How to Teach Your Dog to Stop Chewing
Dogs love to chew. It’s a fact. You need to mentally prepare yourself for it when you get a dog. However, does this mean you can’t do anything about it? No, you can teach your dog to stop chewing. It will take some time and a lot of effort, but you and your dog will get there.
Before you start thinking about how to make your dog stop chewing, you first need to understand why it is doing what it is doing in the first place. You see, while dogs love to chew, there are different reasons for this. Sometimes, this habit borderlines on being destructive. You must understand their reasons for chewing first.
Understanding the Why
Let’s start with puppies. You can view puppies like human infants. Just like a baby loves putting everything in their mouth, the same holds true for puppies. Like babies, they undergo the teething process for the first six months. Here, chewing aids in making their gums feel better. Chewing is actually helping them out. Therefore, rather than preventing it, you need to give them chew toys to ensure they don’t chew off your furniture.
When it comes to adult dogs, the causes are much more complex. Generally, adult dogs don’t just chew; they are destructive about it. Some causes of destructive chewing are:
- They never learned what not to chew.
- They are bored and unstimulated.
- They are suffering from separation anxiety from their previous owner, other dogs, or even their old home.
- They are scared of something.
- They need attention.
Except for separation anxiety and fear-related problems, you can fix these issues on your own.
Tips to Prevent Excessive Chewing
Here is how you can prevent your dog from chewing off everything you own.
Puppy Proof Your House
Training your dog appropriate behavior isn’t something you can do overnight. While you are dealing with the problem at a deeper level, you need to protect your house as well. How would you do so? Simple. Just like you baby proof your house when your baby is old enough to crawl, you must puppy proof your house the moment your doggo steps into your life.
All cleaners and chemicals should be placed in cabinets or at a height that is unreachable for your dog. Don’t keep any plants that are toxic, or place them beyond their reach as well. Cover electrical cords and try to attach them in a way that makes them inaccessible. All in all, anything that might appeal to your doggo should be kept in places inaccessible to it.
Teach the “Drop” Command
One way to ensure that your dog doesn’t chew your possessions is to teach it the “drop” command. This command will ensure that your pet drops whatever is in its mouth when you tell it to. If you add a stern “no” into the mix, it would be able to identify sooner or later what things might get it into trouble. For example, when you see that your dog is trying to reach a toy, say “no” and hold your hand up. Have a stern tone. The chances are that they will learn that the given behavior is not acceptable.
Tell Your Pet What to Chew
One of the reasons puppies chew everything and anything is because they don’t know any better. Just like a baby doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong, neither does a dog. You are responsible for teaching everything.
You need to tell your pet what is acceptable for it to chew and what is not. To begin, make sure that your belongings are not accessible for your dog to chew in the first place. Then, provide it with dog toys and chews and encourage it to play with it. One way to do so is to make them a part of a game. For instance, play fetch with these toys so that your dog would know that the chew toys are its possession and okay to play with.
Until it learns the house rules (i.e. what to chew and what not to), supervise it. Interact with your pet a lot. More time with people will give it the attention it needs. This will make sure that it doesn’t release its boredom by chewing things. This is also the biggest problem with dog crates. If your dog is closed in such a tiny place, he starts to get bored and destroy everything he has there.
Have a Good Reward System
Rewarding your doggo for appropriate behavior is the only way to get it to behave nicely. Positive reinforcement alters animal’s behavior like no other. You can change this reward system to prevent chewing as well. For example, you can teach it not to chew certain things by pairing it up with a “no” command. Each time your dog complies and stays put, give it a treat and pet it.
Be Careful of What Toys You Give
If your dogs are into excessive chewing, giving them just any dog toy would not suffice. Instead, it might end up causing them harm. This is because destructive chewing often doesn’t end well for the toy. If the toy is made up of small parts or something that can get stuck in a dog’s throat, it can lead to a choking disaster.
Hence, only opt for resistant, soft and plush chew toys. Pick the toys wisely. Take help from the salesperson or the vet if you have to.
Having a pet is not all fun and games. Training your dog can seem hard at first, but if you put in the effort, you will reap rewards. Teaching your dog to stop chewing may not be the solution in all cases. For instance, for puppies who are teething, it might not be a viable option. However, in other instances, you can make them stop.
Make sure you remain patient. Be thorough and don’t leave any of your precious possessions lying around. Train your pet repeatedly. Slowly, it will listen to you. Its excessive chewing will stop or at least become tamed. Wait for it to happen.