Wondering how to cure your dog’s chewing problems for good? We’ve got some tips for your dog to develop better habits.
Dog Psychology 101
Puppies, like humans, use their mouths to explore their new surroundings. This can lead to them eating almost anything in sight, from paper and smelly old shoes to furniture, electrical cords, toxic plants...and that new purse you bought.
It may surprise you to learn that dogs do not chew to spite us, but they do enjoy scents that remind them of their owners. This is why your shoes and sports equipment are appealing. They, too, live in the moment and will not associate destruction with your rage or any subsequent discipline.
Reasons Your Dog Chews
Believe it or not, your dog doesn’t chew to spite you. There are many reasons this behavior may persist, including:
- To relieve anxiety or fear
- To seek attention
- Lack of training
How to Stop a Dog from Chewing
Dogs will not understand or change their behavior after being punished. They do not understand right from wrong or connect your anger and discipline to their actions (such as chewing up your shoes). As a result, don't spank, scold, or muzzle them. Instead, consider the following:
Exercise and stimulation
A happy puppy or dog is tired. Learn about your dog's energy levels and needs, and then tailor its exercise and playtime. Unless they have a medical condition that prevents them from doing so, set a goal of 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day.
Training and supervision
Puppies need to learn good habits and what not to do, so close supervision at home is key.
Keep valuables tucked away
“Dog-proof” your home. Got some new Valentino pumps or golf shoes you’d rather keep free of your dog’s chompers? Put them in a place they can’t reach.
Do not reward the behavior you don’t want to continue
Scream, pull back or leave the room if your puppy nips your fingers. When your dog steals something valuable and flees, resist the urge to chase him. Instead, call him over and offer him a treat or toy in exchange for the item.
How your vet can help
Fortunately, most dogs' excessive chewing behavior fades by 18 months of age. But, it will likely persist, to some extent, for the rest of their lives depending on your dog's breed and other factors. Consult your veterinarian if you notice excessive chewing. They can:
- Check for medical reasons your dog might be chewing and provide treatment
- Advise whether you should let certain items pass, when your dog needs to come in for an exam and when you should induce vomiting if he or she has chewed an inappropriate item
- Provide advice and pointers for modifying your dog’s behavior
- Suggest appropriate chew toys, treats, deterrents, or training methods
At StageRoad Animal Hospital we can perform a full health checkup and provide advice on how to solve this frustrating problem.