A dog chewing on a shoe

Chewing and playful biting are fun and cute when your pet is a puppy, but what happens when she grows up to be a destructive dog? These behaviors can demolish property and impact your ability to trust your pet at home. 

Know that your dog is not doing this to you out of spite or to get revenge for leaving them all day or not sharing your pizza crust. This behavior comes from a place of anxiety or unbridled energy levels.

Humans do things like bite their nails or chew on pens to alleviate anxiety; it’s similar with dogs. Part of addressing this behavior is understanding why it happens in the first place and then taking steps to get to the root cause of the anxiety that causes the destruction.

Teething Puppies

If you have a young puppy and they are chewing excessively, they might be teething. Also look for excessive drool or even blood left on toys or other items. They find some relief from teething pain from chewing. 

You can’t make those little teeth come in any faster, but you can help by giving them something you actually want them to chew on. There are several options for puppy teething toys, including the kind you freeze for extra relief. 

This behavior should stop once the teeth come in. If the behavior continues, it’s time to start exploring other reasons for the destructive behavior.

Separation Anxiety

Your loyal companion might be so attached that they don’t know how to unattach when you leave. It’s nobody’s fault—humans have to leave to work and play. We have to pay the bills, buy food, and nice treats for our pets!

There are hints of separation anxiety in other behaviors: constantly following owners from one room to another, extreme reactions when arriving, and frantic behavior before an owner leaves. 

Just like humans, dogs thrive under routines. One of our veterinarians or an animal behaviorist consultant will help you work through these issues with your pet using counter-conditioning techniques.


Dogs may be triggered to respond dramatically out of fear. Loud sounds like fireworks or thunderstorms can be very upsetting. They might not know how else to react other than with destruction. 

See if you can find any coincidence in timing between the destructive behavior and the loud events. 

Boredom and Attention Seeking

Dogs have a lot of energy and owners should take some accountability in how they help their pet manage their energy. If they do not have attention and an energy outlet, you will see your pet finding one in your new couch or shoes. 

Try walking your dog or taking them to a park before or after work. This playtime together can help alleviate that tension that brings the destruction. There are several options for pets to keep them entertained when you’re not around—there is even a whole market for boredom toys for dogs.

We would love to talk to you about how to manage your dog’s destructive behavior and bring peace and wellness into your home. Please call us at (207) 729-4678. Our team at Androscroggin Animal Hospital is here to help you!