The reasons behind destructive chewing
- Anxiety & Stress
- Plain old boredom
Do you have one of those Dogs that just chews everything in sight? Let me answer your question How To Stop a Dog From Chewing Everything.
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How To Stop a Dog From Chewing Everything. Stopping Your Dog chewing Everything In Sight
Even though most of us would agree that we sometimes don’t deserve dogs due to their ability to love us no matter what, certain problems may arise when we’re not taking care of them properly.
Dogs are prone to destructive behavior, especially when they are bored or anxious. They will try to eat grass, their own feces, not to mention our shoes! In fact, one persistent problem in puppies, and sometimes even in adult dogs, is chewing everything within reach.
This sort of behavior is not alarming when the puppy is teething. However, if it continues into the dog’s adulthood, we could be in for a wild, unpleasant ride. Thus, in this article, we will outline all the reasons why a dog might resort to chewing things and discuss how on Earth we can prevent this.
Why do dogs enjoy chewing things?
It’s safe to say that dogs are wonderful creatures, full of life and imagination. However, their good nature is what makes them go around and sniff everything out. In fact, that same need to explore the world around them is the primary reason why they might start chewing on all sorts of things.
Let’s face it — if dogs were in the wild, they would probably chew on branches, grass, etc. Nevertheless, since they are now domesticated, this sort of behavior is frowned upon. Yet just because something is off-limits, it doesn’t mean they don’t feel the urge to chew pretty much everything they can lay their paws on.
In essence, when talking about dogs and their chewing habits, we can compare them to human toddlers. How many times has one of us seen a toddler put a remote control in their mouth and chew on it? Millions! Likewise, toddlers love tasting new things (except weird vegetables like broccoli), and they love exploring what their teeth can do. The same goes for puppies and even some adult dogs.
Therefore, let’s look at some reasons that are a bit complicated to resolve when looking for a way to stop a dog from chewing.
Even though dogs seem like regular happy-go-lucky animals, the truth is that they are prone to anxiety just as we are. They are usually separated from their mothers shortly after birth, which is a big enough reason to feel nervous about doing anything at all. Furthermore, getting an owner is good for them in the long run, but the period of adjustment would most likely include them chewing on practically everything.
Puppies are those who are most prone to chewing, and the anxiety they might be feeling goes in line with their behavior. What’s more, just like human toddlers, once they start teething, we can expect them to start chewing on all sorts of things, purely because they are training their teeth and trying to stop all that itching.
Adult dogs, however, can suffer from separation anxiety. This is the anxious feeling they get once we leave the house for the day. Because they are ultimately sad without us and they feel as if we’ve left them forever, they can start chewing on furniture, bedding, and even plants.
Some dog owners think that in order to stop a dog from chewing things, they have to spend all their free time with them. Of course, this is a viable solution. However, humans do have to go to work and pay the bills, so on more than one occasion, the dog has to be left home alone.
So what happens then? Chances are they might start to wreak havoc, as they have to battle their loneliness. No matter if we have just one dog or two, they’re bound to feel lonely because their favorite person is not with them. Thus, our shoes, socks, chairs, and rugs can become useful chewing toys that help them feel less worried about whether we will ever come back.
Dogs thrive when we are with them, so this is one of the most common reasons why dogs may start chewing on things. However, that isn’t to say it is a problem that cannot be resolved.
Apart from chewing stuff we have in our home, dogs can also sometimes start chewing themselves. We can catch them chewing their paws, tails, and even their behinds. However, the reasons behind this can be somewhat sinister. This sort of behavior could be a sign of the dog suffering from something far more serious than loneliness.
Long-haired dogs are more prone to catching ticks, and these pests can easily make them scratch and chew themselves just to make the itching go away. If we notice that the dog lacks hair in some places, this is a telltale sign we need to take it to the vet.
Finally, there’s a plant called foxtail barley, or Hordeum jubatum, which can get on the dog’s skin. Once there, it is very difficult to remove it, as any move made by the dog can get it under the skin even further. Thus, it’s vital to check the dogs for foxtail barley after every walk, especially if we usually walk them in parks where the grass isn’t mowed often.
There are various symptoms of a dog having some foxtail barley on it, but more than on one occasion, we will catch them scratching their hair off and chewing themselves. What’s more, this plant can get stuck in their paws, which they will then vigorously chew and cause to bleed due to pure frustration.
Plain old boredom
Lastly, dogs may just be bored, and since they cannot do the same things we do to alleviate boredom, they can start chewing on things without giving them a second thought. In fact, we can even compare chewing out of boredom to humans as well. Humans are also prone to munching whenever they feel like they haven’t got anything to do.
Nevertheless, learning how to stop a dog from chewing shoes, blankets, and even tables is not that difficult if we know why they are doing it. So before opting for one of the methods below, we will have to consider their recent behavior and decide if maybe we are not taking care of them as much as we should.
Determining the cause in order to stop a dog from chewing
As mentioned, in order to stop a dog from chewing stuff, we first have to check what’s actually going on. Whether it’s boredom, anxiety, or anything else for that matter, it can be fixed. However, first, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:
- Is the dog chewing things when we are at home or only when we’re out?
- What are they chewing: stuff made of soft materials or something tougher, like chairs?
- Are they more prone to chewing toys or regular stuff like shoes?
- Have we ever caught them chewing themselves?
This sort of information is necessary if we want to choose the right method. The easiest to “cure” is boredom. However, if the dog keeps chewing itself, then we will have to consult a vet and see if we might need to either change their walking routine or resort to getting them a brand new haircut.
