Have you ever come home to a chewed-up couch, shredded pillows on the floor, and trash all over the place? After your long, tiring day, doing major housekeeping is the last thing you’d want to do. Mitigate destructive canine behavior by getting to the root of the problem, and prevent these situations from happening again in the future.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
Dogs resort to chewing for multiple reasons. But contrary to what you may believe, chewing is actually normal behavior for dogs. Among adult dogs, chewing is a way of maintaining strong jaws and cleaning their chompers. Among puppies, chewing is a way of relieving pain when they start teething.
However, when you notice excessive chewing that already often results in frequent damages at home, this may indicate an underlying problem with your pooch.
Most of the time, destructive chewing is caused by boredom. Being always confined at home and rarely being exposed to outdoor stimuli can trigger the behavior. The same can result from a lack of exercise. If your dog does not have a regular walking routine, chances are, the pent-up energy can accumulate and be easily misdirected into destructive behavior.
Separation anxiety and hunger are also other possible reasons your dog can’t stop chewing on things.
Tips for how to manage or stop your dog’s destructive chewing.
Restrict Entry in Certain Areas
Prevent your dog from accessing areas where there are expensive equipment and other important items. Designate a place in the house where the dogs can still freely move around and have fun. Put toys and food items that they can chew on.
Use Natural, Edible Chews
If your dog is an aggressive chewer, it’s only a matter of time before he starts gobbling up a table leg, a shoe, or the carpet rug. Excessive biting of hard items can harm their teeth and gums. After you diagnose the behavior, see to it that it gets directed toward appropriate items.
Bully sticks are the most common edible chews that dogs absolutely love. Just make sure that you keep your aggressive chewer away from other dogs in the house. They may feel threatened, eat the chews in a hurry, and choke on them if there are other dogs around.
Settle into a Walking Routine
Just spending 30 minutes walking around the block with your dog daily can do a great deal of good to a possibly anxious pooch. When you take them out for a walk, they are exposed to a variety of mental and physical stimuli that are not available at home.
Walking will help channel pent-up energy and even help both of you get your much-needed daily dose of exercise. It’s also a great opportunity to socialize and maybe even get them started with obedience training.
Using chewing deterrents every time your dog resorts to destructive chewing can help discourage them from chewing on certain items of interest.
This works by negative association. When you catch your dog chewing on random objects inside or around the house, give them a small amount of the deterrent. They will associate the object with the unpleasant taste or smell of the deterrent and, thus, will eventually stay away from the objects as chewing potentials.
Use Closed Hampers or Trash Bins
A lot of bored dogs like raiding hampers and trash baskets to search for some interesting chewing items. This is potentially dangerous as fabric and sanitary items can wreak havoc in your dog’s digestive system when ingested.
With this in mind, it’s favorable to secure hampers with lids and trash bins that have top covers. This precautionary measure may seem simple but can save you a lot of trouble when it comes to keeping guard of your dog’s health.
Teaching your dog not to tear up things in the house requires an adequate amount of patience and willful eagerness to really understand what pushes them to resort to biting.
It can take some time, depending on the dog. Regardless, the most important thing to remember is to not turn to hurtful punishments in order to discourage the behavior. Your dog may not associate the punishment with the behavior and can get trauma from the treatment. Instead, reward good behavior with extra petting, playing, or giving them an assortment of doggie treats! (Did you know I have a cookbook for homemade dog treats?)
If the behavior continues and does not show any sign of abating, set up an appointment with your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist to identify problems.
Authors Bio: Emma Nolan is a blogger, writer, and dog parent to three adorable black Labradoodles. She likes strolling outdoors with her lovable fur babies when not writing about them.