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Why does my dog only destroy my stuff?

Dogs have a long history of being man’s best friend, but they also have a long history of destroying our stuff!

We’re talking about shoes, clothes, remote controls, phones, expensive electronics, etc. Has this happened to you!?

What’s even worse is when a dog singles out one person in the family to torment. It seems kind of cruel, doesn’t it?

In this post, I’ll explain why I think this occurs. I’ll give 16 reasons for it too.

If you agree or disagree, I want to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Why does my dog only destroy my stuff?

  1. He loves you more
  2. Separation anxiety
  3. You’re a bad leader
  4. You smell better
  5. He’s Jealous
  6. He’s teething
  7. You neglect him
  8. He’s bored
  9. He wants your attention
  10. You spoil him
  11. Pent up energy
  12. Anxiety Disorder
  13. He’s marking his territory
  14. He hates you
  15. Medical Issue
  16. You feed him

It’s not your fault when the dog destroys things. If you’re feeling a little agitated, I can relate.

There are a lot of reasons as to why your dog destroys your stuff and no one else. This list should be taken lightly, though some of them are serious points. It was created as a tool to help you diagnose the reason your dog is singling you out.

16 Reasons Your Dog Only Destroys Your Stuff:

Reason #1 He loves you more

The first reason your dog might be picking on you is that he loves you. You are his favorite.

There’s no way your dog can show it in words, but he does so by accidentally destroying stuff. Dogs who do this miss their owners, and being around their stuff makes them happy.

They know your scent, and if they can’t show love to you in person, they want to show love by destroying your stuff! It doesn’t make sense, I know.

He thinks you’re the best person in his life and wants to show you. It can be quite a surprise. It’s aggravating, I know!

You should feel special if you think he loves you more. 😉

Reason #2 Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a mental condition that affects many dogs. It’s more common in some breeds than in others, like Beagles.

When you leave the house, your dog might feel abandoned and anxious. Emotion is “energy in motion.” All of that anxiety has to go somewhere, and, unfortunately, it often gets taken out on our belongings.

Dogs that have separation anxiety can experience extreme mental anguish when their owners are gone. Especially towards the person that they have a stronger bond.

Suppose you are leaving home for an extended period. In that case, it is recommended that a friend or family member stay with your dog. This can help provide some relief to their anxiety and give them company in those difficult times.

If your pooch is skipping over other family members’ belongings and going straight for your stuff, it might help him to spend more time with others.

Open up his world. Let him go a little bit. Are you and your dog clingy? Co-dependence can be an issue with some breeds, but it takes a human too.

Reason #3 You’re a bad leader

If you’re not a strong leader, your dog will see this, and it can make them want to take over.

Your pooch needs leadership. They were designed to live in packs and to follow an alpha leader.

If you don’t have these qualities yet, don’t worry! They can be developed with practice, though it will take disciplined effort.

Dogs need to be dominated, or they may dominate. If he sees you as weak, he might not have any problem chewing up your stuff. He might ignore other people’s stuff because they don’t tolerate the behavior.

If others in your house put up a fuss and discipline the dog when he goes after their stuff, your dog may have learned to avoid their belongings and go after you.

If your a softie, don’t worry! Dominating has nothing to do with aggression. It’s not a negative quality, though some people take it to extremes.

Cesar Millan is great at teaching you how to be a good pack leader for your dog. He applies a lot of dog psychology.

His book, “Be the Pack Leader,” may help you with this.

Work on your leadership skills with your dog. It’s ok if you are a weak leader right now. Most people aren’t born with natural leadership abilities. They work hard and apply themselves. Leadership qualities develop over time!

Reason #4 He loves your smell

Your dog may genuinely love your smell more than the other people in your home. Each person has a unique smell. It’s sort of like DNA or a fingerprint. It separates and identifies us from each other.

Humans can’t always differentiate the smell, thankfully. But dogs can!

A study found that dogs can detect scents in amounts as small a 0.01 parts per trillion, and their sense are about 100 times more sensitive than humans.

Our unique body odor is produced when sweat meets the skin. It’s made up of food, bacteria, and dead cells.

Why does my dog only destroy my stuff?

The odor is different for everyone because it varies based on what we eat or drink. So your dog may have a preference to you over other humans in the home–even though he can’t always tell who smells like which person.”

