You get torn slippers rick-racked with teeth marks around when you forget to keep them from your puppy’s reach. Everyday another item gets chewed. Chewing is a natural dog behaviour. You cannot stop chewing but you can redirect this behaviour to other activities to keep your dog from chewing things around your home.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
Chewing occurs for a number of reasons, but you should know that it will happen no matter what you do. Your goal should be to direct it toward the right mediums and to minimize it where it can cause destruction. Even then, some dogs may just be psychologically wired to chew more than others. That is when you‟ll need to make adjustments to their environment to reduce what they have access to.
The Reason Why You Need to Stop Puppy Chewing
Many dog owners tolerate chewing on anything while their dogs are young or shout at them whenever they please. This is confusing for the puppy and may develop into other dog problems. The right way to respond is somewhere in between. Make your puppy understand that chewing on things in the house is wrong and there are activities good for him other than chewing.
How to Stop your Puppy Chewing
Anytime is a good time to stop your puppy from chewing; it can be done in several ways. To begin with, you should not punish or yell at your puppy. It may be hard to hold your temper when you see things destroyed but it will only make him confused and scared without getting that he did something wrong. Here are some positive and simple Puppy Training tips you can apply.
• Redirect the behaviour – Since it is a natural behaviour, you can train him to chew only on the things he is allowed to chew on. Once your puppy starts on your slippers, replace with a puppy toy and praise him when he accepts chewing on his toy. This is teaching him that it is wrong to chew on the slippers and the toy is the right one.
• Keep Your dog Busy – Boredom is another reason why your puppy chews on things. Even after teething a puppy has the urge to chew because he is bored; the same when you’re bored doing nothing. You can prevent this dog behaviour by giving your puppy a lot of exercise. You can do it by walking, jogging or playing with him. Leave him with his toys to keep him occupied while you’re away from home.
• Crate – This is an effective puppy training which limits your puppy’s access to your home. If you want to confine him in a small room, that will also serve the same purpose. And don’t forget to leave his toys for him to play with.
• Aversion method – Your expensive carpet and other items can escape your puppy’s chewing if you can coat them with some bad tasting pepper or bitter sprays. The items will be associated with the bad taste and your puppy will refrain from chewing on them.
The success of stopping your puppy from destructive chewing lies on you as his teacher. Being consistent is a must. If you want your pup to stop chewing, apply the necessary training and be strict enough to set the rules and follow them. Your puppy learns quickly if you as the leader of the pack are consistent.
Now, you know that chewing is a normal behaviour which can be corrected through redirecting, enough exercise, and the use of crate and aversion method. You cannot totally eliminate this behaviour but being consistent is very important to grow your puppy with less problems.
Potential Health Concerns
Something to keep in mind when your dog chews chronically is that there are certain health conditions that lead a dog to chew on things like plastic or rubber, or to swallow items whole in place of palatable food. This isn‟t just a dog acting out. This is an issue that should be addressed by your vet as it can lead to poisoning or intestinal blockage. If your dog eats a coin or a rubber band once, you may be able to chalk it up as an accident. If it occurs repeatedly and cannot be curbed with sprays or training, see a vet to learn what options you have.
Puppies Chewing Behavior
Puppies have very good reasons why “chewing” is the number one issue that can drive their owners like crazy. Let’s talk about the details on dog chewing and how to control this behavior. There are 2 main reasons why dogs chew. They are teething and boredom.
Teething- is a stage that will be outgrown by all dogs. Your dog will start teething at the age of 3 weeks and will last for months. Before you bring home a puppy be sure you are ready for this phase in his life because as you deal with it, it will seem like forever. This is when he is undergoing uncontrollable feeling that he wants to get his teeth on anything. He will chew on everything the he gets on such as slippers, shoes, carpets, cords and your toes, fingers, clothes and all!
The puppy feels pain and discomfort during this process of teething that he wants to find comfort in any way possible. Now that you understand what your dog is going through, it’s your turn to provide relief in your controlled ways in order to stop things from getting destroyed from chewing. You can do it by providing your puppy with dog toys designed for teething purposes. It is not plainly tossing a toy to him but it must be;
1. Cold from the freezer: A cold toy will soothe the pains of teething. Get a teething dog toy especially made to be placed in the freezer.
2. With the appropriate shape: The toy must be able to reach inner areas of the mouth or else it does not serve its purpose. The correct teething toys have tentacles to make it easy for the dog to move inside his mouth where he feels discomfort.
