Regardless of age, chewing is a natural behavior that can be seen in dogs. There are many things that a dog can accomplish by chewing. The jaw of the dog is strengthened; teeth are cleaned and chewing helps the animal in relieving stress and combating boredom and anxiety. However, while puppies and older dogs find it enjoyable to chew whatever is in their sight and easy access, it is definitely not appreciated or encouraged by the owners. As a matter of fact, the chewing behavior of their pets leaves most dog owners with damaged household items. Teaching the dog what household item can be chewed and cannot is the key for maintaining a healthy human-canine relationship.
Here are some steps that can be of helpful to dog owners and they can stop dogs from chewing on household items:
1- Understand why chewing is necessary for puppies and dogs. Just like human babies, puppies use their mouth for experiencing the world. They explore their surroundings by chewing on everything. Teething discomfort can also be alleviated by chewing, which typically occurs in dogs when they are six months of age. There are destructive chewing habits in some adult dogs that often occur because of other problems such as frustration, stress and separation anxiety. Because they might have been weaned too early, some dogs even indulge in fabric chewing, licking and sucking.
2- The dog should only be disciplined when the owner actually catches them at it. The dog will be able to associate the punishment with the activity they are doing because they cannot reason with previous actions. Use a water squirt bottle for disciplining your dog and spray water in their face while saying no chewing. Praise the dog immediately once they stop. The pet can also be startled with a homemade noisemaker such as a bottle full of pennies.
3- Don’t leave the animal unsupervised and dog-proof your house. They need to be watched closely just like young children. Reduce chances of mischief by keeping the dog in the room where you are. Keep valuables out of reach, along with clothes and shoes. Use a kennel or dog crate when you cannot supervise your dog. Items can be made displeasing by spraying them with odor or taste deterrent.
4- Redirect the behavior by giving the dog something appropriate to chew. When you catch your dog chewing something unacceptable, tell them to stop and give them a dog toy. Give only one or two toys at a time and keep rotating the toys to keep the dog interested. Reinforce the behavior by praising them when they chew the toy.
5- Plenty of physical and mental stimulation should be provided to the dog. Play games or take regular walks with your pet for alleviating boredom. Certain breeds also require mental stimulation such as German Sheppard and Labrador Retrievers. They need to be kept busy and obedience training can be a very great way of achieving both physical and mental stimulation.
You can keep your possessions safe from chewing effects by following the aforementioned steps effectively.