So, why does my dog only destroy my stuff? If you eat a lot of sweet or rich foods, your dog may genuinely love the smell of your body odor. If he is going after your clothing, this is likely the reason. He loves something unique in your body odor.

Our scent transfers to objects, clothing especially since it can absorb into the fabric.

I think It’s interesting that trained dog sniffers have difficulty distinguishing between identical twins unless they have significantly different diets.

What you eat affects what your dog smells. So on those hot summer days, you forget to wear deodorant…good luck!

Reason #5 He’s Jealous

Jealousy is an emotion dog feels, especially when someone (or something) interferes with their relationship with you and the amount of attention you give them.

Dogs are more destructive when a person other than the owner enters their space. So if you have a new roommate or moved in with your significant other, they might be taking out their jealousy on your stuff!

If they are skipping over the new person’s things, his problem is with you and not them. Which is a good sign!

Better your dog take out his emotional problems on you than someone new to the family!

Reason #6 He’s teething

This is an obvious reason a young dog or puppy might chew your stuff. Most of the time, puppies don’t have enough experience to target a certain individual.

So if you have a puppy and he is chewing your stuff and no one else, chances are he is just bonding with you more. You are probably spending more time with you. He loves you. 🙂

Reason #7 You neglect him

If you neglect your dogs, he will destroy your stuff for a few reasons. Dogs have emotional and relational needs that need to be met. They need love, attention, and quality time with their masters.

If you are not giving them this, they will take out their frustration on your stuff. They may also start to develop behavioral problems like anxiety and depression. Which will lead to even more chewing.

So, why does my dog only destroy my stuff? Your dog can be singling you out because the others who interact with him give him a good amount of attention and love. 

If that’s the case, he may not feel the need to chew on their stuff. A little bit of love goes a long way. If you’ve been too busy with work, a new hobby, or a new relationship–spend more time with your pooch.

Make sure your dog knows that you love him! Take him to a dog park or a walk, just the two of you!

Reason #8 He’s bored

Dogs will destroy your stuff because of boredom. We all know how hard it is to find the perfect balance between work, family time, and sleep.

When our dogs aren’t getting enough exercise or mental stimulation, they start looking for ways to entertain themselves by chewing on things.

If you have a strong bond with your dog, it might help to give him things to do while you’re gone (or preoccupied at home.)

It might help by giving him by keeping some dirty T-shirts around him when you’re busy. If you give them to him and let him know they are his, you can re-direct his energy onto the appropriate things to chew and destroy.

My old dog used to destroy plastic water bottles. He loved it! But he knew that he could only destroy the ones I gave him permission to.

Dogs can understand ownership. They are territorial creatures, after all.

Giving your dog something with your smell on it, and allowing him to chew it, might help him learn to differentiate the things you give him permission to chew from the off-limits things.

You’d have to be consistent in your training to be sure it doesn’t send the message that all of your belongings are open game.

Learn how to become an effective pack leader for your dog, and he will get the message of what separation means. What’s his to destroy, and what’s off-limits.

Why does my dog only destroy my stuff?

Reason #9 He wants your attention and knows how to get it

If you give your dog attention each time he misbehaves, then your dog will misbehave on purpose–to get your attention!

If you are neglecting your dog and spending less time with him–there is a good reason he is trying to get your attention.

When your pooch destroys your stuff, and you react to him out of anger and frustration, it might be what he wants. Not because he wants to upset you, but because it’s the only way he knows how to get you to spend any time with him.

Even though it’s negative attention, it’s still attention. Kids who are neglected will do the same thing. Dogs are emotional creatures, like us, and their psychology is worth paying attention to.

But what if the opposite is true? What if you are spoiling your dog?

Reason #10 You spoil him

Man, I can’t tell you how many spoiled dogs I’ve seen in the United States. Many of us live in a spoiled, over-fed, overstimulated society. We don’t like to be told what to do. Everybodys a winner. Everyone gets a trophy.

Our culture doesn’t like discipline. It’s obsessed with consuming.

We pass this on to our pups.

Some of us want to spoil them because it makes us feel good. It causes us delight or joy to give our four-legged friends what they want. Excess causes more harm than good.

Giving your dog what they want when they want it can cause health issues and behavioral problems. If your dog is domineering, is he allowed to get away with it?

