HOW TO STOP YOUR DOG CHEWING YOUR HOUSE DOWN
Unwanted chewing is one of the most destructive behaviours young dogs exhibit. I am sharing my experience on how to stop your dog chewing because not only is it a huge irritant having to carefully hide your shoes somewhere where the dog won’t get at them, destructive chewing can leave your house looking like a bomb site.
I have seen it all in my house. Tiger gnawed at table legs, pillows, shoes and in one instance, literally chewed up my daughter’s homework (I have no idea how she got the teacher to believe that excuse).
For dogs, their mouths are a way of exploring the world. For this reason, destructive chewing often manifests itself in younger dogs that are still getting to know the world and their place in it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put a stop to it.
BE AWARE OF WHEN AND WHAT THEY CHEW
Are there any patterns to the dogs chewing? What time of day does it occur? Does it happen when he or she is anxious? Or excited? What do they prefer to chew? If the chewing is limited to shoes, then you can keep them out of reach and the problem might be solved, but it’s a little more difficult keeping a dining room table or a sofa out of reach of your dog.
REDIRECT THE CHEWING
Every time your dog is about to chew up something, thrust a bone at them instead and redirect the behaviour. If you have already noticed patterns in their chewing, you can preempt it and have a toy or bone ready. Reward the dog with a treat when they chew the alternative rather than the furniture. The dog should begin to learn the boundaries of what is theirs to chew and what is not.
Some people use old shoes or socks to redirect the chewing and assign this as “the dog’s sock”. I don’t agree with this strategy and feel it has limited success because it teaches the dog that it is okay to chew on shoes and socks. By redirecting the chewing to something else, the dog is under no illusion that it is ever okay to chew shoes and socks. It seems that everyone is a little obsessed with chewing toys, but I haven’t found anything more than a dog bone that Tiger loves to chew – my butchers are happy to throw in a few good bones when I’m ordering my meats.
TIRE THEM OUT
Sometimes destructive chewing is a manifestation of too much energy. Ensure your dog is getting enough walks and exercise. If the dog looks like they are starting to chew, you can play with them to redirect their attention and tire them out. Hopefully, once they have been exercised they will be too exhausted to go back to tearing the house up.
WHEN YOU AREN’T AROUND
Most dogs chew when their owners aren’t around. Tiger loved to do this. Every time we walked in the house it was like a game to find what possession he had destroyed. This is because the dog is bored, or because the dog is anxious by your absence. We began locking Tiger in the kitchen with the radio on when we left the house. The damage was therefore contained and the voices helped him relax. Another good idea is to leave them with your scent. If you rub his toys and blanket across your arms it might reduce the anxiety felt by your absence. This is also something you can do with a durable dog bed. Durable in the way it is made and durable because your dog loves it; these 2 factors come hand in hand.
PROTECT YOUR FURNITURE WITH REPELLENT
If you are concerned about a particular piece of furniture, you can spray it down with dog repellant sprays. These leave a bad taste in the dog’s mouth if they try to chew the coated furniture, which also reinforces the idea of what is theirs to chew and what is not.
Do you have any tips to stop your dog chewing everything to pieces? We’d love you to share your experience and knowledge with the growing community at OnDECK by DINGA Online.