This week I responded to an email from a very frustrated gentleman who lives with a lovely young Golden Retriever. He had very good reason to pull out tufts of his own hair-reasons to the tune of perhaps hundreds of dollars in carpet repair...!
But I will let him explain.
"The behavior started a few months after we got her.
At first my wife and I attributed it to puppy energy as she would tear up papers off of the table and things like that, but she would also rip holes in her toys and pull the stuffing out.
Gradually she moved up towards shoes, and then she ripped up two of her beds- actually it was 3 beds.
The behavior mostly occurs when my wife and I aren't home. She's chewed shoes while we were home, and the carpet attack 2 nights ago was while we were in bed. Normally she's left alone for about 7 hours a day."
Hardwood floors are not so costly after all
I have good news and I have bad news.
The good news-you have a normal dog
The bad news-you have a normal dog
Take toys-dogs "play" with toys as they would behave with prey-that's the whole point! A dog tears up a toy because that is exactly what they do with prey. That cute stuffed hedgehog with the squeaky in the middle-prey dogs (RETRIEVERS-hello!!!) "kill" Mr. Hedgehog, then spend the rest of the time dissecting him, pulling out his "intestines".
The carpet? While not a toy, she has learned that working with her mouth is a GREAT stress reliever.
So, then, what to do?
First, your girl needs more exercise. A daily walk minimum-a daily jog, better.
Second, supervision. She cannot be left to her own devices. She is not being bad ~and if you think she "looks guilty" after ripping something apart, go STRAIGHT to my website and click on Page Two.
Third, she needs plenty of good things to chew. She needs stuffed Kongs (stuff with peanut butter, cream cheese, wet dog food-the sky's the limit!). She should get her daily food in a way that she has to work for it. Either in a training session where she works for her kibble or in a Buster Cube or some other dog puzzle. In other words-she needs a rich environment.
It is not a normal state for dogs to be left alone. Dogs are very social animals! They can and do learn to tolerate being alone, but we should provide them with options and opportunity to use their time in ways we approve of-remodeling the house is probably not on that list.