Destructive chewing is an unfortunate fact of life for many dog owners. It’s a natural impulse for many a pup. But it can be a real pain, right? No one likes to come home and find that half of their shoes or a throw pillow has been ripped to shreds. You don’t have to live like this though. Here is our guide to stopping destructive dog chewing.
Find the Cause
The first step in treating and preventing destructive dog chewing is determining the cause. Just why exactly is your dog destroying stuff? Negative emotions can precipitate a dog from chewing on non-food items. These feelings include boredom and separation anxiety.
Treat Destructive Dog Chewing
The first, and generally most effective treatment for destructive dog chewing is exercise. Dogs are usually active creatures. Even couch potatoes need to go for the occasional walk. Physical activity stimulates their body and brain. So take your dog for a walk, jog, hike or game of fetch. Whatever activity is fun for both of you works. It will help eliminate boredom and tire out your furry buddy. And tired pups tend to cause less trouble.
Also give your dog access to toys. Look for stuffed toys that give them comfort or puzzles that occupy their minds for longer stretches of time. Keep the toys on rotation. Too much time with one toy and your pooch might get bored with it and move on to playing with other things (i.e., eating half of your couch). You can also teach your dog commands and tricks. This is another great form of mental stimulation. Their brains stay busy and they get treats. Yum! You’ll probably find that your dog is eager to please you too.
Treating destructive dog chewing if it’s anxiety-related is a little different. Your pup might miss you or is afraid that you’ve abandoned them when you are apart. Luckily, there are ways to ease this fear. Establish a “safe space” for your dog. This place is probably somewhere cozy like a crate or other smaller area. Provide your pooch with a comfy bed, blanket or plush toy. Leave them with a blanket or t-shirt that smells like you. Don’t reward their whining though. This simply reinforces the behavior. Only give them treats if they aren’t noisy and destructive in your absence.
Lastly, also be sure to limit your dog’s access to their favorite “bad” things to chew on. Keep your shoes shut in the closet or close off the room that has the pillows they really love to tear apart. Most importantly, keep small objects out of reach. These could be a choking hazard.