If you are finding that your dog is excessively chewing inappropriate items, a good first step is to be sure there is food, water, and appropriate chewing alternatives provided.
Supplying a variety of chew toys can help alleviate boredom in a single toy or rawhide that might lead to gnawing on slippers or door frames.
Just as our preferences change throughout our lives, a dog might suddenly stop showing interest in a favorite type of chew toy in favor of another. Keeping this in mind, providing a small variety of toys such as rope pulls, hard rubber chew toys with pockets for treats, rawhides, and bones can all be a great idea for dogs.
We found the ultimate solution as far as distractions are concerned. The equivalent of a gym for your dog and an outlet for its frustrations.
Get a rope with two tennis balls on the ends and hang it from your rotary washing line. For Lulu our dog this left us with a calmer dog and fewer mangled garden items.
Some caretakers will leave on a television or a radio with music or programming playing to help negate any feelings of loneliness the dog might experience during long periods of separation like work days or overnight trips away.
Sometimes chewing happens even when we are home and there are plenty of toys around for alternatives. Be it boredom or anxiety, increasing the interactions with your dog could help to reduce anxiety and increased activity can help your pup get more rest and less chewing while inside your home.
Another solution that could help reduce destructive chewing is to reduce the area available to your dog. Confining your dog to a crate if indoors or a dog house or igloo if outdoors helps eliminate available targets for chewing. Always provide appropriate food, water, and toys for your dog while confined. This can be especially helpful for dogs that display separation anxiety while their caregiver is away or in certain situations like thunderstorms or other triggering events.
Using a deterrent can also help to protect things around your home or yard by emitting a smell or taste upon contact that drives the dog away from that area. Sprays and other remedies are commercially available over the counter, but there are also some household items that can be used as a deterrent to chewing such as chest vapor rub or vinegar sprays with essential oils. These can be applied to an object, like a water hose or fence post, that the dog has been showing a particular interest in to help eliminate the behavior.
Most importantly, checking in with a veterinarian to rule out any dental or other physical issues is essential in maintaining the quality and longevity of your dog’s life. If you find you have tried everything only to still find shoes destroyed or doorframes splintered, check in with a veterinarian to rule out anything serious. They can also provide a helpful insight into your dog’s behavior and might provide some additional steps you could take.
Seeking help from a professional dog trainer could be beneficial for on going or long seated chewing habits when all other options have been exhausted. They can provide specialized insight and recommendations for both your actions and the dog’s behavior. Having someone come into your space can help you pinpoint issues that are arising that you might be overlooking or are just not in tune with in a way that a professional would be.
Getting a solid plan in place is key to overcoming inappropriate chewing, both indoors and outside the home. Avoiding cost and injury is important for your pocketbook and health of your dog. Providing toys, making sure they are healthy and happy, and giving lots of opportunities to run and play, interacting with other dogs are all essential parts of a happy and healthy dog. What are some of the ways you have helped eliminate chewing behaviors with your dogs? What are some ways you suggest to prevent and eliminate these behaviors?