Tip of the Month

6/25/2010 How to Cease Your Dog’s Destructive Chewing

By nature, dogs are very playful creatures, which is what we, as humans, love about them. Yet sometimes, our pals develop annoying, and sometimes destructive habits that drive us absolutely crazy. No matter how much you adore your pooch, chances are you wouldn’t be happy to come home from work to find your dog happily gnawing on your favorite pair of shoes. Nor would you want him tearing up your furniture, and snacking on the cables behind the television while you were away.

Sadly, destructive chewing, and unwanted chewing in general is a trait that many dogs develop, no matter how much dog obedience training they have had. But fear not – there are plenty of ways to eradicate this unwanted behavior in a positive way that will both allow your pal to have his fun, and stop your shoe collection from being destroyed.

In the event that you discover your best friend munching on your possessions, irritated as you might be, do not react with anger against your dog. At the time it may satisfy you to shout at him for engaging in the unwanted behavior, but human logic and dog logic are two very different things. In your mind, punishing him for tearing up your couch will teach him not to repeat the act. In his mind, he has never been taught not to chew on unwanted objects, and you are cornering him for no good reason. If you get angry at him enough times without positively correcting the behavior, he could develop anxiety, or even react with defensive aggression. If you use positive methods to train dogs, you will find that your teachings are far more successful.

More often than not, the reason why your dog is chewing up your things is due to boredom. If you are not home for most of the day, and simply leave him to his own devices, you should not be surprised to find that he has engaged in undesirable behavior. The best way to keep this from occurring is to take preventative measures ahead of time. Provide your dog with a variety of chew toys to play with if you are away for an extended period of time, and reward him when he gnaws on his toy instead of on your favorite chair.

Another way to prevent the destruction of your belongings is to keep them out of your pooch’s reach. If you don’t want it in his mouth, make it inaccessible. Keep your shoes, socks, trash, and anything else he might decide to chew on locked away to eradicate any temptation.

Excess energy is also a cause behind destructive chewing. When your hound has little play time, it is common for him to seek outlets such as chewing to let it out. Remember: your pal is not acting this way to retaliate, or punish you for not paying attention to him. He is simply unable to find another method by which to express his energy. By exercising him frequently, and setting aside a good amount of play time, your dog will be perfectly content with gnawing on his rawhide while you take care of your own business, and absolutely thrilled each time you take him for a walk, or play a game of fetch.

As any animal trainer will tell you, with dedication and patience, you will be able to successfully train your pooch to cease chewing up your personal items. This behavior is undesirable, but can be eliminated as long as you stick to a strict and solid regime. With a little hard work, you and your best friend will be on the path to a healthier and happier relationship.

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