How to Stop Dog Chewing Behavior

Dogs that persistently chew newspapers, shoes, furniture, carpets and bedding can drive an owner to distraction. Although chewing behavior is perfectly natural, our way of living means that there are many harmful things that a dog can encounter, for example electrical cord. Therefore, it is advisable to ensure that your dog only chews his, or her, own toys.

Why do Dogs Chew?

Just like human children, puppies explore the world through their mouths and will also chew to relieve teething pain. Typically, a dog will start to chew anything and everything from about three months of age. If your dog is older, on the other hand, it may be chewing through frustration, anxiety or boredom. Alternatively, some older dogs chew simply because they have not been trained not to.

How to Stop a Dogs Trail of Destruction

The first thing to consider when trying to prevent chewing behavior is the dog's surroundings and lifestyle. Does he, or she, have plenty of safe toys that can be chewed? Is he, or she, getting enough exercise? Is your dog left alone for extended periods of the day?

If your dog only causes destruction in your home when he, or she, is left alone, the cause is most likely to be separation anxiety. In this instance, it is wise to reduce the amount of time the dog is left alone if possible and train him, or her, gradually to cope with your absence. In other words, leave the house for only a few minutes at a time. When you return, ensure that you praise the dog for good behavior. Gradually, increase the time that you spend away from the dog. In time, he, or she, should realize that you are not gone for good and will begin to relax.

Chew toys are important for a dog. However, always ensure that it is a safe toy that cannot be swallowed or splintered causing blockages or damage to the digestive tract. Bones, therefore, are advised against, as they can cause serious damage.

Make sure that your dog is getting daily exercise. If your dog is particularly energetic, you may need to increase the amount of exercise he, or she, gets. Lack of exercise can result in frustration and boredom, which will cause the dog to increase its chewing activity.

When you notice your dog chewing something that is off-limits, remove it from the item and offer a toy as a replacement. If your dog then happily chews his, or her, toy instead, be sure to provide lots of praise. In addition, it is wise to keep belongings, such as purses, shoes and newspapers out of the dog's reach.

If All Else Fails...

The above tips should, over time, make a dramatic difference to your dog's chewing activities. However, if you are worried for the safety of your dog when you are out of the house, then you may like to consider placing him, or her, in a crate.

Obviously, crating your pet is by no means an ideal solution, especially if it is for extended periods. Nevertheless, it is preferable to the dog sustaining serious or fatal injury through chewing dangerous items, such as electrical cords. If you plan to purchase a crate for your dog, ensure it is large enough for the dog to turn around, stand up and lay down. Additionally, it is a good idea to line the bottom of the crate with a soft blanket.

If the above training advice has not been successful, you may like to seek the assistance of a veterinarian or an animal behavior specialist.

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