Are you tired of coming home and finding out that your dog destroyed your couch, your remote, or your favorite pair of shoes? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, destructive chewing is a pretty common behavior, and most dog parents are faced with this issue at least once in their dog’s lifetime. The good news? Whether your dog is a puppy going through their teething phase, or an adult dog that chews out of boredom or frustration, this behavior is totally trainable. Read on to learn our top tips for stopping your dog from chewing through your house.
Determine Why Your Dog Is Chewing
Dogs chew for many reasons, and it’s possible your dog’s behavior is caused by a more serious issue like separation anxiety or hunger. Many dogs with separation anxiety chew to ease their anxiety, while dogs with restricted diets may be chewing out of hunger. If your dog only chews when you’re gone, or is chewing objects related to food, consult your vet for guidance on easing separation anxiety or dealing with your dog’s hunger.
Create A Puppy-Proof Area
Just like you’d baby-proof your house, create a puppy-safe area using baby gates or the dog’s crate. When you leave your dog alone, leave him in this puppy-proof area to limit his access to forbidden items. To keep your dog occupied while you’re gone, give him a few acceptable toys or a kong filled with treats.
Hide Your Treasured Possessions
Obviously, your dog can’t (and shouldn’t!) be left in a small area all day long. When you open up the rest of your house to your dog, make sure you’ve stashed your valuable items out of your dog’s reach. Dogs are typically drawn to shoes, socks, eyeglasses, and remotes, so make sure those items aren’t easily accessible to curious pups.
When your dog is out of their puppy-proof area, keep a close eye on them. If they grab a forbidden object, resist the urge to run after them. Your dog will probably think chase is a fun game, rather than a punishment, which is why chasing them can actually reinforce their chewing behavior.
Instead, Supervise and Redirect
When your pooch starts to chew on a household item, quickly correct them. You can teach your dog to “drop it” or “give” by exchanging a treat for the toy while saying the command. Once they drop the item, give them the treat and redirect them to an appropriate toy instead.
Choose Toys Wisely
Avoid giving your dog old shoes or socks as toys. Your dog won’t understand the difference between an old leather boot and a brand-new one, so chances are, they’ll soon end up chewing on your most expensive pair of footwear.
Instead, choose toys made for dogs. While you’re shopping, avoid toys that have pieces that could easily be chewed off and swallowed, like buttons, eyes, and ribbons. For dogs that chew a lot, balls or kongs may be your best bet due to their durability. Just make sure the toy is small enough for your dog to pick up and carry, but big enough so they can’t accidentally swallow it and choke.
Keep Your Dog Active
As we’ve said before, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. If you’ve tried these tips with no success, your dog may need more physical and mental stimulation.
Try taking them on more walks or try out some of these mentally stimulating indoor activities. By increasing your dog’s daily activity, they’ll use up their energy on healthy activities, rather than destructive ones.
Invest In Items with a Chewing Warranty
There are some things you may not be able to hide from your dog while they’re learning not to chew, like their harness. Luckily, our patented Freedom No-Pull Harness comes with a lifetime replacement warranty for chewing damage! Just send us your chewed harness and pay the warranty fee (which includes shipping), and we’ll send you your replacement as soon as we receive your old harness.
Chewing is an unfortunate reality for most dog owners, but with the right tools (and a lot of patience) you’ll be well on your way to a better-behaved dog.