Maybe you have a new puppy who chews or gnaws on everything in site? Typical right? Yes, but it’s also not necessary. Or maybe you have a grown dog that still chews everything. This can get rather expensive.
Puppies chew initially because of teething but very rapidly they chew because they’ve LEARNED to chew your stuff. Adult dogs will chew because they’re bored and also because they too have LEARNED to chew your stuff.
The best way to not have a dog that chews is to teach an alternative behavior from the very beginning of your dog’s life with you.
- As a puppy you must teach your dog to differentiate between his stuff and your stuff. When your puppy grabs something of yours and begins to chew, do, a simple, non-emotional, no yelling, NO, OFF, remove the object and replace your object with something that is ok for the puppy to chew. But I’ve done that you’re saying and it doesn’t work. The secret is to not make a big fuss over the puppy or dog chewing the wrong thing, but make a big fuss over the puppy or dog chewing the RIGHT thing. Never, never hit a dog for chewing an inappropriate item. The more emotion and interest you put on the wrong item, the more interesting it is to the puppy or dog.
- Set your dog or puppy up to succeed, not fail. Puppy and dog proof your house until they learn not to chew your stuff. If you leave shoes, tv remotes, kid’s toys all over the place before the puppy or dog understands not to touch, then you are continually setting the dog up to fail and you are consistently promoting learned behavior you do not want.
- Look at how you are managing your dog’s energy. If you don’t walk your dog and the only way the dog gets rid of it’s energy is by playing in the back yard or being rowdy in the house then you get out of control behavior. If your dog uses up energy outside with no one out there to supervise behavior, the dog does not know that the outside behavior is not okay inside. Walking is important to dogs, a great way to constructively manage the dog’s energy AND if you do your walk correctly, a great way to practice your leadership role with your dog.
- Leadership role is crucial in having a well balanced dog. Lack of leadership can cause anxiety in your dog and anxiety is handled by your dog in chewing, barking etc.. Chewing takes their mind off their anxiety.
- Also what your dog or puppy is allowed to chew on must be interesting, fun and taste good. Not a dry bone, a rubber toy without any type of treat stuffing or interactivity that intrigues the dog.
Dogs are very much like children, they have to learn to behave appropriately. Good leadership, patience and setting your dog or puppy up to be successful takes work, but in the long run a lot less work and aggravation than not teaching your dog.
Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!