Ready, steady, shred! Try this trainer’s top tip to control your dog’s shredding behavior

Dog shredding paper
(Image credit: Getty)

Shredding can be natural behavior for dogs. Some breeds in particular (including Boxers, Goldens, and Maltese) seem particularly prone to it, but any dog can do it. Behaviorists believe that your dog is unconsciously mimicking the action of tearing at prey as he would in the wild - even if modern pooches don’t have to stalk anything more dangerous than the longest lasting dog chews.

If your doggo loves to root through the garbage for paper and cardboard and then leave it discarded all over the living room, it’s not only frustrating to clear up but can be dangerous as well. If your dog accidentally swallows some of the paper, it could become impacted in his stomach resulting in digestive problems and a trip to the vet.

Youtube dog trainer Sarah Walsh (opens in new tab) created a video dealing with this very subject which shows owners how to channel their dog’s shredding behavior safely. She points out that shredding is a natural behavior and giving your pooch an appropriate outlet will reduce the chances of him shredding your mail! She recommends giving your dog a head of iceberg lettuce – crisp, crunchy, long-lasting, and safe. To make it even more attractive, try hiding some of the healthiest dog treats or some pieces of kibble inside the leaves. 

Watch trainer Sarah Walsh's tip for allowing shredding behavior

 Commenters were delighted by the cheap, simple tip, saying, “Must be better than always having cardboard box bits all over our floors!!” and ‘I do this with my dogs! They loved it. I never thought of putting kibble inside- great idea!!!’

It’s important to be sure that your dog’s shredding behavior isn’t always a result of stress or boredom. If you come home from work to devastation every day, then check out our guide on how to teach your dog not to destroy toys. If your pup is between 12 weeks and 6 months of age, it’s possible he could be teething rather than simply shredding for the joy of it – take a look at our guide to find out how long puppy teething lasts.

Sara Walker

Sara is a freelance journalist and copywriter of many years’ experience with a lifelong love of animals. She’s written for a range of magazines and websites on subjects varying from pet care to travel. A horse rider since the age of five, she’s currently a full time pet slave to horse Blue and gorgeous, goofy English Springer Spaniel Olly. Adorable Olly has a huge sense of adventure and no sense of direction, keeping Sara on her toes.