Today I’m tackling a question submitted via Twitter:

Your Question:

Jim,
Why does my dog chew everything?

My Answer:

The fact is, chewing is instinctual. Therefore, your goal is going to be to redirect the behavior, because there is little hope of ending it. Give your dog an alternative and teach him to take it. Here’s how:

  1. Be clear about what is your dog’s and what is yours. When he grabs something you don’t want him to chew, say “No” or “Off” firmly and replace the item with one of his toys or bones.
  2. Don’t take chances. Dog-proof your home by making sure shoes, the TV remote and other items are out of the dog’s reach. Set him up to succeed.
  3. Your dog may have too much energy and is chewing as a way to blow of steam. Make sure you are taking daily structured walks. Let him use up energy outside. Walks have the added benefit of solidifying your role as leader of your dog. Walks will support what you are teaching your dog in the home, so don’t skip them.
  4. Give your dog choices. The same old dry bone isn’t going to keep your dog interested. Choose a variety of appropriate chew toys so your dog doesn’t get bored and start looking for your shoes.

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 it’s worth it.

(C) Jim Burwell 2010

What’s YOUR dog training question?
Use the comments below to ask me.