Is your dog guilty of chewing anything and everything in your home? Some dog owners are hopeful that chewing will pass once their puppy grows up. Unfortunately, dogs of all ages can chew destructively. Without correction and consistency, chewing can grow into an obsession for your dog that won’t be a passing phase.
At Charleston Dog Training, destructive chewing is one of the top negative behaviors we hear about from our dog owners. It’s no wonder – destructive chewing can lead to more than just the occasional destroyed flip flop. Dogs who chew incessantly can destroy furniture, carpet, and even structural parts of the house (like walls). Even more importantly, dogs that are obsessive chewers may need to see the vet more often due to gastrointestinal or dental issues and are typically more anxious than other dogs.
So, how can you help your dog get rid of the destructive chewing habit?
Understand What Is, and Isn’t, Normal
It is normal for dogs to want to chew. Puppies are especially curious and explore their world by using their mouths. As dogs grow, occasional chewing continues to be a way to explore their world, clean their teeth, and blow off some steam. If your dog chews every once in a while throughout the day, and chews appropriate things (like chew toys or deer antlers), your dog is normal!
However, if your dog chews all the time and is not easily redirected, that is not normal canine behavior. Dogs who chew inappropriate things (your shoes, your furniture, etc.) are not expressing normal behavior either.
Determine the Cause
Dogs chew for stimulation, which means you may be able to determine the root cause of your dog’s chewing. For example, a bored dog or an unexercised dog may be more prone to destructive chewing. Similarly, a dog with separation anxiety may be more likely to chew your couch when you leave for work each day.
Keep Your Dog Engaged
Decreasing destructive chewing often starts with the owner committing to exercise and new routines. Take your dog for a walk at least daily to burn off some restless energy, and begin obedience practice regularly as well. While a walk burns physical energy, obedience practice burns mental energy, leaving your dog feeling a happy kind of tired that will decrease destructive chewing.
We have worked with many serious chewers throughout our time professionally training dogs of all ages. Let us help you and your dog kick the chewing habit through a combination of obedience practice and other tips we have learned in our experience. Give us a call today to tell us more about your dog and your family!