Puppies will chew on whatever they can find. Every dog owner has lost at least one treasured possession to a chew-happy dog. Whether it’s your favorite pair of shoes, your new studio headphones, or your old baseball cap, dogs seem to have a natural sense for finding the things you least want them to eat. Dealing with chewing is critical for a few reasons — it helps keep the dog safe and it protects your things, for example — and is relatively straightforward. Why Dogs Chew Dogs chew for many reasons. Some chew to get rid of extra energy. Some chew because it’s fun. And others chew just because they’re exploring the world around them. Destructive chewing is slightly different. Destructive chewing comes from stress, boredom, fear, a lack of education, or attention-seeking. Most chewing has to do with a lack of exercise and an owner forgetting to teach dogs that there are appropriate and inappropriate chew items.
A Kong toy is an acceptable and durable chew toy. Photo: cc OakleyOriginals Fixing a chewing problem is easy. First, remove any unwanted chew items from the environment. If your dog’s toys are on the floor and so are your shoes, how’s the dog supposed to know which is fair game? Next, supervise your dog at all times. If you catch your dog chewing on something he’s not supposed to have, take it away and replace it with an appropriate chew toy. Note that the replacement part of this process is the most important; you’re teaching your dog which items are appropriate for chewing and which are not. It’s also worth noting that dogs, especially puppies, need lots of exercise. Often changing your schedule to allow for 45 minutes of running and playing can singlehandedly solve a chewing problem, as the dog won’t need to resort to chewing to burn off the excess energy. In summary, give your dog plenty of exercise and redirect his bad chewing onto the right items. If you do this consistently, he’ll quickly overcome his chewing problem and stop ruining your things.