Most dogs like to chew although they might choose to do it for several reasons. Most owners agree however, that the habit is destructive and that the dog should be taught to chew only on things he is allowed to. For this reason, chew toys should definitely be part of the pup’s accessories. The question is – what if he prefers to chew on other things? Following are some tips on how to train your dog against chewing.
Why Dogs Chew
- Chewing Due to Teething – Puppies like to exercise their teeth due to teething problems. This can occur for the first four months of the pup’s life as they exercise those jaws and relieve the discomfort brought on by teething.
- Chewing against Boredom – if dogs become bored, they are more likely to chew on things to pass the time. In cases like this, they must be allowed to exercise to prevent them from gnawing on items extensively.
- Chewing for Fun – some dogs chew because they like it. It’s a fun activity for them, especially if they’re chewing on something that tastes good. In some cases, chewing helps alleviate loneliness for dogs.
Preventing Destructive Chewing
There are several ways for dog owners to prevent destructive chewing on their pets. Keeping in mind the different reasons for it, following are the ways to start training.
- Keep your things safe. The first thing to do would be to make sure that all your items are out of reach for the dog. Keep the floors clear of anything he might chew on (or swallow). It’s also important to remember that your dog’s reach may be extended by jumping or standing so place your items according to their ability.
- Let him understand what is OK and NOT OK to chew. Always make sure that he is only gnawing on his toys and nothing else! It might seem OK to let him chew on your old clothes or old slippers – but this will only create confusion if you don’t let him chew on your new shoes. Create a clear line between what’s permissible and what’s not.
- Give him the exercise he needs every day. Dogs will need at least one hour of active walks every 24 hours to keep them healthy and happy. A good exercise will also leave your dog tired which means he’ll prefer to sleep rather than chew. Note that during this time, you will need to supervise the pooch. Letting him run on the yard and putting everything on his mouth will only ruin everything you’ve taught. Instead, be there during the walks and be vigilant whenever he tries to gnaw on something inappropriate.
- Buy him lots of toys but don’t splash them out all in one time. Dogs can experience boredom about toys too so just give him one or two to play with at first. When he starts to seek out other “toys”, you can give him a new one in stock to divert attention on your furniture.
- Give him a trigger word so he knows he’s not supposed to be chewing on the item. For example, always say “No” before and after taking whatever he’s decided to gnaw on. When trained, your pooch will just stop chewing on an item whenever you say the word.
Remember, it takes time and patience before your dog can be trusted not to gnaw on things so give it time. Whatever happens, never hit your dog to get them to understand.