Why Does My German Shepherd Destroy Everything? Reasons And How To Stop This

Perhaps your German shepherd has started destroying your favorite shoes, books, or furniture and continues to do so without stopping! 

You may be wondering,

Why does my German shepherd destroy everything? A German Shepherd can destroy everything because of destructive behavior. Destructive behavior is a common behavioral problem in both German shepherd puppies and adult dogs.

It is a result of various reasons, the main ones being boredom, stress, anxiety, puppy teething, fear, or inadequate training. It is an instinctive natural behavior but if not controlled can lead to damage of a dog owner’s items within the home.

It is important to determine the exact cause of a German Shepherd’s destructive behavior to apply the appropriate action to stop the problem. 

In this article, we will look in detail at the reasons why your German Shepherd has destructive behavior and what to do about it to stop the problem.

Why does my german shepherd destroy everything

Destructive behavior is a common canine behavioral problem that includes chewing of items in the home.

Chewing is a natural instinct-driven behavior of both puppies and adult dogs but without regulation and control, it leads to the destruction of items in the home.

For sure dogs do not intentionally do this but are driven to this behavior.

The first step is to determine the specific cause of destructive behavior to implement the appropriate method to teach your dog against this behavior.

Below are the reasons why your German Shepherd displays this behavior.

Boredom

German Shepherds get bored easily especially when they’re not engaged physically or mentally.

To entertain themselves, they direct their attention to items in the home that they can chew on.

The German Shepherd is a high-energy dog that needs to expand its energy in activities and plenty of exercises and when not provided with adequate outlets of energy, they get bored and result in directing the energy on chewing which is fun.

This behavior is also seen when a German Shepherd is left alone and does not have anything to engage it.

Puppy Teething

If your German Shepherd is a puppy, expect chewing behavior.

It is normal dog behavior and this will be frequent especially for a puppy during teething which occurs between 3 to 4 months of age.

They do this to ease the discomfort and pain they feel when they are teething. They will find anything on site to chew on.

By understanding the stage of development of their dog you can put the appropriate measures to help your pup during this growth stage. 

Recommended Reading : Why does my German Shepherd puppy sleep so much?

Separation Anxiety

As a dog owner, your German Shepherd will be highly attached to you and they will want to be close to you all of the time.

However, realistically you cannot be with them all the time and whenever you leave your home your dog will certainly feel separation anxiety because you’ll be away from them.

They become anxious and stressed which is displayed by excessive barking, constant pacing, scratching on doors, and chewing on items so that they can cope.

It is important to always calm down and teach your dog how to be ok while you are away which will also prevent destructive behavior.

A German Shepherd can also become anxious when his or her environment changes like moving to a new home, change of items in the home, or when a new pet is introduced. 

Inadequate Training

Dogs will naturally and instinctively be compelled to chew on things and without control, this can result in the destruction of your home.

Your German Shepherd needs to be taught appropriate behavior, for example, what to touch and what not to touch.

This is primarily done through dog-training to discourage any inappropriate destructive behavior.

You can teach him or her items that are off-limits and show items that they can direct their attention to such as their toys. Train them on anti-chew commands which will assist in helping them understand this.

Remember to use positive reinforcement by giving praise or treats to assure them that they are doing well. This will encourage them and enforce good behavior.

If you also need help in teaching good behavior, you can also seek assistance from a dog trainer that can help you in the process. 

Attention-seeking

Sometimes destructive behavior is a call of attention from your dog.

Your German Shepherd may just want to spend more time with you and to communicate that they may turn to destruction things they know you will have to address by directing attention to them.

Identify if this is the reason for the behavior to rectify it.

Fear

German Shepherds can also be afraid of very loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms.

To hide or run away from this perceived danger, your German Shepherd may scratch on walls or doors in an attempt to escape and protect themselves.

Identify if this is the cause of destructive behavior to apply the appropriate method to calm them down.

Destructive Behaviour: What To Do

Destructive behavior by a German Shepherd can be controlled by taking the proper approach.

Get to determine the reason behind their behavior to take the appropriate step in stopping it. The following comprise of what to help stop the behavior :

Provide Adequate Exercise

Plenty of exercises can help in alleviating boredom in your German Shepherd and help him or her use their excess energy.

This will greatly reduce destructive behavior as a result of boredom.

Whenever you are going to be away from your German Shepherd either when you are at work or away from your home for some hours, ensure that you exercise them with a simple walk or if you can’t have someone else take them for a walk.

Also, play with them regularly so that they can use their energy. In cases where you simply cannot, you can take them to a dog daycare where they will be engaged with activities.

Provide Toys

Providing toys such as chew toys to German shepherd puppies or an adult dog will minimize the destruction of items in your home.

Puppies will be able to ease their teething discomfort with toys while the adult German Shepherd will be able to enjoy his chew sessions and jaw stretching moments with an item they are allowed to use.

You can also use these toys in the training sessions to show your dog what items are ok to chew on and what are off-limits.

This will help your German Shepherd distinguish what is not allowed and toys that they can chew on.

Dog Proof Your Home And Supervise Your Dog

Minimize access to items within your home that your dog can damage.

For example, prevent access to certain rooms or use indoor dog gates to restrict movement to areas not accessible.

This will prevent your dog from reaching things that they may chew on or destroy.

Also, whenever your dog is in the house, supervise them to see what they are up to.

Keeping watch will allow you to be aware of inappropriate behavior when it happens and be able to correct and teach them not to do it again.

Provide Training

You can also engage a professional animal behaviorist to assist you in the process of training your German Shepherd against destructive behavior.

Teaching your dog boundaries consisting of items in your home that they should not touch is important to regulate and control the behavior.

Containment By Use Of A Crate

One way of preventing destruction in your home is to contain your puppy or adult German Shepherd in a crate especially when you are away from them.

This will limit them from accessing items in the home that they would get a chance to damage.

Also, provide them their favorite toys in the crate so that they will be kept busy playing with the toy.

Use Chew Deterrent On Items

To prevent your German shepherd from chewing on items in your house, you can use a safe bitter solution sprayed on the items to discourage your dog from chewing and destroying them.

A simple mixture of apple cider vinegar and water sprayed on furniture legs or other items acts as a deterrent.

When your German Shepherd tastes this when he or she begins to chew on an item the bitter taste of the vinegar will deter them from continuing to chew.

This will prevent further destruction of the item. 

Conclusion: Why does my German Shepherd destroy everything?

Destructive behavior is a common behavior problem that includes excessive chewing. It is important to know the causes of this behavior to know the right action to take to tame the habit.

Remember to be patient with your dog because even the most trained German Shepherds can have slip-ups where they damage items.

Do not punish your German Shepherd because this will only increase their anxiety and stress which will negatively impact them. 

I hope this article helped you know the reasons why a German Shepherd may destroy everything in your home and also how to stop this destructive behavior.

By following The different methods as provided you should be able to curb this behavior and prevent the destruction of valuable items in your home.

Your German shepherd will also understand what they can and cannot touch.

If you liked this article you may also like to learn more from the below resources on German Shepherds.

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Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams

Patricia Williams is a writer, mum, and animal lover with extensive experience with dogs. She loves talking about animal advocacy and care. She lives with 4 German Shepherds and 1 cat.