How do I stop my pit bull from shredding things

by Trish
(Greensburg, PA)

Hello, I have a Pit/Weimaraner mix she just turned a year old. My problem is she loves to shred things, mostly fabric.

I tried crate training her when we got her at 7 weeks. All she would do is shred the newspapers in her cage and there would be pee everywhere. I put dog beds in there, she shredded those. Tried just putting old towels and she shredded those. I even put her in an empty cage, but then she'd pee and have it all over her and then we'd have to bathe her.

So we started leaving her out of the cage and now she just shredded her dog bed in front of the fireplace. Can anyone give me suggestions as to what do do?

Gale's Reply:

Hi Trish

Thanks for your question, I think it's something a lot of people can relate to.

Kuranda Beds have become popular for use in shelters and rescues for this very reason--they are virtually chew-proof. They prevent elbow callouses just as a well padded traditional dog bed does. But, they are constructed in such a way that there is nothing for your dog to grab on to with her teeth.

Additionally, you might want to try a product like Grannick's Bitter Apple. This is meant to be sprayed on surfaces where you want to discourage chewing. Dogs don't like the taste.

Aside from this, it's important to also try to understand why she is chewing. She is still young, but you should ask yourself: Is she getting enough exercise? Is she bored? Does she have separation anxiety? By addressing the underlying cause, you'll have a calmer dog. And, she'll be less likely to re-direct her energy into other destructive behaviors.

Feel free to post back here if you have more questions.

For more information on obedience training, visit our Pit Bull Training page.

For help with behavioral problems, check out our Dog Behavior Training page.

Comments for How do I stop my pit bull from shredding things

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 11, 2011
by: Cooper's Mom

My Staffie loves to shred towels. He uses it as a toy. He will run up to me with a dishtowel and then run away and try to get me to chase him. I usually buy real cheap bundles of handtowels from dollar store(s) and he knows to only shred these. I don't know if what I am doing is bad or good but we turned it into a positive by making it play time. It is much cheaper than to buy the dog toys which he destroys in less than 5 minutes. : )

Jan 11, 2011
by: Li

Hey Trish,

The Kuranda dog bed that TPPB suggested is as close to indestructible as you're going to find. The shelter that I work at uses them in our large dog kennels and they're amazing! They keep the dogs off the concrete floors and even with all the large dogs coming in and out, it is rare that we see any damage to the Kuranda beds.

My biggest suggestion would be to try and find the root of her behavior issue and be patient as you work through it. She is by no means a bad dog and you are by no means a bad doggy mom. Most dogs will develop little qwerks and bad habits as they grow, so you're not doing anything wrong.

Your pup may suffer from separation anxiety when you leave, and her way of coping is to shred something that she was given. I never ever ever ever suggest putting a dog on medication for this and if this is your vet's first suggestion, you need to find a different vet.

Try giving her a treat as she goes into her crate and you're getting ready to leave, so she learns that you leaving isn't a bad thing. I also highly recommend the Extreme Kong dog toy. This is the only toy my pittie has not been able to destroy. You can hide treats and peanut butter inside them, to help keep her from becoming bored while you're away.

I hope some of this helps. And don't lose hope! Just be patient with her and she'll reward you with as much doggy love as you'd like. :]

Jan 11, 2011
by: Shaelyn

My pittie/mastif mix did the same thing, she would eat holes in quilts and pull shoes and purses out of my closet, then she turned 3 and it was like someone switched on the "good dog" button.

One thing that I have found with Manda is that since she stepped into the full time role of being my service dog, she is much calmer and seems to be more content. There are some breeds that really seem to have the NEED to have a purpose in life, something that they have to do to make them an active part of their family unit.

Don't get me wrong, Manda still has her moments; especially on those rare occasions where I can't bring her with me and I return home to find every throw pillow removed from sofas and beds and strewn through out the house, along with her service vest and lead right next to the door! LOL

You have two very intelligent breeds in your pup and boredom will be her greatest challenge. You need to find a way to stimulate her mind in the right way and then a tired body will help with the rest.

