Most dog owners who own a dog or young puppy have experienced dogs and puppies destructive chewing at some point in their life. Their dogs will likely chew shoes, chair legs, corners of wooden tables, rugs or pretty much anything they can get their teeth into.
We must first remember that dogs and puppy chewing is a natural behavior. Although it’s not pleasant to experience especially when the chewing is destructive, however as a dog this is normal to them.
Why do dogs chew?
If you own a young puppy, chewing is likely as a result of teething. The puppy is likely trying to alleviate discomfort on their baby gums. It also helps them investigate certain items, it allows them to learn about certain objects feel, texture, taste. Its a huge component in their method of communicaiton. However, most puppies chew because its recreational and they just enjoy it.
When you have a dog that is older than a puppy, excessive or destructive chewing can be for different reasons. Mainly I would say recreation. When dogs are looking for ways to entertain themselves, chewing becomes recreational. Many older dogs chew out of boredom, and need a way to expel excess energy to help wear themselves out.
How to address destructive chewing
Its a fact all dogs and puppies either desire or need to chew. Therefore it’s important that we provide our dogs and puppies with items which we desire them to chew. Identifying what your dog or puppy enjoys is important and ensuring they have access to these chews daily will direct them to chew their appropriate items – bully sticks, tendons, soft rubber toys vs inappropriate items such as shoes, furniture, rugs etc.
Its always a good idea to have a variety of chew toys to ensure your dog does not get bored. I recommend selecting a chew toy or two and allocating to your dog or puppy daily. Rotating different chews each day. This will prevent boredom with the chew, and maintain interest each times it’s presented. It’s not recommended to leave chew toys laying around as this will result if a loss of interest in the items over time.
What else can you do?
If you have a dog or puppy that is an avid chewer. I would recommend you consider containing them when you are unable to supervise. You can use a crate, or an exercise pen. Prevention is better than a cure. Provide adequate training for your puppy.
Provide as much physical exercise for your dog or puppy as you can. Allowing them the opportunity to expel their physical energy will result in much less destructive behavior.
Tips for success!
Ensure the chew toys you are providing for your dog or puppy is something they really enjoy.
Provide more “food” based chews such as tendons, bully sticks, and other safer chew bones. These items are more likely to keep their interest than just rubber inedible toys.
Do not yell or scold your dog or puppy if they chew something inappropriate. Instead, remain as calm as you possibly can, and redirect your dog or puppy and ensure they never have the opportunity to engage in destructive chewing in the future.
Your dog is a dog. Do not expect him to know what you want him to do. Reward him especially when he is engaging in appropriate behavior at all times.