How can I help my dog stop destroying things while I am away?

I have a male boxer who just turned 2 (people) years old. He is fairly well-behaved when I am around, and almost never chews inappropriate objects orotherwise gets into mischief.

When I leave him home alone, however, he is almost invariably destructive. I am a student and am never away for more than 4-5 hours, and usually 2 hours or less. I have generally left him in a crate where I could more easily control his ability to destroy things. After he turned 1, I tried letting him have the run of the house, but he destroyed things regularly, so I returned to the habit of putting him in his cage again. Since then, every few months (hoping that he has matured enough to be left out of the crate) I have tried again and again to let him stay outside of the crate while I am away. Each time, however, he destroys something.

He usually only destroys one item and then goes to sleep. I know that he knows he is not allowed to destroy the things that he does because he always seems nervous when I return (as if he knows he's in trouble), and he never attempts to destroy things while I am home.

My understanding is that his stress and anxiety at being left by himself is related to me often greeting him excitedly when I come home, and him therefore getting the message that it's good to be together (and correspondingly bad to be apart). I have tried to be neutral upon arriving home for the past few months, but this technique is either not working or it is working frustratingly slowly.

Is there something more that I can do to help my dog not destroy things in my absence?

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Put him in an ex-pen or use puppy gates to limit his area. Get a second puppy so he won't be so bored. Only allow him access to things he can play with, he is bored. Leave the tv on for him. Get new toys and rotate them.

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well you could do some things with trainig but it may take a while. try getting him to sit or stay in one spot(keep treats in ur pocket)then slowly back up one step every 20 seconds until he moves or you get to close the door for fifty seconds. try this repeatadly for a couple days and see if you notice any changesalso never make a big deal about when you leave the house.:D

Your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, many house dogs do. Keep him in the crate while your gone. Iv'e had dogs that lived to 14 or 15 and never got over it no matter what I did. If you are only gone a maxium of 4 to 5 hours no big deal. If you were going to gone 10 to 12 hours I would recommend taking your dog to a doggie day care. Dogs are pack animals and they need company just as we do, and some dogs more than others. Right now I have 3 dogs of various sizes and 2 of them are 2 and one is 10yrs. I can leave them alone all day if necessary and when I come home they haven't touched a thing or pottied in the house. They keep each other company, play with their toys, and sleep. Some of it depends on the individual dog, just like people they all have different personalities. Some are more anxious, some are more content. But whenever I've had a dog that suffers from seperation anxiety, I crate them, problem solved.

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Also, make sure he is exercised before you leave him.  You also might try one of the toys which can be filled with a treat which will occupy him for a while. 

What types of things does he destroy?

Most recently, he tore apart a bag of souvenirs from Ireland, eating the (shrink-wrapped) box of alcoholic chocolates. In the past, he has chewed up an iced-tea pitcher, an occasional stray article of clothing, and bedding of various types. If there are any cardboard boxes within his reach, he sometimes chews them up. When we lived in a house with bamboo blinds, he chewed the corners of those. He often gets into the trash. When that happens, he'll select one trash can (usually but not always the bathroom), tear up the liner, and then spread the trash all over my apartment. 

Hi guy, I once had a dog that did the same thing, and called the vet because I didn't understand why he would do that. The reason he's doing it is because you leave him, (like we have to do duh), and he's getting back at you. Rotate toys he can have, and get him some of those big bones in the meat department. They used to call them soup bones when I had my dog. You'll want to boil that for a bit, and let it cool before giving it to him. That will keep him occupied for several days. There is marrow in those and they love it.

It's stress causing this, but it has nothing to do with how you greet him. What's stressing him out is having to protect the whole house all alone when he's much more comfortable just protecting his crate. He's in a confined space, which is very comforting while you are away. It's his den, his sanctuary. Stop going back and forth with the crate usage. Just use it whenever you are away for a reasonable amount of time. The times you mentioned are reasonable times for him to spend in his crate. Then when you are home, take him out for some exercize on his leash or to play catch or something.

Sometimes it's just not possible to train a dog to behave and you need to have alternative ways of caring for him.

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