Chewing is a matter of individual preference among dogs: some derive great pleasure from chewing and others just do it when they are extremely bored.
The phrase “destructive chewing” may sound redundant, because – by its very nature! – all chewing is destructive. With a mouthfull of sharp, pointy teeth: just about everything will show the effects of her chewing. To be clear when I use the phrase “destructive chewing” I am referring to chewing your possessions and house items instead of hers.
The three main reasons why dogs chew:
– Most dogs have a natural desire to chew. And really it’s fun and passes time a self-rewarding, self-reinforcing activity.)
Chewing is an outlet for a nervous bored or lonely dog. To an anxious dog, the repetitive act of chewing is soothing – it’s the doggie equivalent of comfort food.
If dogs are not exercised to burn up their excess energy they often turn to chewing to give themselves something to do.
– How to prevent bad chewing –
Dogs are perfectly capable of learning not to chew although it may take a little work at first.
1. Take control and manage your own possessions. Your first step should be to dog-proof your home. Even if she is well-behaved there is no reason to test her self-control – after all dogs explore the world with their mouth.
Dog-proofing your home means taking whatever you don’t want to end up in her mouth, and making it unavailable. Consider her size and agility when deciding whether something’s out of reach: can she jump? Can she climb on something to reach the desired object? How tall is she when standing on her back legs?
Small crunchy appliances such as cell phones, cameras and remote controls and eyewear, shoes and garbage are often targets in the home.
when food is at stake you will be surprised how easy she can get to it, all food needs to be put securely away!), put all food away. Rinse your dirty plates clean of any food scraps before leaving them by the sink.
2. Prevent her from learning the joys of illegal chewing. The more times she gets to have forbidden substances such as a pilow, shoes and carpet runners the more readily she will grab them in the future. If you can prevent her from chewing your stuff in the first place, it’s a lot easier for her to understand what you expect of her. In other words, this means confining her in a dog-proofed area until you are confident of her understanding the house rules.
3. Don’t set her up for failure by blurring the boundaries between her stuff (OK to chew) and your stuff (not OK to chew). If she has gotten caught with household articles then don’t give her similiar castoffs to play with, there is no way she would know the difference.
4. Give her lots of different, good tasting alternatives to your things. If she doesn’t have anything to play with, you can hardly blame her for targeting your possessions. Remember, most dogs need to chew; if she’s an adolescent (under three years) or a puppy (under one year), her needs will be even more pronounced. Pick up several toys and chews and give her more than one at a time. Rotating the available toys every few days will keep things novel and interesting for her.
5. Spend a lot of time in one on one supervision. Yes, it might be easier for you to just keep her penned up in her crate, run, or the yard – but that’s boring and horrible for her, and hardly much fun for you either (if you wanted a pet that you don’t need to interact with, you’d have got a goldfish, right?) She can not learn all that you expect of her if you keep her all boxed up in a dog-proof zone: she needs to be able to explore and have challengies so that she can understand what is appropriate and what is not.
6. When you catch her chewing something inappropriate, interrupt her by making a loud noise: clap your hands or make an “Ah-ah-aaaah!” noise. Then, immediately hand her a tasty and dog-appropriate alternative (a rawhide bone or other chew toy); as soon as her jaws close around it, praise her lavishly. Chewing “her” toys equals praise from you and every thing else is trouble.
– Maintain a productive attitude –
If nothing else, keep your expectation realistic. You’re not perfect, and neither is your dog: there’s likely to be at least one incident where a cherished item is damaged by her curiosity.
In the early stage of your relationship, she is still learning the ropes: it will take a while before she will be completely reliable.) Remember to give her time to learn the rules, and plenty of ‘you-time’ to help her learn faster – and don’t forget to take precautions and keep things out of reach until she’s got the hang of the chewing rules!
For more information on dog training techniques and how to deal with problem dog behavior (like chewing), check out Secrets to Dog Training. It’s the complete manual for dog ownership and is designed to fast-track your dog’s learning.
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