Dealing with Destructive Dog Behavior

Route 66  pic
Route 66
Image: route66petrescue.org

Maral Cavner is pursuing a career in animal rights and welfare and dogs and animal safety remain a passion of hers. As a founding board member of Route 66, a no-kill dog rescue in Nixa, Missouri, Maral Cavner strives to find dogs their forever home. One of the most challenging aspects of dog ownership is dealing with destructive behavior. Take these steps to help your dog deal with these behaviors and grow your relationship in the process.

Walks – Taking your dog on regular walks is one of the easiest ways to mitigate destructive behavior. Like children, dogs have massive amounts of energy. If this energy isn’t expunged in a healthy way, it can quickly become destructive.

Hunger – If your dog has an inconsistent diet, or isn’t getting enough food, behavior can turn destructive. When hungry, your dog may tear things apart in search of food. At-risk objects include anything that smells of food or any object your dog associates with food.

Lack of Attention and Socialization – Your dog may be tearing up your stuff to show they love you, oddly enough. If you’re busy or otherwise distracted and not giving your dog enough attention, destructive behavior might be their way of garnering your attention. Similarly, it’s important for dogs to socialize and play with other dogs, and when they don’t get out to play enough, your couch may become their plaything.

Teaching Your Dog the “Stay” Command

Stay Command pic
Stay Command
Image: wikihow.com

Maral Cavner is a passionate animal lover who has ridden horses for more than 10 years. Also especially fond of dogs, Maral Cavner is a founding board member of the Route 66 no kill animal rescue.

There are several basic commands dog owners should teach their companions. The “stay” command can be helpful in a number of situations. As is the case with most commands, individuals should begin teaching a dog to stay while it is leashed. After the dog has taken a seated position and assumed a calm energy, owners should give the verbal stay command and take one step forward. Owners also can develop a hand gesture to accompany the command. After a short period of time, owners should step backwards and reward the dog, assuming the animal has remained in its sitting position.

In the event that the dog does not stay, owners can calmly deliver their negative verbal command and have the dog sit once more. As the dog comes to understand the basics of the stay command, owners can practice taking more steps forward and giving the command in a variety of outdoor and indoor locations. An owner can also develop a release word that allows the dog to break its stay and return to the owner’s side.

An Overview of No-Kill Animal Shelters

Recent college graduate Maral Cavner is a passionate lover of animals, particularly dogs. Maral Cavner maintains a leadership position with the Route 66 animal rescue group and supports a number of no-kill animal shelters.

Animal shelters can be loosely classified as no-kill, low-kill, or kill, but definitions and policies vary widely. In general, a no-kill facility strives to avoid euthanizing healthy animals, regardless of age or length of stay in a shelter. However, despite the label “no-kill,” a shelter may have to put down a number of animals every year. All healthy animals are accepted and kept alive regardless of space, but unhealthy animals with untreatable conditions are still candidates for euthanasia.

To avoid overcrowding, no-kill shelters often rely on foster families to care for animals until the can be adopted. Another strategy for keeping a manageable population is transporting animals outside of the local area to shelters that do not have enough adoptable animals.

Some shelters may advertise themselves as saving all adoptable animals, but these facilities may not qualify as no-kill shelters. One shelter’s definition of what constitutes an adoptable animal may differ significantly from another. For example, a puppy under the age of eight weeks or an adult dog above the age of five or six, despite being completely healthy, could be termed unadoptable.

Similarly, an animal with a minor and treatable illness could be considered unadoptable and immediately put down. In general, no-kill shelters should maintain a save rate of 90 percent or higher. A number of leaders in the no-kill community have advocated for this number to be raised to at least 95 percent.