We’ve all experienced it- you run to the store and come home to find your favorite pair of shoes missing from the closet. A guilty-looking dog meets you at the door... Destructive chewing can be a big headache for everyone if you don't correct the behavior.
Fortunately, there are several easy ways to prevent destructive chewing. Here are 5 of our favorites:
If your dogs can’t reach an object, they are far less likely to chew on it. Crating can be a great way to train your pets. It’s also a great way to offer your pets needed safety and security while you’re away from home. Dogs can be crated for a few hours at a time, but should have a safe crate available to them at all times. However, you can not stick an non-crate-trained dog in a crate and expect it to adapt immediately. For more detail and instruction on properly crate training your dog, check out this guide, Crate Training 101. Safety gates are also valuable additions to a home and an alternative to crate training. They operate by keeping the dog safely contained in an area of the house that is “puppy proofed.”
2. Teach Dogs to Ignore Non-Toys
In many cases, dogs chew on non-toy items simply because they haven’t been taught what’s appropriate and what’s not. Here’s how to make your non-toys less appealing: Place several objects of varying levels of interest on the floor. These should consist of toys (balls, chews, squeaky and non-squeaky toys) as well as “non” toys (shoes, keys, etc.). Allow your dog to peruse the items and reward them with a click (or verbal reward, like "good boy!") and a treat when they pick up an allowed “toy”. When they pick up a non-toy, take the item away and do not offer a treat. It won’t take long for your dog to learn which items are appropriate and which are not.
3. Offer Chew Alternatives
Providing your dog with plenty of safe things they can chew will go a long way towards stopping the chewing of things they shouldn’t eat. Remember, chewing is a natural, normal behavior for dogs. Make sure your dog - and especially your teething puppy, has access to plenty of chewable items like long-lasting chew treats, bully sticks, antlers, a stuffed Kong toy, and the like. Keep in mind, your dogs should always be under supervision while they chew to avoid a choking hazard.
4. Smart Toys
Many dogs chew because they are bored. Selecting a smart toy can go a long ways towards stopping unwanted chewing. Favorites include puzzle feeders, chew toys or exercise toys. Toys that force your dog to use problem solving skills are an excellent way to both alleviate boredom and to provide important mental and physical exercise.
5. Anti-chewing Aids
If your dog simply isn’t getting it, try one of the many anti-chewing aids on the market. Bitter Apple spray is one of our favorites. A quick spritz of the spray on an object will often be enough to deter unwanted chewing. These anti-chewing aids are designed to make the object much less appealing to your pets. There are many anti-chewing aids that you can try but do your best to avoid anything with hot pepper spray or other negative reinforcement tools (such as a shock collar). There is no object more valuable than your dog’s health and happiness.
When destructive chewing is a result of separation anxiety, or when none of the methods above help, consult a professional trainer for additional advice. Besides ruining your possessions, destructive chewing can be dangerous for your furriest family members.
Do you have a favorite “stop chewing” method not mentioned above? Please, share your experiences in a comment below!
Source: The Dogington Post