Dog chewing is bad behavior that needs to be curbed as early as possible. The behavior begins during puppyhood when our adorable and young canine is teething. Chewing is also a way for him to entertain himself, and to explore and get to know his environment.
At this age, chewing is normal behavior; but there are proper ways to give our pup relief from teething pains, which he gets from chewing. At the same time, he needs to learn what is okay to chew and what is not. When an adult dog engages in inappropriate chewing behavior, it is mostly because he is bored. Whether a puppy or an adult, there are a variety of ways to stop dog chewing based on what motivates them to chew in the first place.
One of the best ways to redirect our pup’s attention, in nearly any circumstance, is with treats. However, we can’t use just any treats. They need to be low-calorie so they don’t mess Fido’s diet. And they need to be delicious, so Fido is motivated. EcoTreats wild-caught sockeye salmon filet bits are low-calorie, all-natural, premium dog treats that are 100% USA sourced-from the Pacific Northwest.
Why do dogs chew?
Puppies chew as a form of play. They usually do this with their siblings, and this is also how they learn not to nip too hard. When their litter-mate yelps after being nipped, this teaches them to bite more gently next time.
They also chew on random stuff - such as cords, shoes, slippers, and rags, among many others - when they are teething.
As adults, there are several reasons a dog chews on whatever he can his teeth on. He may be bored, and chewing becomes a form of entertainment or distraction. He may be suffering from separation anxiety, in which case his chewing is a call for attention and a way to cope. Chewing may also be a sign that our pal's in pain and the activity helps him dismiss the pain from his mind. Or, perhaps, he was simply not adequately taught and has been given common items as his chew toys, so that he does not know how to discriminate between objects he can and cannot chew.
How can we stop our dog from chewing?
Not chewing should be part of our dog's standard training and discipline. Discouraging his chewing habits should begin as early as puppyhood, but even adult dogs can still be trained to keep his teeth off our stuff. Below are some helpful tips.
- As soon as our puppy starts playfully nipping at their litter-mates or nibbling on our hands and whatever household stuff, they find interesting enough. We should get him a few chew toys. We should choose toys with different textures and made from a variety of materials. This way, when he gets bored with one, he'll have other options to keep him satisfied.
- It would help to introduce our puppy to his chew toys by using them to play with him. Games like tug-the-rope and fetch will not only be fun and exciting, they will also serve as exercise and help him release his playful energy.
- Every time he starts chewing on household and personal items, we should distract him with his chew toys while also gently admonishing him for the inappropriate chewing. We should not forget to praise him and even reward him with a treat when he follows our command.
- Adult dogs need to get their regular exercise, so they won't get bored, destructive, or anxious, especially when they're left alone at home. Getting them tired through exercise also means they'll spend most of the rest of their day just resting and sleeping.
- If our buddy simply has a keen attraction to our shoes, power cables, etc., we can try using pet-friendly repellent sprays. These work by having an unpleasant taste so that our canine companion won't want to chew on the sprayed item.
- We should always make sure our pal's favorite items to chew on (aside from their chew toys) are out of their reach. At the same time, he should have easy access to his chew toys all over the house.
- If chewing has become a serious problem, and none of the above strategies work, we can seek help from our buddy's vet or from a professional trainer.
As with other good behaviors that we want our best bud to learn, we should always aim to train him through positive reinforcement. Because chewing often quickly turns into destructive behavior, our furry friend will need us to have lots of patience.
- “Destructive Chewing,” ASPCA
- “Chewing: How to stop your dog's gnawing problem,” Humane Society
- “Why Puppies Chew — and What You Can Do About It,” VetStreet