When bringing a dog to your home, most pet parents are not ready to handle their chewing pet’s instincts. Your furry friend will try to chew everything it can fit in its mouth. However, this problem exists not only in pups but also in untrained adult dogs.How do you stop your dog from chewing?
When your adorable pet destroys your shoes, furniture, or clothes, you will surely be frustrated. It is surely difficult to deal with. But, you must keep in mind that chewing is an inherent habit, and is definitely required, especially in their developmental stage. So the first step is to accept that your dog will chew on things.
Although the older dogs chew on things out of boredom and for fun, chewing is necessary for younger pups for their teeth to grow properly. However, you must ensure that they chew on the right things. Not only does chewing on inappropriate things cause damage to you, it has a high chance of affecting their health. So, are you wondering how to stop your dog chewing? By following some simple steps, you can significantly reduce it.
Understand Your Dog’s Situation
The first and foremost step is to know the reason behind this behaviour. Puppies chew due to their instinctive traits. So, you should stop worrying about how to stop your puppy from chewing. They will be in a position where their gums hurt a lot and chewing on any available object will give them relief from the pain. So, it is useless to be harsh on them about it.
The only good solution would be to puppy-proof your home and give them something good to chew. Preferably, wet an old piece of cloth and freeze it, then let your puppy chew on it as much as it wants. The coldness helps soothe the gums that are paining. Also, train them to make sure this behaviour doesn’t continue after they grow up.
However, when it comes to adult dogs, the objectives may vary. The most prominent one would be that they were not trained adequately when they were a pup. Another cause would be separation anxiety, which happens when you leave your dog alone for long hours in the day. Furthermore, a similar reason would be due to a trauma, a tragic situation that your dog may have experienced. Which can be due to abuse, change in routine, loss of a family member, or another house pet.
So now here is a list of things you can do to reduce the habit and save you and your furry friend from trouble!
Watchout For Chewing Behaviour
Wise men say that prevention is better than cure, and that is true in this case. Just like infants, puppies or adult dogs that are adopted need your constant attention. They will have very curious minds, so be attentive, and whenever you notice your pooch chewing on something inappropriate, gently stop them using love.
Chewing is something that comes out of impulse, and it can be trained out of your dog quite easily. Impulse training is quite common for dogs who act without thinking about the consequences. Dogs that compete in competitions have excellent impulse control. In all probability, your dog won’t need such good training. However, you can do some teaching on your own, which will surely to improve your dog’s impulse.
First of all, start slow and start with realistic goals in mind. You cannot stop your dog from chewing in just a few days. What you can do, however, is improve a little each day. Start by making your dog stare at you for a long time with distractions around. You can do this by holding a treat in your hand and not giving the treat until he/she looks at you calmly for a few seconds. Improve the duration every few days and also the prize. The final step would be to teach it some commands about chewing.
Dog-Proof Your House
Another preventive action that you can take is to put everything that a dog can chew in places it can’t reach. For example, you can make it a point to keep shoes in the shoe-rack when you have dogs in the house. It will save your shoes from damage.
Another thing that you have to do is keep items that can affect your dog’s health away from them. These include plastic items that they chew on, items that are made of harmful chemicals, sharp objects that can hurt your dog, etc. Also, there might be circumstances where you will need to leave your dog home alone. In such cases, make sure to keep them in a place where they cannot find inappropriate items to chew on.
Containing The Dog
The age of a puppy decides how long it can be left alone before it starts feeling lonely. So, if your pup is 3 months old, it can be left alone for 3 hours maximum. Anything longer than that consistently and it will have a mental toll on the dog.
If they are young, the best solution would be to use a dog crate filled with all their favourite toys. For older dogs, you can use dog gates to section some areas, and put the inappropriate items on the other side where the dog can’t reach them. Another thing to keep in mind is the age group of the toys you place in the cradle or inside the gate.
Use Chew Toys
Dog product companies are smart. They have noticed the nuisance that dogs create by chewing important stuff and have gone on to create chew toys. These toys are completely safe and built to handle your pup’s chewing instincts. They come in various shapes, sizes and for different age groups.
If you are wondering about how to stop your dog chewing, then this is the best possible way. As we have already discussed, keep an eye out for inappropriate chewing and make the dog stop. Then, take the chew toy and give it to your pup. Chances are, it will find the chew toy to be a better proposition.
