Anybody with a dog can tell you stories of coming home to bits and pieces of chew up furniture and food wrappers covering the floor. Though this can be an expensive accident (like when my lab chewed a hole in our brand new couch) it can also be dangerous to the health of your dog. Dog don’t know what could potentially harm them and it is up to you to keep them safe. Before we get into the methods of stopping your dog from chewing first it is important to know why your dog chews.
Dogs chew for a variety of reasons one of the main reasons is boredom, dogs are social animals and when you are gone at work for an extended period of time, they don’t have anything else to do so they chew what’s around them. Separation anxiety is also a large cause of excessive chewing in puppies and grown dogs. Puppies when teething need something to relieve the pain and will resort to chewing everything in site, including your fingers! They also will chew when seeking attention and while awaiting your arrival home.
The easiest way to prevent your dog from chewing is by taking away everything that they might chew, if there isn’t anything around then there is no problem. This is much easier said then done, seeing as how most people don’t want to rid their house of all their furniture and food. The next step is to give your dog suitable chewing toys, they are going to chew either way but by giving them something that you find appropriate they can chew all they want without doing anything wrong. My big dogs love the, “Terradactyl Bones” (cow thighs). These bones last several months, can be left outside and only cost a few dollars. Before purchasing one be warned that they can create a mess so be sure to leave your dog somewhere a mess can be created, this can be the yard, a dog cage, a dog pen or a spare room. More common chew toys are made of rubber but won’t last as long as a bone. Be sure to provide your dog with multiple chew toys in case they don’t like one would just prefer a change. You can also buy toys in which food can be placed inside. This is a great reinforcer, it encourages your dog to chew the designated toy and quietly lay down while chewing.
After all the precaution and procedures above are followed, chances are your dog won’t stop chewing over night. Catching your dog in the act is the easiest way to let him know exactly what he is doing wrong. In a stern voice say, “No” and replace what he was chewing with a toy and then after your dog embraces they toy precede with praise. The worst thing you can do is scold your dog for something that he isn’t doing right then, he won’t remember what he did wrong and be confused as to why you are mad.
Remember your dog is just a dog, it doesn’t know what things are worth and will chew what ever it wants. As with all dog training the key is to reward good behavior, praise goes much further then scolding. If your dog continues to disobey trying keeping him in a dog cage, dog crate or dog pen while he is unsupervised, that way he can only chew what you give him.
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