How to stop your dog chewing stuff

It’s almost inevitable that one day you’ll come home to some sort of destruction caused by your dog’s teeth. Chewing accomplishes a number of things for our dogs and they will use their teeth for various different things throughout their life, from exploring the world to easing pain.

Rule out other problems first

Before finding a solution for your dog’s destructive behaviour you’ll want to rule out some other problems first.

Separation anxiety

Some puppies and even older dogs don’t take too well to being left at home alone. If this is the case then your dog might show other signs of separation anxiety, such as whining, barking, indoor urination and defecation, restlessness and pacing.

An unbalanced diet

A hungry dog will become destructive and chew and dig to find additional sources of nutrition. Some dogs are known to have chewed stones or plaster as they’re not getting enough calcium in their diet. If you have any concerns about your dog’s diet then speak to your vet.

Normal chewing behaviour

Chewing is normal and will help a teething puppy soothe their sore gums, but there are a few other reasons why your dog might be finding comfort in chewing your favourite pair of shoes.

Boredom

Just like us, dogs get bored. Being left alone for long periods of time or not getting enough mental or physical stimulation can all lead to boredom where they’re left to entertain themselves, which can lead to destructive behaviour.

A dachshund chewing cushions

Attention-seeking behaviour

If your dog learns that you’ll give them attention because they’re chewing something they’re not supposed to then they’re likely to carry on chewing if they’re getting attention, whether it’s good or bad.

Teething

Just like babies, puppies appreciate the ability to soothe their aching gums and chewing does this. There are different stages of teething, so just when you think it’s over, they might start chewing again.

How do I stop my dog from chewing?

Our top 5 techniques to stop your dog chewing:

  • Make sure your dog has plenty of “approved” items to chew. Don’t provide these all at once, you’ll want to rotate the toys and chews so that your dog doesn’t get bored of what’s provided.
  • Teach your dog what is unacceptable and acceptable to chew. If you find your puppy chewing on a pair of shoes then simply replace them with a toy. Don’t be tempted to provide an old pair of shoes or other unused household items as this will just confuse your dog.
  • Puppy-proof your home. This will help minimise the damage your dog will be able to cause when alone or bored.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of physical and mental exercise so that they’re properly stimulated.
  • Make sure to try and play with your dog a couple of times a day. This will help them to learn appropriate behaviour which they won’t necessarily learn by playing by themselves.

Remember not to punish your dog if they end up chewing things they shouldn’t, this is not an effective way to train your dog and will only result in damaging the relationship between you.

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