In the rare case that it doesn’t, you can always lather it with some dog-friendly peanut butter or other such treats that your dog loves. It would be a sure shot way to stop the chewing. Moreover, dogs get the instinct to chew at a specific time duration of the day. You can capitalise on it and keep the toy within the dog’s access when the instinct hits.
Use Repellents and Sprays
Another sure shot way of ensuring that your dog doesn’t chew on valuable items is to use Repellents that taste bad. They will make sure the dog finds it unpleasant to even be near such items. By nature, dogs have a keen sense of taste, and they will never put something in their mouth that they think will harm them. Repellents do the exact same thing. Although they are not harmful to a dog from a health perspective, they will make the dog think it’s bad.
The usual tastes that repellents exhibit are sour, spicy, and bitter. Also, you can make a pretty safe spray to use on prized items on your own. For this, you would need cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar and coffee filters. To test it out, place a small amount of the repellent on a piece of tissue and keep it near the dog’s nose and mouth. If it turns its face away, then the repellent has proven to work.
When it comes to exercise, it’s all about the hormones. When a dog chews on something it wants to chew on, endorphins are produced. These are hormones that calm the dog down. On the other hand, exercises, like running around, jumping or even going for long walks, releases the same hormones. So, the dog won’t have to seek endorphins through other means.
Moreover, exercise is really healthy for a dog when compared to sitting at home and chewing. Also, regular exercise acts as a deterrent to anxiety, attention-seeking behaviour and boredom. Exercise also helps in tiring the dog down so that it doesn’t have the required energy to do other naughty things. Boredom and anxiety are at the top of the list of reasons why adult dogs feel the urge to chew. However, make sure you consult a vet on what is the appropriate exercise for that dog breed and age group before making your furry friend do it.Read our article here on walking your dog safely
Reduce Separation Anxiety
One of the top causes, as you already may know for dogs having the urge to chew is separation anxiety. When you stay away from your dog for long durations (for a pup, long durations can even mean a couple of hours), it will start to show anxiety. To relieve itself of that dreaded feeling, it will begin to chew on anything that its mouth can fit. Wondering how to stop your puppy from chewing? Separation anxiety may be one of the prime reasons.
A working solution for separation anxiety would be to leave your scent behind. Dogs have a very keen sense of smell, and having your scent on its most used items can help in reducing the anxiety levels. To do that, just rub your hands on your dog’s favourite toys, the place where it sleeps, or the place where it stays the most.
Moreover, you can reduce separation anxiety by leaving the radio on at a low volume (dog ears are way more sensitive than ours) and playing calm, soothing sounds. Also, ensure that you don’t make an emotional farewell while leaving for a while. Dogs perceive it as though you are leaving them forever.
Feed Your Dog Well
It may not be obvious, but when a dog is eating less calories than it should be, it will seek additional sources of nutrients, and will try to find them by chewing on household objects. A sureshot way of finding out if this is the case is to observe the kind of things your dog is chewing on. If the object it chews on, gives a scent similar to food or looks like food, then it means it is searching for extra calories. Some common items dogs chew in this case are leather, wood, etc.
10)Visit The Vet
If none of the above-mentioned precautions and steps work, then it is time to visit the vet . In most cases, the dog will have severe separation anxiety that no amount of music, scents, or toys can solve. Also, the vet can even make sure everything is right with the dog’s teeth and gums.
To treat and cure the problem, the veterinarian may recommend a change in diet, exercise, medications, supplements or a full combination of all these things. However, you have to keep in mind that these won’t be stop-gap solutions. You would need to implement these changes on a daily basis.
A rare but serious issue in dogs that leads to them chewing on inappropriate objects is pica. It is a condition where dogs feel the need to eat non-food items that can even be harmful for their health. Pica can even indicate another underlying issue.
Dogs chewing on items that may be a prized possession for you or something that is harmful for their health is quite prevalent in almost all dogs. However, going hard on them is not at all a solution. You need to think objectively and think of all the different reasons for that behaviour. The next step would be to rule them out, one by one. If nothing works out, there are always veterinarians that can pinpoint the reason. And, if you ever need a reason to stop your dog from chewing then watch this video.