Jan 11, 2011
Thanks everyone!
by: Trish

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I will definitely look into those beds. She does get pleanty of exercise, she plays with Milie her BFF next door they run and run and RUN!!! Then she also has our whole yard to run and run and RUN!! She loves to play with any toy that we will throw and she has the unbreakoball which she loves to just play by herself with, kicking it around, and carrying it around so proud showing all the neighbors her "prize". I did give her treats and chews when I put her in the cage but they were always gone within minutes, even the big long lasting bones (they are not long lasting). I do have a Kong for her which I fill with peanut butter, milk, bones, and kibble and then freeze but she still goes through that in no time too. I know this is just a puppy stage, at least I'm hoping she'll grow out of it. As long as we don't leave for a long period of time she's ok but anything longer than an hour or so and I don't even want to come home to see what mess I'll have next! I totally forgot to mention the time we were shopping for a few hours and we came honme to find the whole side of our COUCH shredded!!! I couldn't believe my eyes!!! Thank goodness my husband is a handyman as he took the fabric from the back and replaced the side. We also have a 14 yr old Chihuahua/Jack Russel mix who is mostly blind and going through renal failure (that's why we have the towels on the bed) so it's not like Gracie is home alone. Those two still play a lot and Gidget is still the boss!! I guess I'll just put my big girl pants on and deal with it and just not leave the house till 2114 lol. Thanks again everyone!!

Jan 11, 2011
I do have that bed
by: Trish

Hi, it's me again. I just checked those beds and believe it or not I do have one of those. The problem is my lil one. It would be too hard for her to get up and down with that type of bed so I guess I will just have to put Gracie back into her "empty" cage if we have to go somewhere for longer than an hour. I do have the bitter apple but Gracie's such a weirdo she likes the taste!! We also try to take her outside and play with her until she's tired, hoping she'd just sleep while we're gone, but nope, that doesn't work either. I'm up for more suggestions if anyone has any.

Jan 11, 2011
More Comments on Facebook
by: Gale


There are a few more comments on Facebook. Someone said they were getting Chinese herbs from the vet and also trying an aromatherapy diffuser.

Jan 11, 2011
Thanks Gale!
by: Trish

Thanks Gale, and thanks for posting on Facebook!!

Jan 12, 2011
by: Copper's Buddy

I have found a great toy for dogs who enjoy shredding fabric. It's a ball made out of fabric strings. It usually runs about four or five dollars but it lasts a long time. It helped to break Copper our Staffie from eating socks, comforters, and underwear. I found mine at the local Kroger store. The only problem is that the strings get over everything they come in contact with once the dog pulls them out of the ball.

Jan 12, 2011
Re: Coopers Buddy
by: Trish

Thanks Coopers Buddy, Gracie has 2 of those, they were buy one get one free at PetSmart a few years back. And your right, the strings get everywhere!!! I have found if I give her a smoked bone that will keep her busy for a few hours and we usually come home to a mess free house. I just don't like giving her bones when we're not there to supervise. That's why I try to give her ones that she can chew, but not "chew up." I guess I just need to stock up on bones, good thing we have a smoker!! Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it!

Jan 12, 2011
Re: Coppers Buddy
by: Trish

Sorry for the typo. Copper not Cooper!

Jan 23, 2011
by: Anonymous

When I first got my pit puppy he did the same thing. He didn't go in the crate, but he'd tear up the bedding. Bitter Apple didn't work long term, but it did help as an initial deterrant. He'd get it in his mouth, be upset, but he'd still want to chew.

Was your dog crate trained before? That may be part of the problem. More positive reinforcement may be needed.

I would also put my dog in the crate, and then sit next to the crate when my dog would cry. I wouldn't open the crate, but I would try and calm him down in short increments. I also made sure my dog wouldn't see me when I went to sleep, because if he did he would cry more.

There are a lot of little things you can try, and it's easy to get frustrated. Hang in there!

Jan 26, 2011
Pittie shredder
by: Trish

Yes she was crate trained since she was 7 weeks old. It was only when she got older that she started the shredding and I couldn't bear to put her in a cold empty cage so I just started leaving her out of the cage and trying not to be gone for long periods of time.

If she has something to keep her occupied she's ok, but something like a busy bone or a Kong, don't last long enough and that's when the destruction starts.

Feb 27, 2011
your little shredder
by: Anonymous

Remember that pits have a tremendous amount of pent up energy. I believe that people don't realize this, and that's why so many end up in shelters. They need a lot of exercise to get that energy out. You will see a huge difference in your dog's behavior when you give him the exercise he needs.

