Please Stop Chewing!
It’s a question we get all the time: “How do I make my dog stop chewing on X, Y, and Z?” The truth of the matter is that dogs are naturally inclined to chew. Dogs explore the world with their mouths the same way we explore and investigate with our hands. They also chew when left home alone because it’s something they enjoy doing! The problem comes when your dog decides that it would be fun to chew up your nice new pair of shoes. So what can you do to solve the problem?
First of all, you can prevent your dogs from chewing non-dog items by keeping them all out of his reach. You can make sure to put our shoes away on a shelf when you get home. If your dog likes paper, pick up a couple of trash cans with lids to keep him from getting at any Kleenex or napkins. If you need to, don’t be afraid to use a crate for your dog while he is learning what he can, and can’t, chew — just put his favorite toys (such as a stuffed bone or Kong) in his crate when you leave. And remember: a tired dog is a well behaved dog! Before you leave in the morning, take your dog to the park, go for a jog, or even play fetch in the house — get him running and panting any way you can.
Chew on THIS!
You also want to teach your dog what he’s allowed to chew on by providing plenty of alternatives. Have a good variety of types and textures of toys for your dog to play with and chew on. He will be less likely to get bored with what he has and more likely to find a fun toy to play with. Also, notice what your dog likes to chew. If he tends to chew on socks or gloves, make sure he has a nice plush (but durable) toy that he loves. If he starts to devour the baseboards in your home, get him a nice hard stuffed bone or an antler to chew on. You can use they toys (especially the plush ones) to play games like fetch or Tug of War to get him interested in the new toys — and to tire him out!
To help him learn what he can, and cannot, chew on you will want to keep a sharp eye on him so you can interrupt him when he goes for something he shouldn’t then refocus him on one of his toys. When you see him start to sniff or chew something other than his toy, simply tell him “uh-uh”, stop him from chewing and offer him one of his own toys. If you take a minute to play with him with his toy, he’ll turn his focus to his own toy more often. By using these three steps, you will be well on your way to teaching your dog what he can, and more importantly can’t, chew on!
If you notice that your dog primarily chews while you are gone, or tends towards more destructive chewing, it might be a sign of a larger issue. If you have questions or are concerned please give us a call at (617) 233-5496!
To learn more about Solving Problem Behaviors, check out Zen Dog Training Online!