How to Prevent Destructive Chewing from Your Dog
Yep, chewing is a thing....not always a thing that we want, but dogs are going to chew.
CHEWING IS NORMAL
It is an essential part of health for your dog's teeth, jaws, and gums. Puppies chew to relieve inflammation and irritation of teething. Adult dogs chew to relieve anxiety, boredom, as well as just for fun.
Chewing is perfectly normal and is a necessary canine behavior....that is the good news.
The not so good news is how do you channel the chewing for good instead of evil....
Puppies and non-housebroken adults, when not supervised need to be confined. This can be with the use of a puppy pen or crate. Always making sure to give them appropriate items to chew on while in their space.
Some of the best toys are those that can be stuffed with food, this entertains them longer as they try and get the food out. I have a few toys listed under Canine Enrichment, if you need ideas.
Even housebroken adults need to be confined when you are gone. There are only so many things a dog can do when left to their own devices.
Normally it includes sleeping in inappropriate places....like the off-limit couch or chair and chewing. The problem arises when that chewing turns to objects that are not appropriate and may even be harmful to their health.
By confining your dog to a space that is designed for their success, you bank your odds in your favor. When you return home, encourage your dog to go and get their favorite chew, when they return with it, stuff some extra fun cookies in the center so that their game can continue.
When you build the routine of chewing, your dog is less likely to chew on items that are inappropriate such as kitchen cabinets, chair legs, the area rug, or more.
Keep in mind that most chewing activity happens right after you leave and right before you return, assuming you have a regular work schedule. Your dog can tell time.....
Going back to puppies, it is best to have a puppy pen that is set up in the common area of the home, this allows them to be with the family but still confined, setting them up for success. They should always have multiple chews, including ones that are freshly stuffed.
Your puppy will do more sleeping and chewing than anything else in their young age.
Always remember to take them out every hour or so (pending their age), so that they do not soil in their pen.
The point to the puppy pen is toe prevent your puppy or young dog from chewing inappropriate items around the house, and to maximize the chances that you build a good chew toy habit that will last in the years to come.
Following the guidelines above will create lifelong habits, and your puppy/dog will train themselves to chew on their toys. With these good habits, your pup will no longer want to destroy the carpet, or the leg of the dining room table, kids toys, electrical cords, and more.
Another "side effect" is that your dog is less likely to become a recreational barker. Stay tuned, we will tackle barking issues next week!
When you find your dog chewing on the correct items, make sure you offer praise. You may even offer a treat as a reward of good choices. You don't want to take for granted your dog's choices, they need feedback just like we do when we have done the right thing.
Chew toys should be strong, indestructible if possible, as well as non-consumable.
Consumables (like pig ears, bully sticks ec) defeat the purpose of a long time chew, they cost more money as they need to be replaced, and can pose as a choking hazard when too small. Which may happen when you are not home.
I am not saying that you can't use those types of chews, just do so when you are home to supervise.
The bottom line, use common sense. If you leave your puppy alone with access to your kitchen cabinets....chance is high that they will chew on them. I know this from personal experience!! Yes, it has even happened to me.
Our experiences shape our knowledge and know that we are not alone when it comes to making mistakes. We are all human, and we learn our lessons. My goal is to share my insights so you don't make the same mistakes that I have
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