During a puppy’s developmental stage, they will bite, nip and chew on just about everything they come in contact with to help strengthen their jaws.
Known as the “teething” stage, it usually doesn’t cause any serious harm, as you can train your puppy to focus on chew toys and not furniture or your belongings. However, some puppies will carry this trait long into their adult canine years, making it a difficult habit to break. If you’re having trouble getting your dog to stop chewing on things, keep reading and we’ll reveal the necessary steps to break their destructive habit.
When Chewing is Acceptable
First, it’s important to realize that chewing is acceptable under certain circumstances. Scolding or punishing your dog for gnawing on their chew toy or one of their other toys is only going to make their habit more difficult to kick, so don’t try to take them away. On the other hand, if you see your dog chewing on the furniture, your clothes, pillows, curtains or other household items, you’ll need to make them stop.
Not only is this type of behavior destructive and costly, but it can also be harmful to their health. The fact is that thousands of dogs end up in at the emergency veterinarian’s office each year as a result of eating items they shouldn’t. Teaching your dog what’s acceptable to chew on and what’s not is the first step in protecting them from this.
Divert Your Dog’s Attention
So, what’s the best way train a dog what’s acceptable to chew on and what’s not? While some owners may feel like yelling at their dog is the right answer, this usually only makes things worse. Instead, give your dog a rope toy or some other durable toy that’s acceptable to chew on, and once they take it, give them lots of petting and praise. As you probably know by now, positive reinforcement goes a long ways in dog training and chewing is no exception. When you give your dog a toy that’s acceptable for them to chew on, their attention will immediately shift towards it.
Some dogs are just notorious for destroying the house once their owners leave. If your dog chews and eats everything in sight once you leave for work, you should consider placing them in a crate. As long as the crate is large enough for them to stand up and turn around in, there’s nothing wrong with leaving them in it until you get home. Once you feel comfortable with their behavior, slowly introduce them back inside the home when you’re gone.