We’ve all been there. We get home from a long day of work to find our living pillows ripped to shreds! Our dog greets us with a look of mischievous guilt on his face.
We want to get mad, but we can’t. It’s like firing an employee for being inappropriate at last year’s Christmas party! The deed’s been done, and nothing can put the pillows back together.
What’s important right now is to make sure this doesn’t happen again. But how exactly can you protect your furniture from your dog’s uncontrollable urge to chew? The first step is to understand why you pooch is chewing.
Why Is Fido Chewing?
The majority of dogs engage in destructive chewing because they’re bored, they want attention, and they don’t know any better. In some more extreme cases dogs may chew because of an anxiety of fear related condition, but this is rare. If you believe your dog is suffering from some of these deeper issues, it’s important to seek help from a professional vet.
How to Control the Chewing
Dogs get bored and stir-crazy for a couple of reasons. They might feel neglected, or simply have a lot of pent up physical energy. To combat these forces there are two simple solutions:
1. Spend more time engaging with your dog. This will not only keep their mind off chewing, it will make them feel more loved. If they feel like they need to chew to get your attention, they probably won’t.
2. Make sure to give your dog ample physical and mental stimulation throughout the day. The more you wear your dog out, the less energy they will have pent up inside.
If you live a busy lifestyle you might not have all that much time to devote to your dog. If this is the case it might make sense to hire a dog walker, or ask a neighbor to drop by and play with your pup for a while.
Teach Your Pup What to Chew
Even if you make all the appropriate changes to combat your dog’s chewing, the habit might not disappear. Chewing is a healthy way for dogs to keep their teeth strong, and it serves as a powerful stress reliever. The best way to protect your belongings is to teach your dog what can and can’t be chewed. These two simple steps will help you with the process:
1. Make sure your dog always has an appropriate item to gnaw on such as a chew-toy, a rawhide, or a bone. If your dog picks up an item to chew that’s not on the “OK” list, take it away and replace it with an item that is.
2. Try introducing your dog to a number of different toys until they find one that they are entertained by. If your dog develops an obsession with a particular toy, they will be less likely to chew on a household item. If you’re having trouble getting your dog to embrace the toy, you can use a treat based reward system to encourage them to make the transition.
Telling somebody to stop chewing their nails after the fact isn’t going to fix their problem. It’s a process that takes time and effort. Scolding your dog after the fact, is counter-productive and can even confuse your pooch. If you want to succeed, you need to work for your dog, not against him.
Alex Asche is an avid dog lover, and the founder of Paws For A Cause. The family-run business offers a variety of products for people and their pets, all made from start to finish in the USA. 100% of all profits is donated to dog shelters. Alex and his family take pride in giving back to less fortunate animals. The family currently lives in Charleston, SC with their beloved Golden Retriever Gemma. To connect with Alex, check out his website pawsforacause.com. You can also reach him on Facebook at facebook.com/pawsforacause, and Twitter @pawsforacause.