As pet owners, we all know the excitement and apprehension upon opening the door after being away all day, when we are about to be greeted by our very happy pets and then discover just what they’ve been up to in our absence. Did my dog chew a hole in my favorite T-shirt or is there cushion stuffing trailed throughout the house? Most dog owners will at some point have to deal with the common issue of problem chewing.
In general, chewing is necessary for dogs to maintain strong jaws and clean teeth, however it becomes a frustrating problem when the chewing gets out of control or is not directed towards appropriate items like your dog’s toys. If you and your dog are dealing with ongoing problem chewing, you’ll want to consider the causes and simple steps you can take to manage and hopefully resolve the issue.
Why might your dog be chewing so much?
Puppies need to be puppies
As a way of exploring their surroundings, puppies will naturally chew on just about anything they are exposed to using their favorite tool – their mouth. Just like human toddlers, puppies need lots of supervision. Puppies can be taught and trained to differentiate between the items they can and cannot chew but left unsupervised, puppies cannot be blamed for trouble they may get into. Fortunately, puppies can quickly learn to feel safe and comfortable in a crate. When you have to leave your puppy alone, don’t hesitate to put a reward or food in the crate and leave the puppy alone for short periods of time or at bedtime thus, creating a positive association with the crate.
When puppies are teething you can give your puppy special teething chew toys that can be frozen.
Dogs Chewing to Relieve Boredom or Anxiety
Dogs will often chew to relieve feelings of separation anxiety or boredom. If your dog isn’t getting enough mental or physical stimulation throughout the day or spends many hours alone and shows other signs of having separation anxiety such as barking, whining, pacing or urination, the chewing is likely stress related. To help your dog whose stress issues are causing a chewing problem it is important to provide plenty of stimulation, especially before being left alone for long periods of time. Taking your dog for a long walk, doing some training exercises or socializing with other dogs before leaving home for the day can remove their need to chew.
What can you do to help your Dog chew Less?
Fight Doggie Boredom
The first step to take to help limit the chewing problem is to think about prevention. It can be hard for dogs to differentiate between their toys and your personal items, so it helps to keep your house tidy with laundry and toys off the floor. If you leave your dog at home alone, try to block off any messy areas. It’s important that your dog has plenty of appropriate items to chew, such as toys and bones. It is much easier to train your dog to chew on only certain things than it is to teach them not to chew at all.
For dogs that are prone to boredom you can make sure they have a variety of different kinds of toys. Try rotating these toys throughout the week to keep things interesting. Leaving your dog with a puzzle, such as a toy that contains a tasty snack is another good way to keep them entertained while you are away.
If there is something specific that your dog is prone to chewing you can also spray it with a taste deterrent that is specially made for dogs or just try mouthwash which most dogs detest.
What not to do
Remember not to scold your dog when you find items chewed. Do NOT pick up a sneaker and aggressively scold your dog when you find a huge hole in your favorite footwear. Dogs cannot associate a scolding with something that already happened hours ago and being reprimanded will likely only add to the root cause of your dog’s chewing. Instead of scolding try using positive reinforcement by giving your dog a chew toy followed by plenty of praise.
Professional Dog Training help is just a click away.
Problem chewing is a very common problem in dogs and puppies and is something that with attention and patience can be fixed. If going it alone isn’t working for you and your dog, Breakthrough K9 Training professional help is always just a call or click away.