Chewing is a big one for most dog owners. Dogs will stick with chewing their items and toys, but some dogs just can’t help themselves when it comes to our clothes, children toys, themselves, our house etc.
First, let’s look at the different reasons why they might be chewing.
*Boredom/pent up energy
Now we look at the context of which the chewing is coming from.
*You leave them alone
*New environments/New things/situations in the house
*Lack of exercise
*Wanting to get your attention
Separation Anxiety can definitely pull out the teeth on your items. Chewing is a great stress reliever for all dogs. It works the muscles and makes them feel good. The chewing can vary by how intense their separation anxiety is. It can be just the simple chewed book, to your window and crate being demolished. If it’s the latter, please find a Positive Dog Trainer that specializes in Canine Learning Theory and Counter Conditioning to help with that issue.
When you leave your pup alone and they have a chewing problem when you leave, you have 2 options you can do: Crate him or Block and area off for him to be in (or pen). When you do either of these, you should always do Separation Work to help build confidence in your dog that you are coming back, and when you leave, leave chew toys, kongs filled with yummy treats and various other items that they enjoy. You can even leave paper products for him to purposefully destroy to relieve stress!
Sometimes new things will stress out a puppy. The reason they chew here is the same reason why they chew when being left alone. If you’re going to have company over and that stresses them out, remove them from the room to a quiet area and give them something to do that will mentally stimulate them.
Here’s a video going over how to start to prepare your dog to be left alone:
Anytime the chewing happens between the ages 7 weeks to about 8/9 months is most likely going to be related to teething. This stage, dogs are going to be looking for something to help relieve themselves of teething pains. Each dog has a personal preference as to what helps, but in general, a rope toy, a rubber toy with grooves, and a bone will certainly help with teething! If they don’t like rope toys, you can soak it in chicken or beef broth to entice him to chew.
Some dogs do chew for attention and self reinforcing behaviors. With this, you will have to have supervision on him to ensure he doesn’t get into anything you don’t want him to get. Have Bully Sticks and Kongs full of peanut butter or cream cheese to entice him to chew on those. Maybe a rope toy soaked in chicken or beef broth! Some dogs will take items from certain rooms because they have found that gets them attention! Whether it’s good or bad, dogs do what works and if it works for them, they do it again! If it’s a certain item like clothing with a scent (Maybe they seem to target someone in particular), try filling an old socks with fabric or other old socks and tie the end together and that will make a good re-directional toy for your dog to enjoy! Maybe there’s an old shoe that you don’t wear anymore, that can make a great chew as well! (If you teach them, you can teach them the difference between the items you want them to chew on and items you don’t, even if it’s the same type of item)
One good overall thing you can do to help reduce the chances of them chewing on something you don’t want is to exercise your pup. Dogs need at least 2 hours of physical and mental exercise each day (more for certain breeds). This will bring down anxiety and stress in dogs, and relieve pent up energy and curb boredom that causes chewing.
These are Not the reason why they are chewing:
*To have revenge
*Because they are mad.
*Just to prove a point/to purposefully do it
Dogs do not have complex feelings that humans have. People will sometimes put human reasoning on dogs to explain certain behaviors they see, especially chewing after an event. Most of the time, the result of the event is going to be one of the reasons listen above.
The type of toys you give to your dog should be a wide variety of sizes, thickness, and textures. Dogs can get bored of one type of toy just as easily as us humans do with certain things, so bringing in a variety of toys should also help curb their chewing habit as well!
You can also teach a wonderful alternate response by teaching them a very reliable drop cue! That way, even if they go to grab the item, you say the command, and they drop the item! Check out the video here:
Happy positive training!
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