Feb 28, 2011
Pittie shredder
by: Trish

Oh she gets pleanty of exercise, she runs around in our big yard like a goofball. She plays with the neighbors dog running back and forth for what seems like hours. We take her outside with her favorite balls and play and play and PLAY!! When we know we're going to leave for a few hours we take her outside and play with her to wear her out in hopes that she'd sleep it off while we're gone.

This is a form of separation anxiety because she doesn't destroy anything while we're home, it's only when we leave. We're going to start trying to leave for short periods at a time and see how that works.

Thanks everyone for all your advice.

Dec 13, 2011
Have you tried real raw beef femar bones?
by: pippens mom

We just got a 1year old male pitbull stray. He has anxiety when we leave also . And he love to shredd paper. I have found that real raw beef femur bones. from the supermarket work best. DO NOT cook them for more than 5 minutes, You do not want to make them brittle by cooking them. At first he wasn't sure what to do with its . but after a half hour of licking it. he knew what to do. Sometimes if they are not use to bones they can have loose stools (outside ofcourse) but once they have them on a regular basis it not a problem. I would save the fresh bones for right before you go out so he or she associates your leaving with good things. Also you could save the bones. and give it to him or her only when your gone so they don't lose their popularity. Also my 10 year old shepard mix has not needed a teeth cleaning for over 5 years because he gets a bone every 2 weeks.All the dogs in the neighborhood love stealing their old bones. and their owners are amazed at how much their dogs love them. They are messy. so if you have light colored rugs i might put them in a room that does not have good rugs. Hope this helps.

Dec 13, 2011
by: Anonymous

Thanks pippens mom! I do actually give my dogs those bones and my neighbors dog loves stealing them too! I also stuff them when their done and then freeze them for when we go out.

Believe it or not I found out what my dog was actually doing. I hope this makes sense.....she has this obsession with covering her toys with towels or anything she can put over the toys. I got her the unbreakoball in 2 sizes, one large ont for outside and a smaller one for inside. One night I watched her grab a towel I had, (I always keep towels at my side because my other pitty drools a lot) and she covered her ball and then once that ball was covered she was looking for something else to cover her other toys on the floor.

In the process of doing this, she ripped holes in the towels trying to cover them up and now I see what happened when we had her in that cage while we were gone.

She just turned 2 years old on Sunday and has been out of the cage for over a year now. All this time I've been thinking she was a shredder and all along all she was trying to do was cover her toys with anything she could get her mouth on! I hope this made sense to everyone. Yes, my dogs a goof :)

I appreciate everyones advice thank you all so much!!

Nov 01, 2012
digging holes in yard
by: Anonymous

how do i stop my pit bull from digging holes in the yard

Nov 19, 2014
dog behavior NEW
by: daniel

How can I get my pit from shredding the furniture and and anything in his sight I got him from someone else that couldn't take care of him anymore and it's getting to the point where I'm getting in trouble because I live in a shared apartment he even pulled my mattress off the box spring get and torn a big hole in the box spring can someone help me on how to get u him out this habit he mainly does it when no one else is home and it's hard for us to be home because we all work different hours u can email me at but please put dog training in the subject so i know

Nov 19, 2014
dog behavior NEW
by: daniel

How can I get my pit from shredding the furniture and and anything in his sight I got him from someone else that couldn't take care of him anymore and it's getting to the point where I'm getting in trouble because I live in a shared apartment he even pulled my mattress off the box spring get and torn a big hole in the box spring can someone help me on how to get u him out this habit he mainly does it when no one else is home and it's hard for us to be home because we all work different hours u can email me at but please put dog training in the subject so i know

Click here to add your own comments

Return to pit bull community.

Are you enjoying this site? Finding it useful?
Your donation in any amount can help us reach out to more people
who want to know the truth about pit bulls.

Thank You for Your Support!

Return to Pit Bull Homepage

Free Bully for You! E-zine



Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Bully for You!.
[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines

Follow PitBullMaven on Twitter

| Homepage | Contact Us |About Us| Return to top

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
Copyright© 2006-2012. The-Proper-Pitbull.Com. All Right Reserved.