny bowls, dogs retain instincts that are reminiscent of their past.
When dogs are shaking stuffed toys, breaking pillows apart and shredding their beds into pieces, they are carrying out instinctive behaviors related to hunting down prey animals.
Ripping these objects apart and “degutting them” depriving them of all their “entrails” (yup, all that stuffing that is so fun for dog owners to pick up!) provides dogs with an exhilarating sensation that must feel similar to a deer hunter who has hunted down a prized buck.
For some dogs, ripping up a bed feels far more rewarding than playing with the average dog toy. Given the choice, these dogs would pick a dog bed anytime over their toys.
This can feel frustrating to dog owners who provide their dogs with ample of dog toys in hopes of helping their dogs make good choices.
Why do dogs destroy beds, pillows, comforters and toys? Most likely, because its a lot of fun to pull out the “innards” out of toys, beds, etc.
How to Keep Dogs From Destroying Beds
Now that we understand why dogs destroy beds, let’s brainstorm how to prevent it from happening. Here are a few solutions for how to keep your dog’s bed (and your pillows) safe from harm.
Once a dog destroys a bed, breaking the habit is easier said than done. But there are many methods to figure out how to keep dogs from destroying beds. You can use rewards to encourage good behavior and distraction to redirect their attention.
When you catch your dog chewing her bed, say “no,” then offer her a chew toy instead. Praise her and give her a treat when she chews on the toy and stops chewing on the bed. You can also reward her with praise and a treat when the bed is not chewed after being left alone — start in small increments at first. Praise your dog when she calmly lies in bed as well.
This Is The Real Reason Your Dog Destroyed His Bed
Picture the scene. You come home from work, open the door and find carnage. Your pooch has completely obliterated his bed, which is now nothing more than a pile of fluff and a few scraps of material. To top it off, he’s pooed half-way up the stairs and chewed the remote to pieces too.
What’s your reaction? Do you get angry and blame your dog? Perhaps you even blame the bed! If so, you’re barking completely up the wrong tree. It may be easy to think your dog is acting up to spite you for leaving him home alone, but in actual fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s important to realise that your dog isn’t trying to make you angry. As dog parents, our job is to give our pets the attention, affection and love they need – and the reason he’s displaying this destructive behaviour is due to the stress he’s suffering because one of these needs isn’t being fully met.
Accepting that you’re not meeting all of your dog’s needs properly can be a hard pill for any owner to swallow. You probably feel you’re doing everything you can to keep him happy, but still, he behaves in this way. But it’s time to be honest with yourself and look at this from the dog’s perspective. Could it be at all possible that any of the following applies to your dogs situation?
Some breeds need more exercise than others, and that’s especially true if they’re young and boisterous.
As a general rule of thumb, the absolute minimum amount of exercise a dog needs per day is 30 minutes, twice per day. If this exercise is off-lead, that’s even better. But some breeds need even more than this. Border collies, boxers, German shepherds and retrievers are just a few of the dog breeds which need upwards of 2 hours of exercise in total per day!
Are you really fulfilling this need each and every day, 365 days a year? If not, it shouldn’t come as a shock to you when your dog gets his exercise by ripping the house apart instead.
Why Does My Dog Destroy His Bed?
When left alone, dogs (like kids) will make their own fun — especially if they have unspent energy. Perhaps your dog is bored while you’re at work, doesn’t have enough toys, or isn’t going on enough walks.
Some individual personalities and breeds as a whole are more rambunctious than others. For example, Labradors were originally bred as “retrieving dogs” and have evolved with the need for something in their mouth. This often translates to chewing.
Stress can be triggered by a number of things: a thunderstorm, the vacuum, new people or pets in the house, new sounds and smells, being left alone too long, the list goes on. According to a recent study, 72.5% of dogs experience some form of anxiety. Of that, 32% was found to be noise-related. Stress leads to repetitive, destructive behavior in dogs. It’s similar to how humans bite their nails when stressed: damage isn’t the intent, but it is the result. Dogs are attempting to self-soothe when they destroy their beds, while alerting us that something is wrong.
Separation anxiety can kick in for puppies used to being with their mother and litter, or dogs that are used to being around their owner all the time. Getting used to a new environment if you recently moved, or for a newly-adopted dog, can cause stress, just as it would for a human.
A previous source of trauma can lead to attempts to self-soothe later in life via compulsive behavior. Trauma can mean being weaned too early from their mother, or previous abuse or neglect. Repetitive behavior like chewing could be a coping mechanism. There’s nothing we can do to change the past for our loving dogs, but we can ensure a safe and loving environment for them for the present and future.
If you give your dog attention after ripping up his bed, flailing your arms and yelling, he might think it is all a game. Even if you are giving negative attention, a dog in a spunky mood (or a dog that feels neglected) will interpret it as play. Do not get into a tug-of-war over the bed — that signals that the bed is a toy!
A hungry dog is not a happy dog. She may rip up her bedding because she is upset about a delayed or missed meal. Plus, chewing the bed mimics the motion of tearing up meat after hunting, a behavior that is instinctual in domestic dogs.
Again, this ties to boredom. The best toys offer physical and mental stimulation, so they will not be tempted to chew their beds. This includes squeaky toys or hide-away treat toys. If your dog is not engaging with the toys you have, it may be time to get some new ones.
This is more of an answer to “why do puppies destroy their beds” than anything else. While the reasons above may apply to dogs of any age, teething is unique to puppies. Your puppy is growing new teeth, getting used to them, testing its strength. This is a normal and passing phase, so all you can really do is sit back and wait for it to pass.
What do you do if your dog rips up his bed?
- Get Some Chew Toys or Treats: Your first order of business should be to invest in some high-quality chew toys and edible chews (like dental chew sticks or bully sticks). …
- Distract Her With an Activity: This is key in minimizing destructive behavior.
Why did my dog rip up his bed?
Stress leads to repetitive, destructive behavior in dogs. It’s similar to how humans bite their nails when stressed: damage isn’t the intent, but it is the result. Dogs are attempting to self-soothe when they destroy their beds, while alerting us that something is wrong.