Oh, no! My brand new couch… shoes… or anything else you can possibly think of! Yes, dogs love to chew things. But when they start chewing up and playing with things in your house, yelling at them won’t make the situation any better. After all, they probably didn’t know better in the first place. A dog’s mouth is equivalent to hands for humans. It’s in a dog’s nature to use their mouths and teeth to do some exploring and redecorating in their homes. Instead of blaming your dog for their chewing, let’s first explain why dogs chew in the first place.
Why Dogs Chew
As mentioned, a dog uses their mouth like a human uses their hands. When they want to know what something tastes like, how it feels or what it’s made out of, they will use their teeth and mouth to chew. You can’t simply train a dog to stop chewing, as it’s in their nature and it’s the same as telling them not to eat or breathe. Just like a baby crawls before they walk, a puppy will chew and usually stop as they get older… though some dogs will continue to chew forever. Most puppies are also chewing because it can take up to a year for their adult teeth to grow in.
How to Stop Dogs from Chewing
There is a reason why items like shoes, socks and clothing are usually ripped up and chewed on by dogs, and that’s because they love to mess with items that have certain scents. It’s not the dogs fault that people leave their clothing laying around on the floor, and this is usually what dogs will end up finding. One of the best ways to cut down on the chewing, is to pick up and remove anything from the floor that you do not want to end up in the dogs mouth. It may seem stupidly simple, but it’s one of the easiest ways to cut back on chewing.
Next, make sure you have a nice selection of chew toys available for your dog. Remember, we don’t want to eliminate chewing, just chewing from certain items in your house. Some dogs love squeak toys, while others like to tug or play with ropes. Make sure you have a nice assortment of different toys and stuffed animals for your dog to chew on. If you want to keep your dog focused on chewing only their chew toys, you can spray them with a meat taste spray (available at specialty dog stores), or hiding dog treats inside of the toys.
When you do come across your dog chewing on items in the house they shouldn’t be, quickly replace them with the toy, then praise your dog for being good. They will relate this action of praise with the chew toy, and not your clothing or other items.
Chewing Your Way to the Vet
Some dogs will lead lives as big chewers, and you may even have to call onto your vet for some advice on what to do. There are training course available which may help, but it’s important to meet with your vet first. The reason being, lots of chewing is a result of teething or mouth issues. Trying to fix a chewing situation when another problem exists, is something you want to avoid.
One more final reminder. Chewing is not your dogs fault. When you come home and see your latest pair of shoes torn up and in their mouths, before you start screaming at them, remember that you could have placed your shoes in an area they could not have reached or found. Don’t take your anger out on your dog, as they will always conditionally love you and didn’t know they couldn’t chew up your shoes in the first place.