One of the most common negative behaviors that dog owners encounter is destructive chewing. It is inevitable that at some point, you will come home to find a shoe or gnawed piece of furniture. However, just because it is a natural behavior for your dog doesn’t mean it can’t be stopped. Here are a few easy ways you can keep your pup from chewing on things he shouldn’t.
Understand the “Why”
First, to prevent destructive chewing, we must understand the cause. If you own a younger puppy, they may be teething and in need of gum stimulation to relieve pain. If you have an older dog with a chewing issue, they may have severe separation anxiety or be experiencing boredom. When you look at why your dog may be chewing, it can help pick the correct solution.
Provide Lots of Exercise
One of the common reasons that dogs turn to destructive chewing is a lack of exercise. They may have a lot of pent up energy and frustration. If you are going to be leaving your pup for an extended period of time, make sure to get in a walk beforehand. If that isn’t possible, have a friend or neighbor stop in during the day to let your pup out and provide some physical and mental stimulation. A few short walks throughout the day can make all the difference in preventing mindless chewing.
Make Toys Available and Your Things Unavailable
If your dog enjoys chewing on your shoes, keep them out of reach. Instead, make their toys readily available. Make sure to choose toys and chewing items that are distinguishable from your items. You can’t provide your dog with a chew toy that looks exactly like your shoes and then expect him to know the difference later on. Pick brightly-colored toys that look nothing like your items. By providing dog treats and toys that are chewing-specific, you can give your dog the mental and physical stimulation they need.
When your dog begins to chew on an item they aren’t supposed to, make a loud sound. Many dog owners swear by placing coins in an empty soda can and giving it a shake. This has to be done right when you see your dog chewing, not after the fact. Create the noise, tell your dog, “No!” in a firm voice. They will start to understand the association that chewing produces an unpleasant situation and will stop.
If you have tried these tips and you are still having chewing issues, consult a dog behavioral professional. They can help pinpoint your dog’s triggers and provide other possible solutions to prevent chewing.