Date Published: July 29, 2014, Updated: August 2, 2017 at 9:40 am, Author: admin
As many dog owners have discovered, furniture or a favorite pair of shoes can sometimes become the victims of a dog’s desire to chew. This is not only costly to you, but can be dangerous to your pet as well, as chewing on improper things can damage their teeth, hurt their mouth, or cause other problems if your dog swallows pieces of indigestible or toxic material.
Chewing is a natural habit in dogs. Since they don’t have hands, it is one of the more tactile ways they can interact with objects. However, destructive chewing is often a sign of underlying issues. If your dog has a problem with destructive chewing, here are some of the possible reasons and ways to address the undesirable behavior.
Since childhood is when they begin teething, both human babies and puppies alike tend to chew on things in an attempt to remedy those sore gums. They also tend to not know what the rules of your house are yet, so both training and realistic expectations are needed.
During this period, it is important to teach your puppy what things are ok and not ok to chew on as well as other desirable traits, such as when their play bites or play nips are too hard. Be proactive by puppy proofing your home, keeping an eye on him, and providing chew toys that he can gnaw on while teething.
Perhaps you made the mistake of using shoes and socks as “toys” when your dog was a puppy, or you’ve adopted an older dog who wasn’t trained when they were young.
Fortunately, it is never too late to remedy bad habits. Keep objects you don’t want chewed in safe places. Train your dog to chew on acceptable toys and treats by encouraging good behavior and discouraging what you don’t want (but only when you catch them in the act). Some dog owners find coating things like furniture legs with chew deterrent sprays helpful.
A bored dog will find (often unwanted) ways to entertain themselves, so make sure to play with your pet often and give him mentally stimulating toys. If he runs away with an object, don’t chase him, since it will become a game. Use it to train him to come and give the object in exchange for a treat (and your attention) since that is what he really wanted in the first place.
Another way to combat destructive chewing is by giving your dog an edible chew like a bully stick, which is not only tasty, but tends to preoccupy them for a good amount of time.
Some dogs chew everything because they suffer from separation anxiety or are extremely nervous and fearful. In those cases, your own training with treats and positive reinforcement may help, but the assistance of a dog behavior specialist might also be necessary.