Whenever you bring home a new dog, you’re bound to encounter some behavioral issues that require attention. One of the most common concerns of owners is how they can stop dog chewing problems. First off, one needs to be aware that in most cases, this is perfectly normal. Puppies and dogs chew on objects as they continue to explore their surroundings. Puppies resort to chewing whenever they want to relieve pain associated with teething. For older dogs, it’s a natural way to keep their jaws strong and teeth clean. Dog chewing may also be a method to combat boredom, anxiety, and even frustration.
Of course, excessive dog gnawing comes at your expense. You may have heard stories or have seen video clips of owners coming home to find a mountain of damaged inflicted by their dog’s teeth. It’s an unpleasant sight but is totally preventable through corrective actions. By teaching your beloved dog what they can and can’t chew, you can manage the situation as quickly as possible.
Stop Dog Chewing Problems
Puppies are like infants and toddlers. Not only do they explore their world by putting random objects in their mouth, but they too start teething at about six months of age. At this point, their growing teeth may cause a certain degree of discomfort. Chewing not only eases the pain of teething, but it also makes sore gums feel better.
As for adult dogs, excessive chewing can stem from a number of reasons. Possible causes include lack of training on what to chew and what not to chew, boredom, separation anxiety, fear, and the need for attention. To be sure, please contact a behavioral specialist.
What to chew vs. what not to chew
Train, train, train! Keep your dog on a leash while indoors so you can supervise them until they learn the house rules by heart. Otherwise, you can keep them confined in their safe place until they get home. This spot should be dog-proof, meaning it comes complete with fresh water and chewing toys (make sure they aren’t toys that they could end up choking on).
Claim what’s yours. By making your belongings accessible to your dog, they’ll feel entitled to it. To help stop dog chewing problems, always store your shoes, books, trash, glasses, and remote control out of the canine’s reach.
Help them connect with acceptable objects to chew on. Oftentimes, dogs just need to be properly introduced to toys. You can use their toys during feeding time. For example, fill a Kong toy with their kibble to help them associate these toys with something positive like food.
Distinguish household goods and toys. Don’t confuse your dogs by offering old shoes and socks as toys. Once you spot them chewing on something prohibited, immediately interrupt the behavior and offer a chew toy instead. If the dog takes the toy, give positive reinforcement through treats or affection.
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Give the required amount of exercise to your dog. Bored dogs can be the most destructive animals you’ll ever come across. They’ll end up finding something to amuse themselves by scouring through your things or much worse! This is why exercise for dogs is required to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Do take the dog’s age, health, and breed into consideration before making a daily exercise plan.
For teething puppies, freeze a wet washcloth and offer it to your dog. The coldness of the cloth will help soothe the discomfort of their gums. Make sure to supervise your puppy when he or she starts chewing on the cloth though, as they could end up chewing and swallowing any pieces of the washcloth.
Use taste deterrents! Taste deterrents can be coated with furniture and other precious items to make them unpleasant for your dog.
Don’t chase a dog chewing on an object. When a dog grabs an object and makes a run for it, refrain from going after them as much as possible. If you chase them, you only end up making the experience fun. Instead, calmly and assertively call them to you and offer a treat in exchange for the treat.
Timing your punishment
When it comes to reinforcing rules to your dog, timing is everything. Animals associate bad or unacceptable behavior with what they’re doing at the time they’re being reprimanded. You may ask yourself, “Well, what about all those guilty animal videos where owners scold their dogs in the aftermath of destructive behavior?” In reality, these guilty looks are just submissive postures that dogs do when they feel threatened. To put it simply, scolding them even a few minutes after they were caught gnawing on something won’t help your dog “learn a lesson,” so it’s never an advisable way to stop dog chewing problems.
If you find yourself struggling with destructive dog chewing behavior, consider getting help from experts. If you keep tolerating unwanted chewing, your dog could end up choking on something hazardous. Better safe than sorry!