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Help! My Dog is Chewing Everything!

Apr 16, 2008
Nearly every dog owner has had their dog chew up something they were not supposed to. It is easier than you might think to control the chewing. Usually puppies are the worst culprits for chewing anything in site, but even older dogs can be a problem. You can direct your dog to more appropriate activities and save your furniture, garbage and sanity!

First you should understand there are some very basic reasons that your dog chews. If your dog or puppy is getting in new teeth this can cause them to chew anything they can get a hold of to relieve the pressure and help bring the new teeth in. If your dog does not have enough activities he may chew because he is bored or has excess energy. Dogs that have excess energy will chew to relieve some of that pent up energy.. A dog may use his mouth to explore and find out more about things around him. Dogs like new smells and if something smells interesting he may chew on it just to satisfy his curiosity. Dogs may also chew because they are anxious when their owners leave.

So what can you do to stop the destructive chewing? First, you may need to confine your puppy or dog to a kennel or a secure room that does not have any inappropriate items for him to chew on. This confining may be temporary while you work on training him to know what is appropriate to chew on and what is not. You can keep him confined while you are away to protect them as well as your furnishings. There are many items you can get for your dog to chew on that are safe and will keep him entertained for long periods of time. Get several different toys or bones and change them periodically to keep him interested. Do not give your dog old socks, shoes or other household items to chew on. Your dog will not know the difference between an old pair of boots and new ones!

If your dogs chews because he is bored or has excess energy it is your job to make sure that he gets plenty of exercise when you are home so that he does not take out his frustrations in other ways. Make sure your dog gets plenty of time outside running and playing with you. Research to find out how much good exercise time per day your breed needs to be healthy and happy and make sure they get at least that much time in good solid exercise as well as relaxation time with you.

It is your job to dog proof the house as much as possible even when you are home. Keep tempting items such as socks, shoes, clothing or cords put away or out of reach of your dog. Keep approved chew toys and items he can have out where they are accessible so that it is easy for your dog to choose those items.

If your dog chews because he does not like it when you leave you can try to make your leaving as painless as possible by spending quality time with your dog before you leave and making sure you leave your scent on a special toy or bone. Make your leaving as inconspicuous as possible. Try to have your dog distracted with something they enjoy so they do not think so much about you being away.
Whenever you catch your dog chewing on something other than an appropriate toy take away the item and give him a chew toy and if he chews that praise him. Praise is always more effective than discipline when dealing with your dog. There are times for corrections however, so don't be afraid to say "No!" and take the inappropriate item away. Be firm but loving with correction, and always be liberal with praise.

You can teach your dog to ignore the items you do not want him to chew on by spending a little time working with him. Try setting out two items out that he might chew on and make sure one of them is something that you approve for him to chew. When he chooses the right item praise him, if he chooses the wrong one say "NO!" and point him to the correct chew toy. You can do this many times while you are in the room and they start trying it when you leave the room. Plan to come back and catch him in the act. If he is doing good praise him, if not, re-direct him to the correct item after saying "NO!"

If you are consistent with training your dog what is OK to chew on, confining him while you are away until he learns to be reliable and if you make sure that he has enough exercise you will have a happy dog who contributes to the joy in your home rather than making it a nightmare to come home to! Remember a happy dog is a well disciplined dog!
About the Author
Annette owns ACE Barkery which makes and ships a variety of healthy dog treats nationwide. They also offer a FREE Newsletter with dog health and training tips. Visit them at: ACE Barkery
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