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How To Stop Dogs Chewing Everything

Bringing a new pup home will always be incredibly exciting and a huge amount of fun, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it won’t be a big adjustment for all who live in the house, human and canine alike.

Dogs are sure to test their boundaries and they’re sure to test your patience at the same time, with lots of undesirable behaviours likely to crop up week by week, month by month. 

Aside from the obvious issues like toilet training and learning essential commands like sit, stay and come, something else that you’ll probably want to put at the top of the to-do list is getting their chewing under control.

Why do dogs chew?

Now, it’s important to note that not all chewing is problematic behaviour. In fact, chewing is entirely innate and natural for dogs to do, particularly when they’re young pups and their teeth are first coming through. 

As with human babies, teething in dogs can be uncomfortable and chewing can help relieve the pain, so ensuring that they have toys and chews close to hand is a good idea at this stage of their development.

As they get older, dogs will continue to chew, of course, and the reasons for doing so are multitudinous, everything from relieving boredom and anxiety to keeping jaws strong, supporting oral health through plaque and tartar removal, and helping to burn off any excess energy.

Chewing only becomes a problem when it starts to manifest in a destructive and undesirable way. If your dog has started leaving their toys and dental treats to one side in favour of chewing your furniture, books and shoes, this is a signal that there’s something else going on beneath the surface, some kind of root cause that will need to be addressed.

Separation anxiety

One of the main reasons that problem chewing starts to manifest is separation anxiety and stress. Because dogs are naturally sociable animals, they prefer to remain in close contact with their pack, so it’s not uncommon for them to feel anxious when left alone and this can then result in destructive behaviour.

Getting on top of it early is advisable, so if you have a puppy at home, get them used to being by themselves by leaving them for short amounts of time, gradually building it up once they trust that you’ll come back. Some dogs respond well to having the radio left on while they’re by themselves, so this could be a good tactic to try at first.

With older dogs, it can be harder to get to grips with but you could try setting up their bed or crate in a quiet room so they feel safe and secure when you’re out, with potential disruptions kept to a minimum.

Boredom

Problem chewing can also be down to boredom, so ask yourself if your pup is physically and mentally stimulated enough each day. Engaging with your dog is a must if you want to prevent them from developing destructive coping strategies, with playtime, long walks and other enrichment activities essential on a regular basis.

Beyond that, providing your dog with items that are fine for them to chew will help to keep them away from your belongings and dangerous fixtures and fittings like cables and wires.

Dog chews have been specifically designed for your pup to gnaw on, including the likes of chew sticks, rask and rawhide – but do make sure that you never leave your pup unsupervised, as there is always the risk that they could choke if left to their own devices. 

Something like a Kong toy is always a good investment, allowing you to put treats inside the toy itself to help keep your pooch occupied for a greater length of time.

What to do about dog chewing

Whenever your dog does chew something they’re allowed to, make sure that you reward this positive behaviour. If you see them approach something that they’re not supposed to be chewing, direct their attention towards the acceptable items and shower them in praise when they engage with them. 

Over time, you should start to see that they’re increasingly less interested in the prohibited items and only want to focus on what they’re allowed to chew.

As with any kind of dog training, you’ll need patience and perseverance in spades – and you shouldn’t expect to see instant results overnight. If you’d like any further help or advice relating to dog training of any kind in Battersea and the surrounding areas, get in touch with Sean Hyden today.