Dogs are adorable beings. They can ease away your stress and make you feel like you’re never alone. However, once he starts chewing sofa cushions, favourite slippers, and the legs of your new wooden chair, they can surely test your patients. It can even make you think why you even decided to get a dog in the first place.
But, guess what?
Chewing is actually an acceptable behaviour, as long as your dog is chewing on the right things. We’ll get to that later but for now, check out these common reasons why dogs chew everything.
Dogs with separation anxiety chew things when left alone as a way to relieve stress. Apart from chewing, they may also bark, pace, and whine excessively. They may also pee and poo inside the house despite being trained not to do so.
Weaned Too Early
In general, dogs can be weaned at about 3 to 4 weeks of age. Dogs who were weaned too early has this tendency to suck, lick, and chew at fabrics.
If you notice that your dog has been sucking fabric for a long time and it has become difficult for you to distract him once he got his mouth on a fabric, you should consider the possibility of the behaviour being compulsive. With that, you can ask for the help of a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer who have the skills and experience in dealing with dogs with compulsive behaviours.
If you put a dog on a calorie-restricted diet, he might chew at objects as a way for him to find additional sources of nutrition. He will chew anything that smells like food.
Dogs chew as a way to relieve stress. So, when you leave him at home with another pet he doesn’t really like, he’ll resort to destructive chewing. The same thing can happen if he’s being teased by children from outside your home. In order to stop the chewing, you need to take him away from the things and situations that stress him out.
Ways to Stop Dogs From Chewing
While going home to see your shoes, tables, and chairs destroyed can be devastating, there are things you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Here are some of the best and most practical ways to stop your dog from chewing inappropriate things:
Deal with separation anxiety properly
Your dog having separation anxiety isn’t just bad for your furniture and plants. If you fail to deal with it properly, it can also compromise your dog’s safety. You see, dogs with such condition can do everything just to escape his room or crate- even to the point of self-injury.
There are obvious signs your dog has separation anxiety. This includes showing bad behaviours before you leave the house and while you are away.
If you aren’t sure if your dog has the condition, you can take him to the vet for proper assessment.
Engage your dog in exercise
Exercise is one of the things you shouldn’t deprive your dog of. Apart from being essential to your pet’s overall health, exercise also has a calming effect because of its ability to trigger the production of endorphins.
If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise and he’s chewing things all the time, there’s a good chance that he’s seeking a way to release his pent-up energy.
Apart from physical exercise, you should also provide mental stimulation to your dogs. You can do that through training or social visits.
Dog-Proof Your Home
While you are still addressing the behavior, consider managing your dog’s environment. Put your shoes in the closet and consider putting your puppies in a crate when you’re not there to supervise them. If possible, do the same thing with older dogs to keep them out of trouble.
You can do this tip when you’re at work during the day. Use a crate or place your dog in a small room with a baby gate or door closed. Take out all the things that your dog can chew in that area and provide him with a variety of chew toys instead.
Give Your Dog Some Chew Toys
When your dog is chewing on something inappropriate, interrupt him and redirect his attention to appropriate chew toys. That way, he’ll be able to satisfy his need to chew but it won’t be on things that are important to you.
Use Bad-Tasting Sprays
To keep your dog away from some items, you can use a bad-tasting spray. There are a lot of sprays in the market today so you have to be extra careful when choosing. Make sure that the one you choose has ingredients that are safe for dogs and that it’s not filled with harmful chemicals.
Always Be Gentle
No matter how annoying your dog can be, avoid punishing him. There are inhumane methods you can try to correct his behaviour but there’s no excuse to use them. Apart from that they are generally unfair to dogs, such methods are simply ineffective.
Interrupt the Behavior Immediately
Dogs have this tendency to live in the present. This means that any yelling or screaming you do after they’ve stopped chewing won’t have any effect in correcting the behaviour.
And even if your dog looks guilty, it doesn’t mean that he understands what you’re trying to say. Dogs look that way when being confronted because they don’t really like getting scolded and yelled at.
What You Should Never Do
As much as possible, do not spank or scold your dog for the damage he did minutes or even hours ago. He won’t be able to connect your punishment to an old mistake.
Never use a duct tape to keep your dog’s mouth closed for any length of time. This won’t teach your dog anything. It might even cause his death, just like others who have died from such punishment.
When placing your dog in a crate, do not leave him there for more than six hours just to prevent chewing. It will only make him more anxious.