Puppies need to chew when they’re teething, similar to the way human babies do. It’s also a way for dogs to investigate unfamiliar objects in their environment. A Dog’s need to chew is natural and instinctual; one of the reasons for chewing was to keep a dog’s jaws strong and clean their teeth and gums. The urge to chew doesn’t end when your dog becomes an adult, it continues throughout his life.
|Isis did the Walk of Shame after ripping up poor Phoebe's bed. I neglected to spray it with Bitter Apple spray; shame on Mommy.|
There’s good chewing and there’s bad chewing. Bad chewing is when your dog chews inappropriately and destructively. There are several reasons for destructive chewing.
BOREDOM: Your dog may simply be bored. He doesn’t have enough things to keep him occupied at home.
EXCESS ENERGY: Your dog may not have burned enough energy through physical activity. He needs to release that pent up energy somehow and your couch might end up being just the thing!
|My Snowdog gets even more energetic as the weather cools down!|
ANXIETY: If your dog is anxious; separation anxiety or is just general anxiety, he needs to find a way to relieve his anxiety. Attacking your shoes in a frenzy may be the only way he knows to get relief!
STRESS: Your dog may become stressed by changes in the household. This can be anything from work being done in the house, guests staying over, moving, a new baby or pet joining the family, or anything else that is out of the ordinary. He may not understand what’s happening or what to expect next and that could stress him out.
Here are 6 Ways to prevent inappropriate chewing
EXERCISE: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times; A WELL EXERCISED DOG IS A GOOD DOG! Keep your dog well exercised with daily walks; quick potty walks are not enough. Take him for longer interesting walks that burn energy and include lots of interesting smells. Vary your route to keep it interesting. Hikes or bike rides are even better.
PLAY DATES: Arrange play dates with one or two other dogs a few days a week. Dogs playing will go at it until they plop down with exhaustion! When I invite Isis’ Golden Retriever friend Cooper over for playtime in our yard, I know I’ll have a seriously tired dog afterwards. That’s saying a lot considering how much energy a Husky has!
|Isis plays hard with her "boyfriend" Cooper!|
|Isis meets up with her Husky friends at the dog park|
TOYS: Make sure your dog has toys that will keep him occupied throughout the day. Rotating toys will keep them fresh in your dog’s mind and will be more exciting each time he gets to play with them. I keep the toy basket out of reach and out of sight. I randomly give them 2 or 3 to play with at a time. They get excited each time they see their “new” toy again!
Interactive toys will keep your dog mentally stimulated. A Wobbler toy filled with some kibble or treats, or a puzzle toy are good choices.
|Isis & Phoebe love this puzzle toy! I hide treats under the pieces, they figure out how to move the pieces to get to the treats|
BITTER SPRAY: Bitter spray is your friend! You can spritz it on furniture and other objects your dog may have taken a liking to. The day I brought Phoebe home I was horrified to glimpse her putting her mouth on the rungs of my dining room chair to have a chew. I gave her a firm “Ah, Ah!!”, but she kept going back to the chair. I broke out my trusty Bitter Apple spray and proceeded to hose down each and every chair leg in the house! I also sprayed around the couch and pillows. Bitter spray has been a savior in our home. When Isis was a puppy I went through tons of it. I’ve even sprayed shrubs and plants I didn’t want the dogs to snack on. Keep up the spraying for a few days and your dog will quickly realized that the item he so desired to chew on now tastes disgusting!
Has your dog ever eaten the couch, your shoes or other object? How did you handle it?