Wondering how you can cure your dog’s chewing problems for good? Our vets in Lisle offer some tips on how to help your dog develop better habits.
Dog Psychology 101
Puppies, like human infants, use their mouths to explore their new world, which can lead them to eat almost anything they come across, from paper, sticks, and smelly old shoes to toxic plants, furniture, and electrical cords...and that new bag you bought.
Dogs don't chew our things to spite us, but they do like scents that remind them of their owners (which explains why your sports gear and shoes are so appealing). They, too, live in the present and will not associate the destroyed items with your rage or any subsequent discipline.
Reasons Your Dog Chews
There are many reasons your dog may chew (none of which are to spite you). Dog chewing problems may persist due to:
- Lack of training
- Seeking attention
- Attempting to relieve anxiety or fear
How to Stop a Dog From Chewing
Dogs do not understand right from wrong. Therefore, they won’t be able to connect your anger and discipline to their actions (such as chewing up your headphones).
Contrary to what you’d hoped, unlike a child a dog won’t understand or change their behavior after being punished. So don’t scold, muzzle, or spank them. Try these instead:
Keep Valuables Tucked Away
Got some new sneakers or stiletto heels you’d rather keep free from your dog’s chompers? Place them high on a shelf, or in another place, they can’t reach.
Training & Supervision
For puppies, close supervision at home is key as they learn good habits and what not to do.
Exercise & Stimulation
A tired puppy or dog is a happy puppy or dog, as pet parents will quickly discover. Learn about their energy levels and needs, and then tailor his exercise and playtime accordingly. Use 20 to 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise as a general rule, unless your veterinarian discovers a medical issue that prevents this.
How Your Vet Can Help
Fortunately, most dogs' excessive chewing behavior ends around the age of 18 months, but it will likely continue to some extent throughout their lives, depending on breed and other factors. If you notice excessive chewing, contact your veterinarian. They are capable of:
- Check for medical reasons your dog might be chewing and provide treatment
- Advise whether you should let certain items pass, when your dog needs to come in for an exam, and when you should induce vomiting if he or she has chewed an inappropriate item
- Provide advice and pointers for modifying your dog’s behavior
- Suggest appropriate chew toys, treats, deterrents, or training methods
At Green Trails Animal Clinic we can perform a full health checkup and provide advice on how to solve this frustrating problem.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.