Wondering how to cure your dog’s chewing problems for good? We’ve got some tips to help Fido develop better habits.
Dog Psychology 101
Puppies are similar to humans in that they use their mouths to explore their new world. 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 might surprise you to learn that dogs don’t chew to spite us, but they love scents that remind them of their owners, which is why your shoes and sports equipment prove tempting. They also live in the moment, so won’t connect their destruction with your anger and 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:
- Natural instinct
- To relieve anxiety or fear
- To seek attention
- Lack of training
How to Stop a Dog from Chewing
Because dogs don’t understand right from wrong or connect your anger and discipline to their actions (like chewing up your shoes), they won’t understand or change their behavior after being punished. So don’t spank, scold, or muzzle them. Instead, try these:
Exercise and stimulation
A tired puppy or dog is a happy one. Learn your pooch’s energy levels and needs and tailor exercise and playtime to him. Use 20 to 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise as a benchmark, unless they have a medical problem that prevents this.
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 behavior you don’t want to continue
When your puppy nips your fingers, shriek, pull back, and leave the room. When your dog snatches a valuable item and runs off, quell the urge to chase him. Instead, call him to you and offer a treat or toy in exchange for the item being chewed.
How your vet can help
Fortunately, excessive dog chewing behavior dwindles by around 18 months of age for most, but will likely continue to some degree, depending on your dog’s breed and other factors, for their entire life. If you see excessive chewing, consult your veterinarian. 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.
Need to get your dog's chewing problems under control? Contact our Memphis vets to book an appointment today.
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