If you speak to just about any dog owner, they will have a tale to tell about something their beloved canine companion chewed. Whether it's a pair of shoes or part of the furniture, nuisance chewing behavior is something that you want to put an end to quickly.
Why Does Your Dog Chew?
Your young puppy may be chewing because he is teething, and chewing helps to soothe his sore gums.
He will also explore the world around him with his mouth and this can include the use of his teeth.
If your dog is an adult, he may chew because he is bored, or to get attention.
Separation anxiety can cause very destructive chewing behavior in dogs of all ages.
Serious Consequences to Chewing
- Apart from the damage to your belongings, chewing can land your dog in hospital.
- If he chews at electrical cords, he could get burns to his tongue and mouth.
- Chewing and swallowing hard objects can break his teeth and cause an intestinal obstruction.
Solutions to Your Dog's Chewing Problems
There are many things you can do to stop chewing, and you'll find that some will work better for your dog than others.
1. Keep things out of reach
It makes sense that if your dog can't get to the trash or your favorite shoes, he isn't going to chew them. This can take a little effort on your part, but it's worth doing. Another alternative is to keep him with you at all times so he can't get into mischief. It's a good idea to *crate train your dog so you can leave him safely in his den when you can't keep a close eye on him.
2. Make Sure Toys Are Dissimilar from Personal Items
Make sure your dog's toys don't look anything like your belongings. If you give him a squeaky toy shaped like a shoe to play with, it's not fair to get angry if he then chews a real one. If you play tug o'war with a sock, he can't be expected to tell the difference between his play sock and the smart new socks you wear to work.
3. Stimulate Mind and Body
Training and exercise will keep his mind and body stimulated, and he is less likely to engage in boredom related behaviors such as chewing. It will also alleviate the symptoms of separation anxiety. He will enjoy the social interaction with you, and it's a very good opportunity to teach him to leave things on command. This means that when you do find him chewing something, you can tell him to leave it, and he will.
4. Provide Chewing Toys
Make sure your dog has plenty of appropriate chew toys, such as a stuffed Kong or a piece of rawhide. If he has enough fun things he is encouraged to chew then he isn't going to be interested in boring old shoes or furniture. You can put his kibble into a chew toy and this will give him the opportunity to gnaw for quite a while.
5. Give Pups Some Special Attention
Your teething puppy will enjoy the same types of chew toys, but will also appreciate something cold to soothe his tender gums. You can make a frozen icy pole for him to gnaw on and as it alleviates his discomfort, he will feel less inclined to chew things he shouldn't.
6. Use Chewing Repellent
If your dog chews on the leg of the dining room table, for example, you can purchase bitter sprays that taste awful. Spray them on the furniture to deter him. Try the spray on a small area first to make sure it doesn't stain your furniture, and apply it frequently. Also, keep an eye on your dog when you use it for the first time because he may actually like the taste and chew even more.
Understand that Chewing is Natual
Don't get angry at your dog if he chews things. He isn't doing it deliberately to be naughty. Even the best trained dog may chew at some time or another. If you do find him chowing down on something forbidden, take it away from him and give him an appropriate alternative.
Keep your belongings out of reach, watch your dog and give him plenty of alternatives to chew on, and those favorite shoes will be safe from his sharp teeth.