3 min read


Why Dogs Destroy Plants



3 min read


Why Dogs Destroy Plants




Decided to test out that green thumb? It can be quite the tricky endeavor, and growing healthy plants outside of their natural habitat can make it all that much more complicated. If you've done everything right, with great attention to detail and meticulous effort, you should have something beautiful to behold. Spawned from your own hard work and dedication, and a bit of miracle grow… Or you would until Rufus got to it first. So, what makes dogs behave like this, and what can you do about the destructive behaviors that come along with tearing your plants to pieces? A lot as it turns out.

The Root of the Behavior

Why are dogs so destructive toward plants? Is it intentional and does it have a purpose? If your plants are important to you, but not important to your dog, then you just may hit an impasse. There are things you can do to prevent this destructive behavior, as well as many forms of generally destructive behavior.

Well, every dog is different and so to understand what is going on specifically with your little guy, we should look at a few general behaviors and trends. If this kind of behavior came out of nowhere, and they had not typically destroyed your plants in the past, then the problem may not be what you imagine. Countless small animals romp around in gardens. Rabbits, squirrels, and other vermin tend to make gardens their home, and your dogs may not have destroyed your plants out of any intention to do so, but simply making chase to some of the animals that have made themselves at home in your garden. 

Have you made changes to your garden that may have incentivized this behavior? Perhaps a vegetable or hanging fruit plant that caught their interest? Maybe they just enjoy eating your tomatoes!

Regardless of what caused this behavior, you probably want to know what you can do about it. Are there some effective methods to stop Rufus in his tracks?

Well, a lot of these behaviors can be easily adjusted through a bit of training and some best practices around the house. The key to correcting this behavior is to find out what is causing them to behave this way in the first place. Often, it can be stress causing them to destroy things out of a compulsive need to chew. The redundant and easy actions may be causing the damage you hate. However, it also relieves the stressful feelings your dog is struggling with.

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Encouraging the Behavior

This type of behavior is considered destructive, and frequently this behavior is due to compulsive digging. Compulsive digging is tied to denning habits, so often a way to correct this issue is to provide your dog with a comfortable place that they can consider home. A dog bed in a secluded part of the house is the most recommended approach, but many people even just use the dog's kennel for this purpose. Anything removed from the sights and sounds of the home with just a few things they like can really make an area feel like home.

Another cause of compulsively destructive behavior is anxiety. Dealing with anxiety can be tricky as dealing with the root cause is really what is needed. Often, if you yourself are stressed that can bleed off into the behavior of your dog, as they empathize very well. Bringing your stress and energy down around your dog will help to curb these things.

A behavioral specialist can help to identify what is causing the dog to dog or destroy the plants, and should be able to recommend steps to reduce destructive behaviors or stressful stimulants. If the behaviors are not due to outside stimulants, then a trainer should be able to easily correct these behaviors, and may be your best approach.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Vermin and rodents in your garden may be causing your dog to destroy your plants, as they are likely chasing them around. Finding ways to seclude your garden or prevent animals from living in the garden would stop your dog from destroying the plants, as they would no longer be chasing the animals around. In nature, this is exactly what they would be doing.

Products are available that can dissuade the dog from going into the garden using different scents and pheromones. These products seem to either work very well or not at all depending on your dog, some react to these in differing ways from ambivalent to disgusted.


Whether they are destroying plants inside or outside in the garden, the cause for them doing so should be easy to identify and fairly simple to correct. Trainers available run into this type of thing often, and therefore are pretty experienced in the matter and very capable on the matter of correction.

By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze

Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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