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Stop Your Dog From Chewing: Tips to Curb Destructive Chewing

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Why It’s Important to Stop Destructive Chewing in Dogs

If your dog has a habit of chewing things they shouldn’t, it can be frustrating and costly. Destructive chewing can damage furniture, shoes, carpets, walls, and more. Understanding why dogs chew and how to curb this natural behavior is key to having a well-behaved dog and preventing household destruction.

In this article, we will cover the reasons dogs chew, signs of chewing problems, and effective strategies to stop destructive chewing. Read on to learn how to keep your dog (and belongings!) happy and healthy.

Outline of Stopping Destructive Chewing in Dogs

Why Do Dogs Chew?

  • Chewing is a natural dog behavior
  • Puppies chew for teething/growing
  • Chewing relieves boredom and anxiety
  • Medical conditions can cause excessive chewing

How to Choose Good Chew Toys

  • Types of chew toys
  • Toy safety
  • Toy interest & challenge

Puppy Chewing

  • Teething stage
  • Providing appropriate chew toys
  • Redirecting from bad chewing

Stop An Adult Dog From Chewing

  • Ensure physical/mental exercise
  • Manage chewing triggers
  • Use deterrents and training
  • Address underlying issues

What Not to Do

  • Punishing dogs for chewing
  • Letting dogs chew unsafe items

When to Get Professional Help

  • If chewing is excessive/destructive
  • For anxiety/compulsion treatment

Summary of Stopping Destructive Chewing

Now let’s explore these topics in more detail…

Why Do Dogs Chew? It’s Natural Dog Behavior

Chewing is a completely normal and natural behavior for dogs of all ages. Both puppies and adult dogs chew for various reasons:

Puppies teethe and explore the world through chewing. Just like human babies, puppies begin teething around 3-4 months old. They chew on everything to relieve mouth pain and help loosen their incoming, adult teeth. Puppies also chew to investigate objects and learn about their environment.

Chewing provides mental & physical stimulation. The act of chewing relieves boredom, gives dogs an outlet for their energy, and provides comfort. Dogs left alone for long periods with little exercise are more likely to chew destructively.

It relieves stress and anxiety. Dogs may chew to relieve stress or anxiety, similar to how people bite their nails. High-stress situations like being alone, moving homes, or loud noises can trigger destructive chewing.

Medical conditions can cause excessive chewing. If chewing seems obsessive, it could indicate a health issue like dental problems, allergies, gastrointestinal issues, or neurological disorders. Check with your vet.

So chewing is totally normal dog behavior. The key is providing appropriate chew items so your dog satisfies their chewing instinct in a safe, positive way.

Choose the Right Chew Toys to Stop Bad Chewing

Giving your dog a variety of fun chew toys is the first step toward curbing unwanted chewing. But with so many dog toys out there, how do you choose good ones?

Try different chew toy materials:

  • Rubber for durability
  • Rope for flossing action
  • Edible/dental for chewing interest
  • Plush toys for comfort

Look for safety indicators:

  • Avoid small parts, stuffing, plastic
  • “Dog-grade” materials are safest
  • Supervise use of any new toy

Find toys that challenge your dog:

  • Adjust toy “toughness” for heavy chewers
  • Rotate novel toys to prevent boredom
  • Interactive toys provide mental exercise

The right toys will satisfy your dog’s chewing needs while minimizing destruction. Set them up for success by providing a variety of textures, flavors, and challenges!

How to Stop Destructive Puppy Chewing

Puppies chew the most during teething stages from 3-6 months old. While chewing is very normal puppy behavior, you can curb destruction with some smart management.

Provide appropriate chew toys and rotate them to keep your pup engaged with good options versus furniture or shoes. Offer toys with different textures, flavors, and challenges.

Give your puppy plenty of exercise to burn energy and prevent boredom-related chewing. Take them on walks, play fetch, and engage in training sessions.

Use crates, baby gates and tethers to limit access to off-limit areas when you can’t actively supervise. Don’t give them free roam of the house too early.

Redirect your puppy from chewing the wrong things by interrupting the behavior, saying “No”, and giving them an appropriate chew toy instead. Praise when they take the toy!

With patience and by offering better alternatives, puppy chewing woes will pass as they outgrow the teething phase.

