We’ve all been there: you see your favorite shoes chewed up, you see your dog looking guilty, and you feel frustrated and tired. Don’t worry, this won’t last forever– understanding why your new dog is chewing on your favorite things is the first step to figuring out how to correct this unwanted behavior!
Why is my dog chewing?
- Your pet loves your smell. So, when an object is covered in your smell and is within reach… well to them, that is the most enticing thing in the world! And that object is fair game if it’s within eyesight!
- By around 6 months of age, puppies have their adult teeth so the need to chew should subside, but boredom can give them a reason to take up the habit again.
- Some dogs simply don’t get enough exercise, and they take it out on chewing up your favorite shoes. This is their way of entertaining themselves and releasing all their energy.
- Seeking attention is another reason dogs may bite or chew inappropriate items.
- They could also be stressed out and frustrated– similar to when people bite their nails when they are anxious, dog’s will chew when they have anxiety. Try to reduce this type of chewing by avoiding stressful situations.
How to stop a dog from chewing on things:
- If eviscerating upholstered furniture is your pet’s favorite hobby, you and your dog might benefit from using a crate or dog-proofing a room with a dog gate. Make sure to read our crate training guide to properly crate train your dog!
- For some dogs, separation from you gives them extreme anxiety. Stuff hollow rubber toys, like KONGs, with treats or dog-friendly peanut butter and give them to your dog when you are away. This will distract them and give them an appropriate chewing activity to do while you’re gone.
- Train your dog to not grab items when you’re around by enforcing commands like a sharp, “Leave it!” or “Eh, eh!” or take the item out of their mouth and offer an appropriate toy to chew on. Then, praise them! Associate chewing on the appropriate toy with positivity.
- Provide your dog appropriate toys. And pay attention to their chewing abilities: extreme to soft chewer. As always, never leave your dog unsupervised when you give them a chew or chew toy.
- Really pay attention to the types of toys that keep them chewing: plush toys, chew toys, tennis balls, etc. and continue to offer these.
- Furthermore, if your dog gets bored easily, introduce new types of toys and keep rotating them. This way they don’t get bored!
- If their toys are lying around all the time, they aren’t special anymore. Rotate them and only have a few laying out at a time. Bring out their favorite toy only when you are around to play with them. This is what keeps it special– time with you is the magic ingredient!
- Pay attention to times he is chewing or feels the need to chew the most and give him a puzzle toy filled with something delicious. This will show him healthy chewing can be fun!
- Spray objects you don’t want them to chew with a deterrent. To introduce the deterrent, spray on a piece of fabric and place it under their nose. Hopefully, they make the connection between the smell and wanting to not eat that particular item. Do this for a few weeks. Keep in mind: while this helps, it has to be in conjunction with another method to train them not to chew.
Remember: your dog is not chewing up your valuables to annoy you. They could be bored, frustrated, stressed, or simply a teething puppy. Chewing is a natural instinct for a dog– it’s your job to show them how to do it in a healthy and productive way! Offer plenty of toys and exercise to keep them entertained while you’re there. The key is to keep these toys in rotation and do not leave all of them lying around all the time. Furthermore, be proactive about what will happen to your dog when you leave the house: do they have at least one or two toys to play with, do they have a stuffed KONG or other hollow rubber toy to keep them occupied, are they settled in their crate or behind a dog gate? Your relationship with your furry friend will grow exponentially once you start listening to the different ways they communicate with you– chewing being one of them!