If you’re finding fresh casualties of chewing every week – door frames, chair legs, shoes, handbags, or what should be unopened mail – it may be because your dog is bored, stressed, anxious or perhaps need some additional toy distractions.
Not all dogs chew for stimulation. Your pet could just be using the nearest available object to massage their gums during teething or perhaps and strengthen their jaw. Either way, there’s not much you can do once the damage is done. So here’s how to get in first:
Caught in the act
If you catch your dog chewing your lucky socks or the kids’ action figurine, offer them a treat or preferably a sturdy toy in exchange. By saying the word “give” as you divert them away from the valued possession to a more valued toy for your dog, you’ll be training your dog to release things on cue. Engaging in a tug of war could make your dog think it’s a game, while shouting at or scolding your pet after the fact will scare and confuse them. Remember that while you may be annoyed, your pet has probably forgotten the item that was damaged.
Once your dog makes it through their puppy stage you may be tempted to go back to old habits like kicking your shoes off at the front door or leaving cushions on the outdoor setting overnight. The rule of thumb is: if you don’t want it to become a dog’s breakfast, don’t leave it out.
Make sure you’re meeting your dog’s needs. They may be chewing for attention or as a way of releasing pent-up energy and endorphins, so spend more time playing games or exercising together. Hunger is another possible cause, so check your dog is getting enough quality food for their age, breed and size. To reduce boredom, rotate your dog’s toys, providing a variety shapes, tastes and textures.
Something else to chew on
- While you’re away keep your pet busy with an appropriate-sized, durable toy such as a tasty Kong or similar
- Make sure chew toys are easily distinguishable from household items
- Destructive chewing may be a sign of a deeper behavioural concern such as separation anxiety. If accompanied by pacing, howling or other such behaviour, or your dog is eating their own excrement when left alone, please speak to your local Greencross Vets