Spoiling your dog isn’t love! It’s self-centered and selfish. Limits and boundaries need to be in place. A dog needs to learn no!

If you spoil your dog, there should be no surprise that he destroys your stuff when you’re not looking.

The only cure for this is leadership and training! As Cesar Millan likes to say, he doesn’t train dogs. He trains humans.

If you spoil your dog too much, YOU are the one that needs to be trained! Learn how to lead your dog. Get one of his books on Amazon.

Reason #11 Pent up energy

If you aren’t exercising your dog every day, this will affect his mental health. A dog’s psychological health and physical health are connected. They need mental and physical stimulation. Letting them roam the yard by themselves isn’t enough.

Most dog breeds need to be walked every day. The more active breeds should be exercised 30 minutes to an hour each day: especially Beagles, labradors, and Golden Retrievers.

If your dog is destroying your stuff, it could be that he has too much pent-up energy. If he’s singling your stuff out, then take him for a walk! Maybe it’s a sign.

Reason #12 Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a very real problem in dogs. Separation anxiety, as mentioned, is just one form. The anxiety many times will manifest itself through bad behavior.

If there has been a major change in the dog’s life, such as moving to a new home, or surgery, he could be under stress.

Stress and anxiety cause dogs to chew. If he’s singling your stuff out, you either calm him or make him anxious! Hard to tell!

Reason #13 He’s territorial

Maybe your dog thinks you are invading his space. Did you just move in with someone who has had a dog for a while? Maybe the dog is jealous of you and not getting the attention they want from their owner.

In this case, the dog is marking his territory. Maybe he is chewing. Maybe he is peeing on your stuff. The reason here is he wants you to know he’s the boss and you’re invading his space.

It doesn’t mean he hates you. He is just reacting to your sudden presence.

I remember when I was visiting a family member in Arizona. My Aunt had a Rottweiler that was in the Westminster dog show. He was a champion. This champion also didn’t seem to like me.

He’d constantly pee on my clothes. He didn’t chew anything up, thank God, but he did manage to pee on my suitcase minutes before I left for the airport! It was pungent, but I dealt with it.

He was territorial. The other, female Rottweiler, gave birth while I was there. There was a lot of stuff going on that must have caused him to feel insecure. lol.

Whatever the case, this is an example of when a dog is marking their territory.

He singled me out. he didn’t do it to my other family members who were visiting. I’m not sure why, but they were female, so I guess it was because I was a male.

Why does my dog only destroy my stuff?

Reason #14 He hates you

I think it’s rare for a dog to hate someone for no reason. If your dog hates you and is spiting you–then you must have done something to him??

Maybe you were a young kid when you first got him and pulled on his hair or his tail?

If your dog hates you, there is usually a reason. I’ve encountered some really nasty dogs that seemed hateful…but I always wonder why?

This could be a reason–but I doubt your dog hates you. Some dogs do things out of spite at times, but it would likely be one of the other reasons on this list. 

Find the cause and you will be able to come up with a solution.

Reason #15 Medical Issue

if your dog is having a medical problem, it could be affecting his nervous system, hormones, and behavior. Though, he wouldn’t single a specific person out for this. It can be a cause for behavioral problems and chewing.

Reason #16 You feed him

If you’re the one that feeds him the most, then you have a special place in your dog’s heart. Especially if you have a Beagle or a hound that LOVES food.

Food is a dog’s love language. They associate food with pleasure, joy, and love.

If your dog is only destroying your stuff and no one else, AND you are the one feeding him. It could be that you both have a strong bond that the others in the house don’t share.

Final Thoughts

I hope our list has given you some insight into why my dog only destroys my stuff. Truthfully, you may never know why it happens. The ideas we went over aren’t meant to diagnose a legitimate behavioral problem (we are not vets), but we hope that it gave you some insight.

Just because your dog only destroys items that belong to you doesn’t necessarily mean they love you more or hate you. It is helpful to try and figure out why they are doing it, though.

Whatever the case, try to be calm and patient.

You should never react to your dog out of frustration or anger. Coming at him with negative energy will likely make things worse for your dog and for you. Try to understand his psychology and love him.

Disciplining your dog is good, but being harsh isn’t!

Do you have experience with this? 

If your dog is singling you out, let us know it the comments section!