Looking for a cure to your dog’s chewing problem? Our Lafayette vets share some tips to help stop your dog's chewing!
The Psychology of Dogs Chewing
Puppies and dogs are like people because they like to use their mouths to learn about the world. Although, this can cause your dog to eat anything that crosses their path! Some of the off limit items they grasp in their mouths can include everything from furniture and paper to smelly old shoes, toxic plants, electrical cords...and your new designer purse!
You might be shocked to find out dogs don’t chew to purposely get on our nerves, however, they enjoy the smells that make them think of their owners, which is why sports equipment and shoes seem to be the most common items on their list of victims. Pups also live in the now, so they will not link their destructiveness with your discipline and anger.
Reasons For Your Dog's Chewing
There are many reasons why your dog with develop a chewing problem, including:
- Too seek attention
- Lack of training
- To relieve fear or anxiety
- Natural instinct
How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing
Since dogs don’t know the difference between right and wrong and can't associate your disciplinary actions or anger to their wrong doings they will not change their behavior because of punishment. Please do not muzzle, scold or hit your dog because it chewed something it wasn't supposed to. Try these more effective methods instead:
Stimulation and Exercise
Your pup is happy when it is tired from having fun. Learn what your dog's energy levels are and tailor play time and exercise to match its needs. Start with a goal of 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercises daily and work your way up to your dogs needs (unless they have a medical condition that prevents it). This type of activity should make your dog pant and includes activities like running, jumping and swimming.
Supervision and Training
Close supervision at home is key for puppies to learn what they can and cant do and to help them develop good habits. Try redirecting their attention to something they are allowed to chew on, when their teeth are sunken into items that are off limits.
Keep Valuables Tucked Away
It is also a good idea to “Dog-proof” your house. Put items you do not want your dog chomping down on out of their reach, especially when it is a new pair of designer pumps or golf shoes.
Do Not Reward Bad Behavior
When your dog runs off with a valuable object do not chase him! Instead call him back to you and give it an alternative chewy item like a real chew toy or treat in exchange for your object back. If your new puppy nibbles at your finger pull it out of their mouth and leave the room.
How Can Your Vet Help?
Thankfully, excessive chewing problems in most dogs usually decrease when they hit about 18 months old, but the issue will probably continue to a lesser degree for their entire life, based on the breed of your dog and other contributing factors. If you notice your dog has a chewing problem you can talk to your veterinarian. Your vet can:
- Look for any medical concerns that could be causing your dog to chew and give treatment
- Let you know if should let your dog chew on a specific item
- Inform you when your dog has to be brought in for an exam and if there is a time you should induce vomiting when your dog chewed an off limits item
- Give you tips and advice to help modify your dogs behavior
- Recommend various treats, deterrents, training methods and chew toys that would be appropriate for your dog.
At St. Francis Veterinary Hospital we can give your dog a full health checkup and give any needed advice on ways you can solve this irritating chewing problem.