Nipping Chewing in the Bud
Welcome to this issue in our newsletter! We will be discussing the problem of chewing in this issue and looking at different ways that it can be overcome!
It is very common for puppies to chew when they are teething. The act of chewing helps their teeth break through the gums. Older dogs, generally chew if they are bored or anxious.
If a dog is bored, it is because he has built up so much energy, but has run out of ways to exert it. So he finds something interesting to chew.
The only problem is, is that he doesn't know what is permissible to chew unless you have taught him. So the sooner you teach him, the less likely he will chew your household items.
A dog may also chew if he has been left alone and not within the comfort of his own crate. This is known as a "spite chewer." He is upset that you have left him so he will start chewing as soon as you leave.
By keeping your dog in a crate when you leave your house, you are not "punishing" him, rather you are keeping him in a safe and comfortable environment. You can place lots of fun chew toys in the crate to keep him occupied while you are away. If you don't keep him in a crate while you are gone and instead let him roam about, he will help himself to chew on anything he wants!
When you return home to find that your dog is in the act of chewing something he shouldn't be, give a sharp "no," but do not yell. Take the object away and ignore him for five to ten minutes. If you start to play with him or feed him, he will think he is being rewarded for the chewing.
If you don't catch your dog in the act of chewing, don't scold your dog, but instead ignore him. Some trainers recommend that you pick up the destroyed object and look at it angrily. However, you don't want your dog to misinterpret that as you are upset with him (even though you are!)
There are some proactive steps you can take to help eliminate the act of chewing. These steps can be used by puppies and adult dogs.
- Puppy-proof - As you learned earlier in this E-book, you need to puppy-proof your home. Even if your dog is older, you still need to take precautions to make potentially-destructive objects out of your dog's reach.
- Provide Toys - Make sure your dog has a plentiful selection of chew toys available to him at all times.
- Provide Sound - Instead of turning off the television or radio when you leave the house, turn them on. The extra background noise will help your dog feel more at ease.
- Increase Exercise - Providing your dog with frequent exercise will help him burn off excess energy that he could otherwise use towards items in your home.
It is your responsibility to initiate training to correct your dog's chewing problem. Practice this training by placing some inappropriate objects on the floor, such as a book, a shoe, etc.
As he approaches the inappropriate object, give the "leave it" command. Take the object away and replace it with a chew toy or bone. Once the dog starts chewing the chew toy or bone, praise him.
Practice this training exercise several times a day with many different inappropriate objects.
That's a wrap for this issue of our newsletter. Remember that if chewing or other behavior issues continue to be a problem, you can always learn more from good quality dog training resources.
Until next time, best of luck to you and your dog!
Sharda Baker has published several dog ebook and audios. Click here for more dog training help and advice.