When you first get your Coton de Tulear, you'll surely shower it with tons of affection. You'll make special arrangements so that you can take your pup out for mid-day bathroom breaks and it'll break your heart to say good bye to your Coton. Then the honeymoon period ends and you forget all about your poor, adorable cotton ball of a companion as you dash out the door late for work. You return home eight hours later to find a pillow cushion chewed up and strewn about the house. This is called separation anxiety, and it happens to Cotons.
Blackmailed by your Companion
Typically, when you leave home, you give your Coton a long unnecessary good-bye. As sweet as this may be, it's also what's contributing to the destruction of your living room. When you give your Coton de Tulear long good-byes, it will get excited and your absence will be more deeply felt when you are gone. To make your Coton feel better, you come back and shower it with even more attention. After all that attention, your companion is ready for a long game of catch or fetch or at least 30 minutes of fun, but you are already out the door. And when you are away, what's your Coton to do? Dig, tear and tip over anything in sight, as most active dogs will do.
The good news is that this isn't done out of anger. It's just a way to get rid of a lot of excess energy. Active dogs will always try to find a way to release their energy, and what better time to do it than when the owner is not at home. With a playful dog like a Coton, such destruction is bound to happen. A Coton is quite reliant on human company, and it gets nervous when it is left alone. Messing up your living room is just a way for it to get over its insecurity. It's actually a more self-centered form of separation anxiety that a Coton experiences, but it still amounts to missing your company.
Fixing the problem
You can solve the problem by making your Coton feel more comfortable when it is alone. Instead of giving wartime goodbyes to your companion to make it feel emptier when you are gone, you should try to make it a point to make your absence as insignificant as possible. And to do this effectively, you need to gradually condition your Coton to be alone. Try to leave it alone for a shorter time in the beginning, say, 10 minutes, then increase the duration of your absence to maybe half an hour, then one hour and so on. Soon, your Coton will feel that it is no big deal that you are away.
If you work away from home, it's probably a good idea to get a chew toy for your Coton. This will keep it occupied in your absence, and also prevent it from chewing the things in your living room. If you can, leave the television on; the background noise will keep your Coton occupied for some time at least. If you have cable, Animal Planet will probably keep your pet occupied for hours. Providing one or all of these things will greatly limit the amount of damage your pup will do in your absence.