I have recently adopted a year old female Labrador. She was my neighbour’s. I tried obedience training but it doesn’t seem to work. She keeps biting things and scratching the walls, even when we are around. What could be the reason for this?
The first thing to do in such cases is to always get your dog evaluated by a veterinarian. Your vet will be able to identify any underlying medical issues or if there are nutritional deficiencies in him. If this is the case, he would recommend supplements and dietary changes that can address this.
If all underlying medical issues are ruled out, then we can look into the possible behavioral issues. In most cases, such behaviors are triggered purely by boredom. A dog that is not sufficiently exercised and has nothing to do all day, looks for alternate ways to entertain himself. Make sure your dog gets sufficient exercise. Invest in toys that will keep him mentally stimulated as well as satisfied.
In other dogs, this kind of repeated scratching and biting on walls is done for sake of attention. If you have been responding to his scratching activity with an undue amount of excitement, stress or anger then you are indirectly giving the dog the attention that he is seeking from you. Over a period of time, your dog continues to use this as a weapon to get your attention. It has become a mere play for him now.
Chewing at walls could also be because he can hear or smell cats, snakes, mice, or even termites — through the wall.This could trigger his predatory instincts. If it is due to the reasons above, it can be easily addressed if you plan out a schedule with a good deal of exercise and play. Do also make sure to spend quality time with your dog.
Sometimes chewing could be a result of distress and not boredom. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety tend to bite or chew through walls as a desperate sign of wanting to get out and find their owners. This happens when you are out of sight, even though you might be at home. Any loud noises or sounds could also trigger this insecurity. But chewing alone does not indicate separation anxiety. Look for all other signs if you suspect separation anxiety.
Professional behaviorists can help you identify the problem and help you address it.
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