Dogs and Destructive Chewing

Chewing Dogs

First of all, if your dog is exhibiting fear or anxiety driven chewing, you may want to consult a vet or behavioral specialist to help you out.

Dogs may chew for a variety of reason. It may be anxiety or fear as noted above, but many dogs chew simply because they are bored, understimulated or were never taught that chewing on everything they can get their paws on is unacceptable.

Dog-‘proofing’ your house is one of the smartest things an owner can do. If you don’t want it in your dog’s mouth, don’t put it in a place he can get it. That goes for your shoes, your clothes, your water bottle, your phone and anything else of importance. If it’s not within his reach, he won’t run for it when he feels the urge to chew.

Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise. If you work a full day and leave your dog at home, he is apt to get bored, and my, oh my, does that table leg look delicious! Make sure you spend time before and after work taking him out for a long walk and he’ll be too tired to be destructive.

Teach him to be toy obsessed. Make sure that he knows his boundaries and don’t laugh and throw your slippers and shoes around for him to fetch and then get mad when he chews them up one day nonchalantly. Hey, if he was taught that was okay at some point, he’s going to continue to do so.

If you do find something he’s managed to chew to pieces and it’s already done, punishing him after the fact will not get the point across. At that point you’re too late. Your dog will not understand that you’re punishing him for something he did three hours ago and it will breed confusion.

Things like bitter fruit sprays (dog safe, of course) are available to spray on furniture or other things that he just can’t stay away from, but make sure to monitor him as he may not care that you’ve done this and continue to eat away at your beloved dining room table.

The most important thing is to give the love, training and attention to your dog so that he knows how to properly live in your home without feeling lonely, anxiety ridden or destructive.