How To Stop a Dog From Chewing Everything — tips and tricks
Get them some new chewing toys (See prices on Amazon)
Admittedly, the first solution would be to convince the dog to opt for chewing toys instead. These come in all shapes and sizes, and some even have a flavor or ascent. In any case, we can shop around and choose the one that would most likely interest our dog.
Another good chewing toy would be the one that squeaks when chewed on. This would be a lot more entertaining to the dog than a regular rubber toy; they might find it interesting how the toy “reacts” to them.
When in doubt, there are repellents we can use in order to stop a dog from chewing our furniture, for example. These can be used in the form of sprays that we can apply to stuff we want to preserve. Some scents and flavors are just pretty nasty to dogs, so they will stay away from those parts of the house.
What’s important to note here is that we have to make sure the repellents are non-toxic and that they won’t lead to the appearance of some pests. They shouldn’t cause harm to our dogs, although they will most likely run away from them as soon as they sniff them out.
How To Stop a Dog From Chewing Everything. Work on their behavior
One of the most effective ways to stop a dog from chewing would be to start working on its behavior as soon as possible. This would entail us being firm with them so that they know they shouldn’t repeat their actions ever again.
The regular commands, such as STOP THAT and NO, would be useful here, especially if the dog is still just a puppy. Puppies will try to make us happy, and in any case, they don’t know any better. So before chewing becomes a bigger problem, we can tweak their behavior and ensure they grow into non-destructive adult dogs.
However, do know that screaming at a dog won’t do much good, especially if they are still young. Chances are we’ll just scare them and make them anxious. That can, as we have already mentioned, also lead to destructive chewing.
Of course, if the dogs are bored, there’s only one solution — try to entertain them! This can be done in various ways, including engaging them in a few tug-of-war sessions and playing with them on a regular basis.
Dogs love to have fun, so figuring out new ways to keep them happy won’t be too difficult. We can start by getting them a few stuffed toys they can play with, balls and dog puzzles.
Get them to exercise more
Puppies love running around and sniffing things out, which is why they may start chewing on things they shouldn’t chew. However, adult dogs usually get over that phase pretty quickly. Nevertheless, if they are still showing signs of destructive behavior, we ought to do something about it.
Luckily, since they love being active, we can and should get them to exercise more. We can try to find a new park where they can run around with other dogs. Furthermore, we can create an obstacle course in our own backyard to make up for them being home a lot.
Whatever we can think of, it could help. They will have less time to think about our shoes as a great snack! In addition to that, they will be exhausted after running around, so they most likely won’t even try to chew on things at home.
Puppy-proof the home
Finally, if we want to ensure our furniture stays intact, we can always puppy-proof our home. This is a reliable solution if we want to stop a dog from chewing. After all, not having access to certain stuff will most likely discourage them from even trying.
So what does puppy-proofing the home actually entail? Well, for starters, to keep our shoes in top-notch condition, we can start by putting them in the closet. Furthermore, if the puppy is too lively, we can keep it in a crate when we are at home. This will allow us to keep an eye on it without too much hassle.
If the dog loves chewing on books, keep them on a bookshelf. Likewise, if they love nibbling on dirty clothes and socks, make sure a hamper is nearby. That way, you can prevent any sort of damage from happening.
However, do know that puppy-proofing the home is essential even when we are dealing with adult dogs. Boredom, anxiety, and all other reasons we have already mentioned can also be resolved by keeping our home tidy. Essentially, if the dog doesn’t have anything to chew on except its toys, our problem is solved.
What NOT to do when trying to stop a dog from chewing things
Finally, even though we have given you a few ideas on how to stop a dog from chewing, we have to warn you about some inhumane practices some dog owners have engaged in. The following will not fix the dog’s behavior nor will it make your home a happy one. So do make sure to avoid:
Using a muzzle to stop a dog from chewing stuff
Violence and screaming at the dog
We don’t want them to be afraid of us, no matter what kind of damage they’ve made. What’s more, this is a form of animal abuse, and if we love our dogs, we won’t even think to engage in this sort of behavior. Being strict and being abusive are two completely different things. Thus, every dog owner has to know the difference and how not to cross the line.
Tying the damaged object to the dog
This sort of behavior is completely inhumane, and it will not teach the dog anything at all. In fact, it might even make it angry and cause even more distress than it’s feeling already.
Leaving the dog in the crate for hours
We have mentioned that you can use a crate to keep an eye on the dog. However, if we keep the dog in it for too long, it can have the opposite effect. After all, we are their primary providers! Therefore, if we are treating them as nothing else but animals, why do we even keep them as pets?
Tying the dog’s jaw with string and duct-taping its mouth!!
Need we explain why it’s of the utmost importance to avoid this? Not only is it inhumane but it’s also on the verge of psychopathic behavior. Dogs are delicate creatures; we have to take care of them properly, not to mention show them often how much we love them. Thus, using duct tape to stop a dog from chewing is completely unnecessary and very dangerous.
Some dogs have even died like this. Sadly, this just goes to show how humans can sometimes be evil when it comes to these animals.
Hopefully, our readers now have all the information they need about how to stop their dog when it engages in destructive chewing behavior.
Know that they are not doing it because they hate us; it is just in their nature, or they have a problem they don’t know how to resolve. Luckily, by using the tips and tricks outlined above, every dog out there can once again become a well-behaved canine — a true best friend!