While dog chewing is a completely normal behavior, destructive dog chewing is not. Our tips will help you understand and stop destructive dog chewing. No one wants their dog to chew the furniture, rugs, shoes and more. Understanding why your dog chews destructively is essential to getting them to stop.
Normal Chewing Behavior
Distinguishing the difference between normal chewing behavior and destructive chewing behavior is the first step. When you understand why your dog is choosing to chew everything in sight, you’re then able to address the problem.
Adult Dog Chewing. It’s completely normal for adult dogs to chew and, when given a bone, will enjoy chewing for hours. Dog owners should always have a few safe chewing options available for their adult dogs.
Puppy Chewing. Puppy chewing is completely normal because their teeth are coming in, which can be painful just like it is for babies. While this stage in a dog’s life only lasts about six months or so, giving puppies something safe to chew on during this time can bring them relief. And they’ll love you for it!
Destructive Chewing Behavior
There are many reasons why a dog would choose to chew destructively. It could be boredom or attention seeking–or even hunger. Dogs experience many emotions just like we do, and can respond in a negative way when bored, stressed or afraid.
Reasons for destructive chewing include:
- Separation Anxiety
- Stress, Fear or Frustration
- Lack of Exercise
- Lack of Mental Stimulation
- Lack of Training about what is okay to chew
How to Stop It
Depending upon the core reason for the chewing, you may ultimately need to consider behavior modification or consult an Animal Behaviorist. First, try these tips to help stop destructive dog chewing going on in your home.
While transitioning from destructive chewing behavior to normal chewing behavior, closely supervise your dog until they fully understand what they can and can’t chew. Or dog proof a room where you can leave them for a while with their toys.
Spend time with your dog. They’ll feel part of the family and you can observe and correct any destructive chewing behavior. If the destructive chewing only happens when your dog is alone, it may be a sign of separation anxiety or boredom.
Give your dog plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom, including rotating which toys you give them to play with.
If you catch your dog chewing on something they shouldn’t, calmly redirect them to some other activity or approved chewing toy, praising them when they perform the appropriate behavior.
When you give your dog a new chew toy, praise them! This will let them know it’s okay to chew on this toy.
Try to catch your dog in the process of destructive chewing. A dog is unlikely to understand that you’re upset about chewing that happened while you were away.
Don’t give your dog chew toys that resemble real items you don’t want to be chewed.
Don’t chase your dog to get something being chewed on. The fun and interaction can positively reinforce the chewing.
Spray chewing deterrents but understand that this won’t work for everything and you may need to renew the spray periodically.
Lovingly guide your dog to stop their destructive chewing behavior to avoid creating additional fear or stress. Dogs respond best to positivity and praise. Understand, though, that there may be chewing incidents along the way as your dog learns what is okay (and not okay) for them to chew on. Good Luck!