Chewing is normal behavior for puppies, and can sometimes be found in dogs as well. Once you notice that older dogs are still chewing consistently, this means they have developed that habit. It is important that you recognize and identify troubled habits when they chew things they are not allowed to. Here are some ways to address your dog’s chewing habit.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
It is important to note that as the dog’ ages, its habit of chewing should lessen unless of course, it’s given toys, bones, foods, sticks, or anything else to chew. They should not be chewing up your shoes or furniture. The reason puppies chew is mostly due to growing pains, as it is mainly associated with their gums that are bothering them. For adult dogs that are constantly chewing as they age, this is most likely associated with not being phased out as they get older.
Control The Situation
One of the big mistakes you can make as a dog owner is to give too much freedom to your pet. You might think this is a good thing, but this can be detrimental as you do not provide order in your home to your pet, and this could lead to behavioral issues. It is important that you control and structure your dog, as this will reduce potential feelings of anxiety and stress from being given too much freedom. That added stress can also contribute to their chewing and biting habits. Your initial approach should involve managing and controlling the environment for your dog. Especially early on, you want to provide your puppy or dog with products that they can chew and not destroy. This includes different toys and the best dog beds for chewers, as they will constantly be looking for something to sink their teeth into, especially as they are growing. You should store everything you do not want to be chewed, keeping items away from their field of view.
Lack Of Needed Stimulation
As touched upon earlier, you want to recognize why your dog is constantly chewing. One of the most common reasons that lead dogs to chew is feelings of stress and anxiety. This can be attributed to a lack of stimulation, which leads to frustration in your dog. You can provide stimulation in a few different ways. Play is common, but again, you want to ensure that you are playing in a positive manner, where you teach your dog what is permitted and what is not allowed when playing. Additionally, exercise is a great form of stimulation, taking them out for walks and in open areas. This will give them ways to expend their energy and be less anxious later on.
Anxiety From Separation
One of the major contributors to anxiety and stress would be when your dog experiences separation from you or the owner. If they are not properly trained and comfortable with being left alone for extended periods of time, they will feel stressed, and as mentioned, will often chew things to relieve that feeling of anxiety. In order to assist with this, you need to provide your dog training in regards to being separated from you, assuring them that it is okay to be left alone at times. This is especially important for growing puppies as these feelings and habits will be established early, and addressing them as early as possible will help avoid such biting and chewing habits. Consider if you are creating an environment that makes your dog more attached to you and if they feel anxiety when you are not around. If this is the case, you will need to go back and retrain them.
Provide Chew Toys To Engage Them
Even as your dog ages, it will still have a need and desire to chew. This is not necessarily associated with stress, but could just be from boredom. It is important that you not only train and teach your dog what not to chew, but that you provide the toys and products that are okay to chew, with different textures, and in some cases flavors. Chewing is not inherently bad, but it is important that you differentiate with positive play and teaching what is okay for them and what they should not chew.
It is important to remember that when you are training your dog to reinforce positive chewing habits and behaviors, that you do not take shortcuts. Using different smelling and bitter sprays may remove them from your furniture for the time being, but it won’t be as effective in positive reinforcement training. Identify your dog’s problems and negative habits, and look for ways to correct them. Also remember that chewing is natural for animals, to maintain good teeth health, and not all chewing is bad. You just have to teach your pet what they can and can’t chew.