How to Stop Destructive Chewing in Adult Dogs

Adult dogs chew for many of the same reasons as puppies – boredom, stress relief, etc. Follow these tips to curb destructive chewing:

Exercise your dog daily – both physically and mentally. A tired dog is less inclined to chew. Practice obedience, take long walks, play fetch, and use puzzle toys.

Remove access to tempting items. Pick up shoes, remote controls, eyeglasses, etc. Use crates or closed doors when you’re gone to limit chewing opportunities.

Address anxiety, separation issues, or medical problems with your vet’s help if needed. Sometimes chewing relates to an underlying condition.

Use deterrent sprays or wraps on specific tempting objects. Bitter citrus sprays or plastic coverings make items unappealing.

Correct your dog calmly if you catch them chewing off-limits items. Say “No”, offer a toy instead, and praise the replacement behavior. Be consistent.

Consider advanced training like crate training, more exercise, or anxiety medication if chewing remains a problem. A professional dog trainer can help.

What Not to Do When Trying to Stop Dog Chewing

It’s important when curbing chewing habits to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Don’t punish AFTER the fact. Dogs don’t understand. Only correct in the moment.
  • Don’t take away all chew items. Dogs need to satisfy their chewing instinct appropriately.
  • Don’t give dangerous chew items like old shoes, which could cause blockages if swallowed.
  • Don’t assume your dog knows what to chew. Guide them positively toward good chew toys.

When to Get Professional Help for Dog Chewing

If your dog’s destructive chewing seems excessive or uncontrollable, seek help from your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer/behaviorist. Signs that expert assistance may be needed include:

  • Chewing that causes injury to your dog
  • Anxiety, stress, or compulsive behavior
  • Aggressive guarding of chew items
  • No improvement after consistent training

Summary: Key Takeaways for Stopping Destructive Dog Chewing

  • Chewing is normal, but destruction must be managed
  • Provide plenty of exercise, toys, and access control
  • Use positive reinforcement for good chewing habits
  • Correct bad chewing calmly and consistently
  • Rule out medical factors if chewing is excessive
  • Seek professional help if serious behavior problems

Following these tips to stop destructive chewing should help keep both your dog and belongings happy and healthy! Consistency and patience are key when modifying any dog behavior. With time and effort, you can curb unwanted chewing for a more peaceful home.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I stop my dog from chewing on things?

If your dog has a chewing habit, it’s important to provide appropriate chew toys as an outlet for this behavior. Make sure to supervise your dog when they start chewing to redirect them to their chew toys. Consistently reinforce this behavior to teach your dog what is appropriate to chew on.

2. What should I do if my puppy is chewing everything in sight?

Puppies explore the world with their mouths, and chewing is a natural behavior for them. To stop your puppy from destructive chewing, make sure they have plenty of appropriate chew toys. You can also use deterrent sprays on objects you don’t want them to chew on and provide ample supervision.

3. How can I prevent my dog from chewing on furniture?

To prevent dogs from chewing furniture, ensure they have access to plenty of appropriate chew toys and make the furniture less appealing. Use bitter apple or similar deterrent sprays on furniture legs. You can also try covering furniture with a dog-proof blanket or create physical barriers to restrict access.

4. Are there any tips on how to stop my adult dog from chewing?

If your adult dog has developed a chewing habit, it’s important to identify the underlying cause. Chew toys can help redirect their chewing behavior. Consider consulting a dog trainer or behaviorist who can provide guidance tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

5. What can I do if my dog starts chewing on something they shouldn’t?

If you catch your dog chewing on something inappropriate, calmly and firmly say “no” and redirect them to an appropriate chew toy. Consistency is key in teaching your dog what is acceptable to chew on and what is not.

6. How can a dog trainer help with my dog’s chewing behavior?

A dog trainer can help assess the underlying causes of your dog’s destructive chewing and develop a personalized training plan. They can provide tips on how to stop your dog from chewing on things they shouldn’t and teach your dog appropriate chewing behavior.

7. What are some common reasons why dogs chew?

There are several reasons why dogs chew, including teething, boredom, anxiety, and curiosity. Identifying the root cause of the behavior can help in addressing and curbing destructive chewing.

8. Can I use bitter apple spray to stop my dog from chewing?

Bitter apple spray is a common deterrent used to discourage dogs from chewing on