Does your dog have problems with chewing up your furniture, clothes, or otherwise? Here, our Lexington vets share why your dog chews and how you can help stop this behavior.
Dog Psychology 101
Like human babies, puppies are exploring the world around them for the first time, often with their mouths. This can lead to much destruction as they eat almost anything in sight, from important work documents to your expensive headphones!
It may surprise you to learn that dog’s don’t chew to spite us. In fact, they love smells that remind them of their owners, which is why your accessories, sports equipment and shoes are so intriguing. Since they also live in the moment, they won’t connect their destruction with your anger and any subsequent discipline.
Why does my dog chew?
Below are a few common reasons why your dog might be chewing things up:
- Lack of training
- Natural instinct
- To seek attention
- To relieve fear or anxiety
If you're wondering how to remedy any of these specific causes of chewing problems, contact our Lexington vets today!
How to Stop a Dog from Chewing
Dogs cannot comprehend right from wrong or connect their actions (like chewing up your furniture or shoes) to why you might be angry or see the need to discipline them. Because they don’t understand, you will likely not see a change in behavior after punishing them, so instead of muzzling, spanking or scolding them, try these:
Training & Supervision
Close supervision at home is key so your puppy can learn good habits (and what you don’t want them doing!). You may also choose to take them to obedience classes or puppy training school.
Tuck Valuables Away
Look at your home through your dog’s eyes. Have a pair of expensive leather golf shoes or prized accessories you’d rather keep out of your pet’s jaws? “Dog-proof” your space and put these items in a place they can’t reach.
Exercise & Stimulation
A tired puppy or dog is a happy one. Get a read on your pup’s energy levels and needs, then tailor playtime and an exercise routine to these. Use 20 to 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise as a general rule of thumb, unless they have a medical problem that prevents this.
Do Not Reward Behavior You Don’t Want to Continue
When your puppy nips your fingers, shriek, pull back, and leave the room. When your dog snatches a valuable item and runs off, quell the urge to chase him. Instead, call him to you and offer a treat or toy in exchange for the item being chewed.
How your vet can help
Fortunately, excessive dog chewing behavior dwindles by around 18 months of age for most, but will likely continue to some degree, depending on your dog’s breed and other factors, for their entire life. If you see excessive chewing, consult your veterinarian. They can:
- Check for medical reasons your dog might be chewing and provide treatment
- Advise whether you should let certain items pass, when your dog needs to come in for an exam and when you should induce vomiting if he or she has chewed an inappropriate item
- Provide advice and pointers for modifying your dog’s behavior
- Suggest appropriate chew toys, treats, deterrents or training methods
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.