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Thread: Destructive behaviour

  1. #1

    Angry Destructive behaviour

    Ever had issues with destructive behaviour? I am currently in a sticky and situation, I have a 7 month old pedegree Amstaff who is generally well behaved but over the last 3 months he has begun to show traits of destructive behaviour that continue to get worse.
    Self admittedly, when I first identified the problems (Obsessive Digging, tail and foot biting, and chewing any spare object around when unsupervised) I didn't act on these traits immediately as I thought the dog was going through a phase, and with further maturity he would grow out of it. Or with time, if the behaviour continued, I would be able to intervene before it got out of control.
    Now, 4 months down the track i have come home tonight to find the backyard is almost ENTIRELY dug up, the animal has taken his blankets out of the crate and chewed them, his water bowl has been throw around the yard and I'm at a loss as to what to do. He has NEVER done this before, and after doing some research I understand the destructive traits are primary, and secondary destructive. The dog, male and not yet desexed has been given a very full life with lots of privelages. And not surprisingly he has become demanding, cheeky and defiant.

    My repremanding is not effective, as the dog will repeat the same bejaviour in my presence within minutes of being told not too.

    When he was younger, I would use positive substitute behaviours to replace the negative ones, as he has gotten bigger and more defiant, teaching a substitute behaviour is harder.

    I want to get this under controll before he behaviour is imprinted.

    My dog is highly intelligent, and needs LOTS of stimulation, i was even considering getting some run tunnels, maybe a jump ramp, tires, and other things to keep his attention whilst I'm at work during the day.
    i already have a crate, general chew toys but they toys I have aren't enough to keep him stimulated.

    Please help!!! any sugggestions!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    Welcome to the forum!
    Sounds like he's bored, my best suggestion would be to get him a Kong (or a couple of them) They are fantastic for keeping dogs entertained! Stuff them with his favourite treats, but make sure that its not too easy for him to get out. I fill our Kong's with boiled eggs... the dogs loooovve them! You could also give him bones, or frozen treats that will last him a long time.
    I remember when my dog went through the destructive stage... he wasent digging, he just wrecked whatever he got his paws on... soon after he turned 1 he grew out of it though
    anyway, hope my suggestions help in some way!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    SE QLD


    At 7 months he is coming into a lovely age... lol the teenage time. I second that he sounds bored, how often do you exercise him?

    My AmStaffy use to be destructive too when we had a small yard, walks were just not enough to keep him entertained and the behaviour only stopped once we moved to acreage and after he had matured a little.

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Three months of naughty? - the behaviour is imprinted already. So at around 4 months he would have been teething - so would have needed lots of sturdy stuff to chew. I got my dog rawhide bones, and largish green gum tree branches and she got a few old shoes as well.

    Dogs do know the difference between their toy and your shoe. The same way as kids know there are different rules between parents and grand parents.

    So what do you want your dog to be doing instead? And how much exercise is he getting? Are you doing "nothing in Life is free" with him?

    NILIF, Nothing in Life is Free! | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    And maybe you want to get some help with this?

    These are the trainers I've seen recommended for people in Queensland.
    Jane Harper
    Dogs On Track - Home Page

    Craig Murray
    Dog School: Dog Training Brisbane Dog Training Gold Coast Dog Training Ipswich

    If neither of them can help - ask them to recommend someone else for you.
    How to Choose a Dog Trainer | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    You think he was bad before - he's just starting the doggy equivalent of rebellious teenager and he's an Amstaff.
    Puppy Development Schedule | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    You may also want to contact his breeder for help with managing him and what to give him to reduce the destruction.

    I'd put all his food into toys like kongs - you can put kibble into kong and then put the kong into a cup of water - so the kibble swells up and won't come out so easily... Or you can freeze soft food into the kong etc.

  5. #5


    One thing I have always told my young dog owners - a tired dog is a happy dog. Before you leave him alone he has to have had enough exercise to tire him out. A short walk is insufficient. He is still a bit young to do longer walks but swimming is low impact work and exercises every muscle in his body. A 10minute swim is equivelant to a one hour walk.

    If he is tuckered out he will sleep for several hours. He will need some boredom buster toys when he wakes up. Frozen blocks of water with raw meat, chicken wings, marrow bones etc in the block work well. Kongs filled with kibble and peanut butter are good - will need to be a large black kong because he will kill anything else.

    A tennis ball tied to a length of bungy cord and attached to a tree or fence is a good one if he is ball obsessed.

    30cm lengths of blue line mains water pipe left lying around are also good boredom breakers and are cheap to replace.
    Nev Allen
    Border River Pet Resort

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Rural Western Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by newstaffowner.84.curious View Post
    The dog, male and not yet desexed has been given a very full life with lots of privelages. And not surprisingly he has become demanding, cheeky and defiant.

    Not sure what you mean by this. My puppies get a full life with privelages, but along side this they also get plenty of obedience training which I make fun for them. I find teaching with shaping is great for switched on puppies. Puppy agility training is also great. Lots of mental stimulation and teaching him to work for you should help. Lots of good tips in the above posts which I wont repeat. Puppies are always going to be hard work especially some breeds, but good foundation training is essential.

    Some amount of destruction is in a puppies job description LOL.

  7. #7


    Thanks Maddogdodge,
    He already has a kong, tug toys, and other bits and peices in the yard to keep him enteretained. He gets bored of the toys though if I'm I'm not around and starts looking for other things to do.
    I'll give the boiled egg a go that sound like a great idea

  8. #8


    Thanks Hyacinth,
    I'm giong to see the breeder today, we have been in touch since purchase. Around the teething time I made sure he had exactly what you mentioned, raw hide chews, bones, kongs etc. he still loves the rawhide chews, and I give him a bone every couple of days, I dont want to give him too many, being a staffy, he crunches the bones and has them mostly eaten witin a couple hours.
    It's deffinately boredom as he is not "out of hand" destructive, just showing the behaviours more than I would like. I'm not excirsizing him enough at the moment, I have twelve hour round trip to get too and from work, but will backtracking and making sure I have time for him every day.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009



    I do love an update. Glad you're going to make time to exercise your destructo puppy. For my dog, the longest lasting chew we have at the moment - is a cows hoof. The really big rawhide bones - she is able to knock off in about 20 minutes (yes I timed her) and then her poo is weird and uncomfortable looking.

    Along with the exercise - try to incorporate lots of trick training - because that will tire his mind too. Otherwise - you end up with a much fitter destructo dog. Swimming is also good if you have access to water. It wears them out faster.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    Sounds like you've laid down the ground work. It got a little rocky during teething, and now you have a deaf teenager on your hands.
    Give him away for the next 3 months is my advice, then take him back lol

    Back to basics.
    Double the exercise, get dog swimming, get a flirt pole, just coz dog needs some medicinal zoomy time, doesnt mean you have to exercise remember, take is steady eh. Teach your dog to fetch. Then grab a $5 thrower, and knacker the dog fast after a good warm up.
    Teach tricks
    half a marrow bone alternate days, hidden from dog in garden
    teach find my keys on your lawn, handy dog skill i've used a few times now on walks.
    Borrow a dog friendly dog, and have a dog keep your co.
    Hire a dog walker/advertise for a dog walker: if you immediately think, im not sure someone could walk him? then maybe some of the basics could do with a refresher. If you like shaping, start getting real picky, before you reinforce. Extend the time, mix it up a little, teach on other side, teach backwards, teach rear end awareness exercise! there's a bloomin challenge! lol
    Stop teaching basic grade maths to a menser member is my gist.
    Last edited by bernie; 07-10-2013 at 04:43 PM.

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