As a dog owner, you know that your dog is going to have an accident in the house or bark loudly at the doorbell. But one of the worst "bad dog" behaviors is chewing. Not only can chewing cause damage to your favorite items or your property but there is a risk of your dog harming himself. So how do you prevent your furry baby from chewing up your shoes or sofa cushion?
Let's Face it: Dogs Chew
It’s important to know that chewing behavior is normal. As puppies, they explore their world by putting objects in their mouths. While they have incredible hearing and sense of smell, they also use their sense of taste to understand their surroundings. You’ll want to start from an early age (if possible) to teach them only to chew on approved items like toys and treats. Training your dog will help set the right expectations, and they’ll learn that your shoes and their plushy pig are for different purposes.
There is a difference between exploring their world and identifying destructive behaviors. You should learn to know the difference in your dog’s behavior. When your dog has reached adulthood, it’s reasonable to expect that they will have learned to chew on toys or treats but not on household or personal objects.
These are destructive tendencies that can be symptoms of boredom, separation anxiety, or they are simply seeking more attention from you. They could also be in a stressful or fearful situation. When your dog starts chewing, it’s a telltale warning sign that something might be happening with your dog and they need your immediate attention.
How do you avoid chewing behaviors?
When your dog is in an area where you have valuable belongings that you would sorely miss if chewed up, make sure you can watch and stop them before they're damaged. Or if you can’t supervise them at the moment, move them away from places like your bedroom or the living room where you have those beautiful sofa cushions.
A baby gate can come in handy when you need to block off areas from your dog.
If your dog is bored easily or has lots of energy, you can ensure they don’t resort to destructive chewing behaviors by giving them plenty of exercise. And this isn’t just putting them outside and letting them entertain themselves. They could still be harmful to your property if they need additional people time.
Is your dog super playful and social? There are often doggie daycare centers that are an excellent option for dogs to socialize and get out all that pent-up energy. You might also enlist the help of a dog walker to come by a few times during the week to let your dog out and to shower them with love and attention.
Plenty of Attention
One of the most common reasons why dogs chew is because they are social creatures and might feel lonely. If you work out of the home and only spend a few hours in the evening at home, chances are you’re busy getting dinner ready or getting the kids to bed. Sometimes our four-legged buddies are ignored and forgotten until the end of the night. Make sure they’re getting plenty of attention, so they don’t feel neglected or overly anxious.
If you can find time in your busy routine to take them for a walk when you check the mail or stopping by the dog park a couple of times a week if you have to run an errand, then you can easily make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise and attention.
Toys, Toys, Toys
In addition to giving them plenty of attention, you can reinforce the training you started as a puppy, by teaching them at this stage that chewing on their own toys is ”mommy/daddy-approved. Giving them a toy and praising them when they chew on the toy is an excellent way to train them which items are okay to chew and which ones are not. If you see them heading for an object that isn’t chewable, redirect them back to their toys.
“ Chasing is fun, and it can reinforce that the object is indeed a toy...
As a word of caution, don’t rush or chase the dog when you’re trying to train them with which items they can play. Chasing is fun, and it can reinforce that the object is indeed a toy and they’ll want to chew it more.
Seek outside help
If you continue to have problems, you can reach out to a dog trainer or a family friend who has had experience with destructive behaviors. There are also sprays and other chew deterrent products available you can try if you feel your dog is simply not getting it. Our Chewblocker wrap is perfect on doggie paws to cover injuries or bandages. Try wrapping some around your favorite sneakers to keep them out of the dog’s mouth!
You can get creative and try a few different things to see what works best for you and your dog. If you have any tips on what has worked for you, please let us know! Share with us on Instagram using #ARROWHEADPETS.