It is natural for a dog to chew on things as it is literally ingrained into their DNA. You see, before they are domesticated as pets, dogs survive wholly on their instinct to survive, and this includes developing a need to protect itself. As such, dogs can be pretty destructive in nature, and they are not entirely to blame. Of course, inappropriate chewing of things can be destructive, especially if the dog starts to develop the habit on chew at everything in your house. Before we can go about training your dog not to chew on things, it will be good to understand why is the dog chewing in the first place so that you can use the correct remedy.
Why do dogs love to chew?
Other than their DNA, there are several reasons that contributes to this destructive behavior. Some of these problems are due to their character as well as the possibility of them having an underlying medical problem. Read on and find out if any of the following does resonate with you.
It is possible that the dogs are chewing on random things simply because they are playful. This is especially true for new puppies who are still very indifferent to objects in the house.
Not all owners will understand this though. When dogs are frightened or scared, especially by sudden loud noises that they are unfamiliar with, the dog will find ways to soothe their raging nerves, and they do so by chewing on things.
This is the same for dogs who are suffering from separation anxiety. When dogs are left alone at home, it can be pretty traumatizing for them, especially if they are too used to having humans around them hence relying on humans for attention. When left alone, they are unable to cope with the separation from their owners and will resort to chewing on items so as to alleviate their anxiety attack.
Dogs can be an attention seeker too. When their owner leaves them alone without playing with them, dogs will have the tendency to destroy objects in the house as it knows that the owners will be triggered and will play with them! Cheeky little things!
It is possible that the dog is chewing on things due to an underlying medical condition that they might be suffering from.
How to stop dogs from chewing things
Now that we know the reasons that is contributing to this negative behavior, let us explore into the tricks that you can adopt so that you can train the dog not to chew!
Underlying medical problems
First of all, before you can start the training proper, you will need to rule out on the possibility that the dog is chewing because of an underlying medical issue. Most of the medical issue stem from a lack of a nutritional diet in dogs and hence creating a nutritional deficiency. If you suspect this might the case, always seek the advice from a vet so that you can be informed of the steps that you can take to help your dog.
Dog Proof the house
As a crucial step in training your dog not to chew things, you will need to dog proof the house so that dangerous items are kept away from the dog’s reach. This includes any food that you do not want the dog to rummage into, or even to your detergent or bleach that can be fatal if the dog consumes them. Items like shoes, socks, or even your clothing should be kept appropriately so that the dog will not chew on them.
Discourage negative chewing
When the dog starts to chew on something that it shouldn’t be chewing on, you can then use a firm tone to instruct the dog to stop. Note that you should not give your dog a treat at this point of time as the dog might associate chewing to being rewarded with a treat. Instead, you can provide your dog with an appropriate item that they should chew on, like a chew toy or something.
Having said that, there is an unorthodox method in discouraging chew in your dog. For example, if your dog has been shredding paper into pieces, one good way to discourage them from chewing is by giving them the firm scolding. After that, you can use the dog’s front paws and scoop up all the pieces of paper and throw it into the bin! We say this is unorthodox because this method might not work on all dogs.
Provide chew toys
Instead of them chewing on random stuffs due to the dog being playful, you can simply satiate their playfulness by giving them chew toys! There are many of these in the market, but the ones that we love the most is the tug-of-war toy.
Buy a dog crate
As mentioned, dogs can chew when they are suffering from anxiety issues. One good way to solve this is by providing a dog a safe haven for them to seek refuge in when the anxiety attack comes, and you can achieve this by buying a dog crate for them. The dog crate does provide an illusion that they are save and secure, and this does help to reduce the anxiety in dogs. However, note that you should not purchase a dog crate that is too large for the dog as it will not create that illusion of a safe haven. As a guideline, the dimensions of the crate should allow the dog to turn about in its place. The top of the crate should allow a maximum of two finger spacing when the dog is in a sitting position.
Playing with your dog
If your dog is seeking your attention by destroying items, you can change this behavior by playing with your dog and spending them with them. When your dog Is meaningfully engaged, they will not develop the habit of destroying things in your house. Also, when your dog is tired after a day’s activity with you, they wouldn’t have any excess energy to chew things in your house too.