Read this to discover how to stop a dog from chewing up your stuff.
Dogs just love chewing on things. They’ll spend hours working away at a bone or piece of rawhide. Nothing wrong with that I hear you say. But it becomes an entirely different matter when the object they decide to chew is your TV remote, your wallet, or your expensive new shoes. In one extreme case, I heard of, the dog, a black Lab, actually chewed through the tires on his owner’s car!
Now, while it is unusual for dog chewing to go that far, you have to expect your dog to chew on things. It’s what they do. You can’t stop a dog from chewing. The trick is training them so they know what they are allowed to chew and what they should leave alone. As with all things to do with dogs it is best to address this through consistent training, starting in puppyhood.
When a puppy is teething he’ll chew on everything he can get his teeth into. This gives you a unique opportunity to train him. Give him a puppy safe toy or strip of rawhide and he’ll quite happily gnaw away. Then, if you catch him chewing on anything else, replace it with the toy. Once he starts chewing on the toy, praise him, so that he begins to understand what he can and can’t chew.
Never shout at the puppy, or use physical punishment, if he chews on something he shouldn’t. You’ll just confuse him and possibly trigger other behavior problems. Another no-no is giving old shoes or articles of clothing to chew on. That is unless you want him to chew up your new pair of Gucci slippers the next time your back is turned.
Tips on How to Stop a Dog from Chewing
If you have a dog that chews through your favorite possessions like an out of control band-saw, there are a number of things you can do.
- Behavior Adjustment – As mentioned earlier, give the dog a chew toy to keep him occupied. Then set clear boundaries as to what he can and cannot chew. It also helps to apply common sense and keep valuable items out of reach, in much the same way as you’d clear away items when you have a baby that is learning to walk.
- Keep Your Dog Busy – Dogs that are bored often turn to destructive behavior whether that is chewing, digging or problem barking. If you want to stop a dog from chewing it is important to keep him occupied. Make sure your dog gets regular walks and games. Consider involving him in canine sports like flyball and agility, and when you away make sure there are toys to keep him occupied.
- Dog Training – Your dog also needs plenty of mental stimulation. The best way to do this is through training. Start training your puppy from the time you bring him home. You’ll be rewarded with a calm, submissive, balanced and obedient dog.
- Crate Training – Crate training is a good way to stop a dog from chewing up your stuff when you’re not around. The right way to do this is to train your dog so that he enjoys being in the crate, and spends most of his time there when you’re not home. The wrong way is to just lock him in the crate every time you go out. You’ll just trigger other destructive behaviors.
- Aversion Sprays – There are a number of human aversion sprays, like Bitter Apple or Cayenne Pepper, on the market. These have an unpleasant taste and smell to the dog, and will keep him away from your valuable possessions.
Although they may stop a dog from chewing your stuff, you should only use these sprays if you have given the other methods listed above a serious work-out and have not succeeded.
Chewing is natural to a dog, so your aim should not be to stop a dog from chewing, but on training him to only chew on objects that you allow him to.