Many pet owners will have heard horror stories about the dog who chewed his way through 30 pairs of shoes, the cat that scratched up a £2,000 sofa or the parrot that pecked its way through several electrical wires.

And while fortunately for most of us the problem is not quite so extreme, many pet owners will have a critter at home that has a tendency to be destructive when left unsupervised at home.

Not only does this sort of behaviour - which includes everything from digging up the back garden to chewing on toilet rolls - leave owners with a heavy bill to foot, but it can also be dangerous for your pet if they consume something they shouldn't.

Therefore, if your animal starts to show signs of destructive behaviour, it is a good idea to tackle the problem as soon as possible with simple training techniques using praise and cat or dry dog food treats.

"Prevention [can be achieved] by positive, reward-based training and use of acceptable alternatives if the damage is caused by the pet being bored (the usual scenario) or needing to sharpen its teeth/claws/beak," says animal behavioural consultant Dr Candy d'Sa.

If you feel that your pet is being destructive out of boredom, then this is best resolved with mental and physical stimulation, such as exercise, plenty of attention during the day and toys to keep their mind active.

However, if all else fails and your pet's behaviour seems to be getting out of control, Dr d'Sa recommends getting in contact with a behavioural therapist to get to the root of the problem and sort out any underlying issues.

"[For home wreckers] training and behaviour therapy should definitely be considered," she adds. "Always use a reputable and qualified professional, preferably on referral from your vet."

Written by: Hannah