For many people there are few things more pleasurable in life than owning a dog. All the cliches about them being “man’s best friend” have some truth in them. Not only are dogs a great source of fun and enjoyment, but they are also good for your mental wellbeing and hugging and stroking your dog has been proven to reduce stress by up to 40%! Moreover, you need to exercise a dog which helps to get you moving and getting some good exercise yourself regardless of the weather, which can only benefit you.
However, dogs also get bored and frustrated. This often leads to what is known as “destructive behavior”. This includes chewing on everything. From your stunning heels left on the floor from last night’s dinner, to the base of your wooden bookshelf and the armrests on your couch, bored dogs chew on just about anything. Remember too that dogs go through a teething stage from about 8 weeks till 6 months old when their teeth develop which is very painful. They need to chew to relieve the pressure on their gums. Inappropriate chewing though is what dog owners need to avoid. This can develop into a chronic problem if not dealt with. However, there are ways to stop your dog from chewing your furniture or hands and feet with their mighty jaws.
Chewing Due To Health Problems
Not all dog owners know this, but many dogs chew because they are suffering from a medical problem. This can be anything from a nutritional deficiency to an imbalance in the intestinal flora. If they have gastrointestinal problems, they will often chew to assist in ridding themselves from the nausea caused by this. The best way to ensure that Fido’s chewing is behavioral and not a health problem is to get him to a vet and have them do the necessary checks to rule out what could become a serious problem.
This is something that should be encouraged. If dogs are supplied with the correct chew toys that they enjoy chewing, then they will be far less likely to look to your furniture and other belongings as chew items. Try out a different range of toys to determine durability, and what your dog likes best. Some dogs are more destructive with toys than others, so your dog might require a super heavy duty toy whilst other dogs can get away with enjoying a chomp on a plush toy. However, stay away from bones as these can get stuck in the digestive tract and cause serious health problems. Also delineate “toys” from other items. Giving a dog an old shoe to chew makes them think shoes are appropriate chew items when they are not.
Stop Inappropriate Chewing In Its Tracks
This is often done with the aid of sprays. Many sprays can be used on areas where dogs and puppies are want to chew. These sprays come in a range of forms and simply need to be sprayed on your arm rests, wood trimmings and other items your dog generally chews on to stop them from chewing. Alternatively, you can make your own dog deterrent by mixing one-part vinegar with 6-parts water. This is a safe and effective way to discourage inappropriate chewing behavior.
Making Dogs Aware Of Inappropriate Chewing
Dogs need to know which kind of chewing is acceptable, and which is not. Praise your dog for chewing on their treats, and even play with them with the treats. However, if they are chewing on the wrong items, a short and sharp “No!” from you should start to teach them the differences between what they are allowed to chew and what is not acceptable.
Chewing is natural for dogs, especially during puppy hood. Don’t expect your dog to be perfect and never chew on anything. Instead, provide them with toys that are appropriate, encourage play with these toys, and do your best to relieve dog boredom by exercising and playing with your dog as often as possible.