Chewing is something I am sure we have all come across and is actually a very normal part of a dog’s behavior. If the chewing has become destructive there can be a variety of reasons so the first will be in diagnosing the issue.

Puppies are a lot like babies in that until about six months they will still be teething. The chewing helps alleviate some of the soreness in their gums. Just like we give a baby a chew toy this is a great time to start teaching little Fido good chewing habits. Make sure he has plenty of attractive chew toys such as a KONG®, Squirrel Dude™, Twist ‘n Treat™ or Buster® Cube. These type of toys will keep him entertained and focus his energy on getting to the treat and not the sole of your new shoes.

If you are dealing with an adult dog’s chewing problem there could be a variety of reasons for this. These could be as simple as boredom or just a need for attention or they could be more serious issues such as fear or separation anxiety. The latter two may require the assistance of a professional as there could be other behavior related issues as well.

Puppy Proof

You want your dog to only have access to places that are safe. This includes rooms around the home. Anything that can be toxic to your pet and become a chewing object should be out of reach. Dirty clothes and shoes are always prime targets so rule of thumb is if you value it and do not want it damaged, put it away. Puppies learn to explore their world by tasting just about everything. This makes just about everything a target to your world class chewer. For times when you are unable to supervise your puppy using the crate for short periods of time is definitely advised. Make sure he has an appropriate toy to chew on in his crate. Taste deterrents like bitter apple can be helpful in teaching your dog what is ok and not ok to chew but should only be used in conjunction with proper training and supervision. Some dogs actually don’t mind or learn to like the deterrent and will still chew the object.

Chew on This

Giving your dog an old shoe or stuffed animal to chew and then expecting them to leave your shoes or the kids’ toys alone is not very realistic. They cannot distinguish the difference between what is theirs and what isn’t. Nylabones or greenies have always been two of my favorites as they also help their teeth at the same time. Using a toy at mealtime is also a great way to get him used to acceptable chew objects. With all the options out there choosing an appropriate toy for your dog is very important. You do not want something that might get lodged in his mouth and cost you a trip to the vet. Also rawhide and beef bones can sometimes break into little pieces and become dangerous. Supervision is always important if providing these type of treats.

If you find your dog chewing on something inappropriate using a stern NO and replacing it with something acceptable will help them learn proper chewing. If you come home and find your favorite chair chewed up scolding them at that time will not accomplish much. That guilty look is just fear. Dogs live in the present and are not able to associate a scolding with something that happened 30 minutes ago. Chasing after your dog is counterproductive as well. That is playtime to them and only reinforces the bad behavior. Calling to them and offering a treat is a much better approach.

As long as you follow some of these guidelines and get plenty of playtime and mental stimulation in the teething days will be behind you before you know it. A worn out dog generally makes for a more well behaved pooch.