Boredom- if you leave your puppy alone most of the time and hope that he will be contented by simply laying around you are mistaken! He needs activity and socialization everyday to make him happy and well adjusted to his environment. Your dog will display his destructive chewing behavior if he does not get proper stimulation.
Interaction takes place when you take him for walks, by feeding, playing, grooming and even when just resting his head on your lap to make him feel he belongs. When you give toys to your dog be sure to rotate them to avoid boredom from seeing the same toys every day. Tuck away some of them while some are left out for him to play with. After a few days or so, switch them.
When training your puppy to stop destructive chewing, give a big display of praise for obedience as if he just did the greatest act in his life. After a few weeks he will be able to grasp what actions please his master and what don’t. He wants to please you and he wants to be happy too, that’s why he will behave.
Deterrents from Chewing
If your dog continuously finds new things to chew around your home, there are other pro-active ways to stop the chewing behaviour. To start with, there are sprays sold by most pet stores that are unpleasant to a dog when they chew.
Bitter apple spray works for many dogs, as does cayenne pepper spray. Make sure to get something organic and non-chemically laden. It should be humane, and just taste bad. You don‟t want it to cause physical pain.
This kind of deterrent is especially useful for a dog that has a habit of chewing on carpets or cushions and clothing. Additionally, you should teach your dog to “leave it”. This common command forces your dog to drop what they are doing immediately, as you take control of the item. It is an alpha leadership command that is very important for a dog when you take them out of the house. The last thing you want is a dog with a home bone or a dead animal in its mouth that will not drop it. The “leave it” command can be taught with treats or a clicker, and a whole lot of patience.
Retraining a Dog’s Instinct to Chew
First, know that most dogs learn their chewing behaviours as puppies. When teething, they seek out anything in sight to chew on. Owners who give them old socks, shoes, or toys from the house are basically telling them that those items are okay. If your adult dog is constantly raiding your closet for shoes or old t-shirts, try to remember if you did this when they were young.
Even if you did not give your puppy household items to chew on, you‟ll need to retrain them to understand that those items are not okay to chew on. Simply yelling at the dog will almost never have a positive impact. They are doing something natural and until you show them that your belongings are not okay to chew on, the behaviour will not stop.
To start, you may consider crate training your dog.
By removing the dog from an environment as large as your home, you can control what they do when you‟re not home. To that end, when you are at home, make sure you have a chewing substitute to hand them when they start chewing on a shoe, or a cushion, or whatever else in
your home they gravitate towards. A rawhide is often a good substitute if they like leather, fabric, or suede. Some dogs are partial toward rawhide, however, so you may want to take them to the pet store with you and have them choose a chew toy from the racks there.
Feeding Your Dog
Another major issue people have with their dogs is food aggression or overexcitement. Learning how to feed your dog and how to deal with food aggression issues will go a long way toward saving yourself some energy.
Dogs need to earn their food. This is a fundamental aspect of their psychology. As animals, they are used to hunting and tracking to get their food and then being rewarded with it, only after they’ve completed a hard task. When possible, you should do the same thing for them. Playing games, making them sit, or feeding them after they come inside will all be helpful in this regard.
Make them wait for their food until they are calm and submissive. This will remove many of the seemingly demanding behaviours a dog can exhibit when waiting for food – the barking, the jumping, and the aggression towards other pets. This will also reward them once the food is given. You’re challenging them to remain calm and relaxed after they are fed.
It’s also possible to reduce their fixation on the food by requiring their attention be on you rather than the food dish. You do not need to deny them the food, but the same as you do when you walk them – require their attention so they don’t fixate on other animals or people – you should get them to focus on you rather than the food.
Aggressiveness with food is a big issue and always has warning signs.
If the dog tries to cover the dish, their hair rises on their back, or you see their teeth when you or another pet comes near the dish, you may have a problem. These are specific messages from your dog saying “this is my food, leave it alone”. If you have multiple dogs, there are a few solutions. You can feed them at the same time, separately, or you can feed only the calm, submissive dog first, when he relaxes. This teaches the other dogs that submission will earn them the reward of the food.
If the dog is aggressive towards you, be extremely careful. Even the calmest, happiest dog in the world, when they have food aggression, can become dangerous. Never give them affection to stop the behaviour, as you’ll only reinforce that behaviour. Waiting for food can be a good tool here, but if you cannot get it to go away, you may need to find an expert to help relieve the problem.