How to Stop Your Puppy From Chewing Up Your Valuables
By: Don Wilson
When dogs chew on things, they use their sharp teeth and strong jaws and will produce some pretty awesome damage (a.k.a. destruction) in minutes if given the chance. So what I mean by "destructive chewing" is that the dog tends to chew on things that they are not supposed to chew on, such as your shoes, table legs, chairs, pillows, and so on. I mean after all, we really would to prefer their chewing to be limited to their own toys as that is what they are designed for!
Dogs that chew, do so for three major reasons:
- It's fun! It passes time, it could taste good, and it gives the dog a sense of accomplishment.
- The next reason is actually just passing the time a bit. In other words, the dog is bored out of its mind and needs something to do. It could also be that the dog is angry or anxious, and does it to help cope with the situation. Kind of like what you used to do when you dug your pen into the desktop in high school.
- If the dog doesn't get enough exercise, they may use chewing as an outlet for their unexpended energy. Like you, once again, they could be likened to your tapping your fingernails on the table while waiting for your husband (or wife) to get ready to go to dinner.
Preventing Destructive Chewing
Dogs are very smart animals. They are capable of learning that chewing is not something they should do on certain items. And yet there are other items that they are welcome to chew on. But your dog doesn't know this out of the gate and it takes a little bit of effort on your part in order to instruct them what is, and is not, the appropriate toy to chew on.
One way to do this is to dog proof your house. This is a little bit like a child proofing your house when you first have a little one come home with you. You have to consider the child's size, what they can reach and if it's an older child how high it can climb, and/or jump. The same things have to be considered, when you bring your dog home for the first time. How high can the dog reach when he gets on its hind legs? How high can the dog jump to get something off the counter? Is there a chair in the perfect position for the dog to make it to the top of the counter to eat the rest of the roast beef you had for dinner?
Another thing you have to consider just like with the child around the house is to not provide the dog with a target that it will easily be found to chew on. For example, don't leave your cell phone on the coach, don't leave your favourite book on the end table, and do NOT leave the remote control in your chair when you get up to get something to drink during the big game.
This will help prevent your dog from learning the joys of "illegal chewing". The more times these , "targets" are left out for your dog to chew on, and the more times they managed to get them, the more often they will look for these targets, and the more they will enjoy chewing them! Unfortunately, if the target is a table leg or a chair leg or the couch it's a little hard to "put away." So in this case you may have to confine them to a dog proofed area without these items until you're sure that she understands the house rules and that these are not huge chew toys meant only for her satisfaction.
Don't set her up!
Unfortunately a lot of owners set their dogs up for failure. They do this by blurring the lines between what is a "legal" chew toy and what is not. What I mean here is yes, you have a smart dog, but your dog is not going to know the difference between a $500 Gucci's you just bought and the old discarded pumps that you used to use for work last month! So in general, don't offer her any of "your stuff" as a chew toy, lest they be confused and use more of your stuff for the same later on.
Since your dogs love to chew, it only makes sense that you should provide them with some legal tasty treats that they can chew on. They sell many of these in the pet store for you to choose from. Keep in mind that most dogs need to chew- it strengthens their teeth and jaws and cleans them too. So it would not be wise to not give them anything at all to chew on. Also keep in mind that if your dog is a puppy the need to chew is even more pronounced. My Suggestion? Go on a chew toy shopping spree! Then give her two or three of these toys to play with at a time, rotating the available toys to keep their interest and to avoid boredom with ones she has.
Pay Attention Now.
You have to keep an eye on your dog for a while. Yes it would be easier just to keep her penned up, but what's the fun in that? Getting the dog to play with you and be a companion to is kind of difficult when she's locked up in a crate all the time. She needs to be able to explore her surroundings and find her boundaries and in doing so learn what you expect of her and what the rules of the house are.
While she's out of her crate, keep her under supervision, and when she does go for one of these illegal toys clap your hands, stomp your feet or make some other loud noise. Then immediately hand her one of her legal toys, preferably one of the tasty ones like a flavoured rawhide bone and once she closes her jaws around it, praise her lavishly, stroke her, pet her and make her feel loved. Make sure that she knows when she chews on her toys you're happy with her and that anything else equals trouble for her.
Keep it real.
Remember to keep your expectations realistic. You're not perfect and neither is your dog. It will take time for your dog to learn these things. One correction will not teach your dog anything constructive. So have patience and keep with it. Also keep in mind there is bound to the at least one treasured item that is going to "go the way of the dogs jaws." Just try your best to follow the suggestions that I've given above and soon you will have a dog that won't chew on those $500 Gucci's, but will actually want to chew on their own toys instead!
About The Author
Don Willson is, 53-years old and living in Richmond, Virginia. Not new to writing, he is often been told (I know everybody gets this) that he should try getting some of his work published.
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