How to stop my dog chewing? This is one of the most common issues dog owner face with their dogs during puppyhood and some into adulthood. My dog Lucas is a hugeeeee chewer -he chomps on his toys and bones until the cats come home (which is forever, because we are all allergic to cats here), and on occasion that means that he chews things he’s not supposed to. Though chewing is norma for puppies, there are five steps to correct inappropriate chewing that could work for you and your dog if you are persistent and can spend a lot of time to correct the behavior.
5 Steps to Correct Inappropriate Chewing:
1. Make sure it’s not due to a medical issue. Chewing can be a coping mechanism for your puppy if they are feeling ill due to gastrointestinal issues. Nutritional deficiencies and parasites can also be cause of chewing, so if it seems excessive, pay a visit to your veterinarian to either rule it out or correct the medical issue.
2. Puppy-proof your space. Much like babies, your puppy doesn’t know any better than to chew or play with household cleaners, electrical cords, or sharp objects. Keep potentially toxic items out of your puppy’s reach, as well as everyday objects like socks, kid’s toys, shoes, and small trinkets that might tempt your dog.
3. Encourage appropriate chewing. Pet stores are full of puppy-proofed items and toys that can be chewed up over and over again. Make sure the toy is big enough that it won’t be swallowed, but can be carried around, be careful with stuffed toys and rawhide that can be ripped apart and swallowed, and what I think is most important, do not give your dog a toy shaped or designed after something that they might actually chew. For Lucas, this means a shoe shaped toy especially. Do not give your dog license to your real things by giving them a confusing permission to chew something that looks just like it.
4. Discourage inappropriate chewing. Even when you think that anything chewable is out of the way after completing step two, puppies will be puppies, and their mischievous curiosity might lead them to something they can chew. If this happens, take the item away, scold them, quickly replace the item with an appropriate toy from step three, and praise your dog for chewing that appropriately. If this is repeated every time he chews something of yours, the behavior will decrease and he will know what is safe to chew and what will get him in trouble. Another option for failed correction is a taste deterrent, such as bitter apple spray.
5. Engage in play with your dog. If you make time to play with your dog every day, they will less likely engage in inappropriate chewing to keep them busy. Tiring them out on a regular basis will keep them calm, quiet, and likely engaged in their toys afterward.
After following these five steps, you should have a dog that understands what types of items are for chewing and which are not. I will definitely keep trying these last four steps with Lucas, because he is still a little bit mischievous. Let us know if these five steps work for you and your pooch.