Lets face it…dog chewing problems are a very common destructive dog behavior. Contrary to what many people think, dogs don’t chew on things to get back at their owners. So why do dogs engage in destructive chewing?
Dogs need to chew to keep their teeth and jaws strong and healthy. They also chew to keep themselves occupied when they’re by themselves. Puppies chew when they’re teething.
You can see that chewing isn’t really the problem. However, destructive chewing, where the dog chews on and destroys items belonging to the owner, is a big problem for many dog lovers. If your pup is showing this destructive dog behavior, it’s up to you to teach him what’s OK to chew on, and what’s off limits. You can stop dog chewing by using these four steps.
Prevention Is The Key
Your dog doesn’t know that he’s not supposed to chew on everything. You can nip many dog chewing problems in the bud simply by dog-proofing your home, especially if you’re bringing a new puppy home. Don’t tempt him by leaving things like shoes, cell phones, tv remotes, books, and eyeglasses within his reach.
Consider your dog’s size and agility when you’re putting things away. Be sure to put things on a high shelf that he can’t reach them, or store things in a closed cabinet that he can’t open.
Don’t confuse your dog by giving him your old shoes or clothing or towels to chew on. He doesn’t know the difference between an old sneaker and your new running shoes.
Interrupt Him When You Catch Him In The Act
“Drop it” should be one of the first commands you teach your dog. Anytime you see him pick up something in his mouth that he shouldn’t, immediately command him to “drop it.” This is how he’ll learn which items are off-limits for chewing.
Redirect Your Dog’s Attention To An Appropriate Chew Toy
As soon as your dog drops the forbidden item, immediately offer him a favorite chew toy. The best chew toys encourage active play, and they help to keep your dog occupied for a long time. Look for toys that you can stuff with peanut butter or another treat he loves.
Praise Your Good Boy!
Don’t ever forget this step. Your dog lives for your praise. Always be sure to notice when he’s doing the right thing, and let him know how happy you are with him.
Dog Chewing Problems Can Be A Thing Of The Past
By using these four steps, prevention, interruption, redirection, and praise, you can often end this bad dog habit. Remember that chewing itself isn’t the problem, but that destructive chewing needs to be stopped.