Our precious pooches are our family. They fill our hearts with love and fill our lives with joy. But that doesn’t mean they don’t push our buttons when it comes to chewing everything and anything they can get their paws on!
Your favourite pair of heels, your new running shoes, your car keys, your kid’s homework – it all gets chewed up. If this is the case, then we have the solution for how to stop your precious pooch’s bad chewing habits.
The thing is, there are actually a number of reasons why your dog might be chewing everything and anything. When you are able to identify why they are doing this, you will find it a lot easier to stop it.
Reasons for chewing and how to stop your dog from chewing everything:
1. It’s common puppy behaviour
Just like toddlers like to put whatever they can find into their mouths – from their thumb, to dummies, and even soap (toddlers are capable of anything), puppies also like to use their mouth to understand and explore the world around them.
But before you start to lose all hope, the good news is that this is often just a stage that your precious pooch will outgrow as he gets older.
A good idea is to try and puppy-proof your home as best as possible, keep all valuables out of reach, and keep bedroom doors closed. You should also work on establishing your position as the pack leader.
2. Separation anxiety
This is a serious thing for many dogs.
This kind of behaviour will occur when you are out of the house and leave your dog at home alone. To stop your dog from chewing things when he or she is left alone, you need to find out how to keep your dog calm when you leave home. He is only chewing things because he is upset that you left him.
A good idea is to give your dog a treat when you leave to keep him busy and take him for a walk every morning before you leave home or play with him to tire him out.
3. Bruno is bored
If you notice that your dog has a lot of extra energy, then this might be why he is chewing everything; he is bored and needs an outlet for his frustration.
This is why it is important that you take your dog for regular long walks, play with him, and give him a chew toy that can keep him busy for hours – like a puzzle toy filled with peanut butter (the sugar-free kind – but make sure it does not have any additives or xylitol).
4. It’s just instinct
Chewing is just what dogs like to do.
It is a part of their natural and normal behaviour, but it should not be excessive. This also should not mean that you have to put up with it. That’s why chew toys are so important for dogs.
Make sure your dog has a couple of fun toys to chew on to keep him occupied when he gets bored. If you notice that your dogs toys are looking old or worn, it may be time to get a new one as the old one may not be stimulating enough anymore.
5. There could be a medical problem
Some dogs chew because they are lacking some vital nutrients from their diet. If you have tried all of the above, then make an appointment to see your vet (FYI – it helps if you have pet insurance that pays YOU before your vet visit and covers you for emergency and routine care) to find out if your precious pooch has any medical issues that might be causing the chewing.
It might also be a behavioural issue – so it helps to find out.
6. Bonus tip – Use your body language!
Your body language is a major factor when it comes to teaching your dog not to chew. A good technique is to claim the object as your own when you catch him chewing it.
You should act calm and assertive and let your dog know the object is yours. Try to imagine an invisible wall that you are putting around the object and yourself.
If none of the above has worked, then you should think about getting an expert dog behaviourist to work with you and your dog – this can be a great help and well worth the money spent in most cases. Think about the money you will be saving from not having anything chewed up anymore!
Yours in not-so-average pet advice,
The Petinsurance.co.za team