Posted on September 08 2021
It’s a fact that dogs love to chew. As an owner, this fact is all well and good until your dog starts chewing on and tearing up your furniture, clothes, books, vinyls, and more.
If your dog seems to be chewing on everything and anything around them, it’s time to put in some work to reverse their behavior. From giving them dog chews to holding their attention, here are some basic tips to reducing their chewing.
First and foremost, you need to keep an eye out for your dog’s behavior. Chances are that your dog is going to start chewing once you can’t see them. Why? One, they either feel it’s okay to do or, two, they believe they’ll get your attention by chewing on something they’re not supposed to.
This doesn’t mean you need to always be watching them, but you should remain more attentive than normal once you start seeing this behavior appear – especially if it’s due to puppy teething.
If you do happen to find your puppy chewing on something they’re not supposed to, immediately get their attention. Interrupt whatever they’re doing, get their attention on something else, and then remove whatever they were chewing on. Best of all, replace it with something they’re allowed to chew on. Once they begin chewing on it, you can reward them, giving them pets, kisses, and verbal praise to affirm they’re being good by chewing on the right item.
We don’t mean this as a diss, although those dishes have been in the sink since last night. What we do mean is that you should remove any potentially hazardous or valuable items away from your dog’s reach. This will ensure they aren’t able to chew on anything you don’t want them to, especially if they’re unsupervised.
Moreover, work on training (as early as possible) to teach them they’re not allowed in certain rooms. For instance, your dog shouldn’t be allowed in your bedroom or bathroom unless you’re in there. Both rooms could hold potential health and choking hazards, so it’s best to guarantee they know to stay out unless told they’re welcome. Professional dog trainers like Head Start Dog Training, Edinburgh advise using reward-based training, since it helps you and your dog to enjoy the learning experience and have fun!
Your dog may be compelled to chew on a smelly sock or shoe, but it’s important you teach them to avoid such behavior. If you allow them to keep doing it, it could foster poor tendencies which could prove unsavory in the future – e.g., chewing on a guest’s expensive shoes. It also instills the idea that human items are dog chew toys, a lesson you should avoid at all costs.
Instead, take away the item when they begin chewing on it and replace it with a chew toy or a treat.
Source: Olya Maximenko/Shutterstock
One of the best things you can provide to your dog is a long-lasting treat that holds their attention. Bully sticks for dogs are a great option, as they provide your dog with an all-natural, nutritious treat that they can chew on for a good deal of time. They’ll really love them – not just for the smell, but that it provides them with a rough surface they can clean their teeth on for a good amount of time.
Along with long-lasting chews, you should provide your dog with interactive toys so they can have fun while getting their energy out. A safe bet is to look for interactive toys and tough rubber chew toys. You can even fill them with treats like peanut butter to really get their attention.
If you ever have to leave your dog alone at home, you should do what you can to close off where they can go. The safest option, for both you and them, is to crate them while you’re out of the house.
If you didn’t crate train your dog upon adoption, it might be more difficult to get them used to their crate than if you were training a puppy. The best rule of thumb is to train with positive reinforcement at all times.
A common way people use crates is for punishment. Their dog does something bad, they tell them to go in the crate, and leave them there a while, as if it’s time out. This is bad behavior, as your dog will soon think they’re punished every time you tell them to go into their crate.
Instead, teach them that it’s their happy place. Whenever you send them in, give them a dog chew or their favorite treat. It might not seem like much, but it’s an excellent way to teach them it’s their safe space – a place of comfort, not punishment.
Chances are your dog might be chewing to get their energy out, meaning they’re under-exercised or bored. You should do what you can to help them burn off that energy, early on in the day and throughout the day. If you work away from home, it’s a good idea to exercise your dog in the morning and enroll them in doggy daycare during the day or hire a dog walker. If you do work from home, exercise them in the morning and regularly use your work breaks to play and exercise with them.
Don’t let them feel as if they’ve been left high and dry. Rather, take the time out of your day to regularly check in with them. This is easiest for dog owners who continue to work from home, as your dog is likely just a room away. Also, consider getting your family involved. And if you don’t have family around, see if any of your neighbors are interested, especially if they have dogs of their own.
You should do what you can to keep your dog entertained throughout the day. With a little work, you may be able to curb their destructive chewing and keep them happier than ever.