Are you at your wit's end with your dog's chewing and wondering how you can cure their problems for good? Our Kinston vets provide a few tips on how to stop a dog from chewing and help them develop better habits. Plus, a few facts on dog psychology and why chewing can become an issue in the first place.
Dog Psychology: What You Should Know
Like human babies, puppies explore their new world using their mouths. This can lead them to eat almost anything they pick up, from sticks and paper to old track shoes, furniture, electrical cords, toxic plants — even your favorite pair of headphones.
You might be surprised to learn that dogs don't chew their people's things to spite or annoy us, but they are attracted to scents that remind them of their favorite people (this explains why your shoes, clothes and sports gear are so tempting). They also live in the moment, so won't connect the fact that they've destroyed these items with your anger and any subsequent punishment or discipline.
Reasons Your Dog Chews
Your dog may chew for many reasons. Dog chewing problems may develop due to:
- Lack of training
- Seeking attention
- Attempting to relive fear or anxiety
- Natural instinct
How to Stop a Dog From Chewing
Dogs do not differentiate right from wrong. Therefore, they won't be able to connect your anger and discipline to their actions (such as chewing up your favorite sweater).
Contrary to what you'd hope, unlike a child, a dog isn't capable of understanding or changing their behavior after being punished. So, never scold, muzzle or spank them as this can lead to them becoming fearful, anxious or distrustful. Instead, try these tips:
Keep Valuables Tucked Away
Got some new sneakers or stiletto heels you’d rather keep free from your dog’s chompers? Place them high on a shelf, or in another place they can’t reach.
Training & Supervision
For puppies, close supervision at home is key as they learn good habits and what not to do.
Exercise & Stimulation
Pet parents will learn early on that a tired puppy or dog is a happy one. Learn your pup’s energy levels and needs, then tailor exercise and playtime to him. Use 20 to 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise as a rule of thumb, unless your vet discovers a medical issue that prevents this.
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
At Five Oaks Animal Hospital we can perform a full health checkup and provide advice on how to solve this frustrating problem.
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.