Why Does My Dog Chew Everything?
At some point or another, every dog parent has come home to discover that their four-legged housemate has made some item of their home a sacrifice to the chew gods. It’s maddening, but usually, your dog has perfectly natural reasons for gnawing on your furniture.
Not all chewing is destructive chewing, there are plenty of reasons why your dog may display this behavior. Three common reasons for your pup’s chewing habit are:
- puppy teething; like in infants, puppies also deal with a great deal of oral discomfort. As their adult teeth grow in they turn to chewing to offer relief.
- mouth and jaw health; chewing is an instinctual practice that allows dogs to clean their teeth. It also helps them exercise and strengthen their jaws.
- boredom or mild anxiety; dogs often find comfort in using chewing. Chewing can be a method to entertain themselves when bored or distract themselves from anxiety.
Most often, the challenge comes in if your dog is exhibiting bad, or destructive, chewing habits. When good chewing practices are promoted and rewarded, these behaviors are healthy. They are part of your dog processing and exploring the world around them.
Reasons for Destructive Chewing in Dogs
Fabric sucking, licking or chewing are types of destructive behaviors. It’s common belief that these behaviors are caused when a dog is weaned from their mother too early. This behavior may occur for long periods of time and may be compulsive, especially if you notice that it is difficult to distract your pup or get them to disengage in the behavior once they’ve begun.
If you’ve put your dog on a calorie-restricted diet, your dog may turn to chewing various things as a way to search for additional food or nutrients. This may be the case if the items they chew are related to, or smell like, food.
Separation anxiety is a condition in which a dog responds to feelings of distress. This happens after being separated from their owner through extreme behaviors. Dogs may exhibit signs of separation anxiety as their guardian prepares to leave home. They may drool, pace back and forth, whine or even attempt to block their owner from leaving home.
A dog experiencing separation anxiety may continue behaviors once their guardian has left the home. These behaviors may include barking, intentionally destructive chewing, digging or clawing, urination, and defecation. They may attempt to escape their home, yard or kennel, which can be very dangerous to their health and safety.
Sit Now Stay offers behavior modification training for separation anxiety as well as for various types of impulse control. Call us today at (913) 735-7392 to schedule a FREE consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in helping your dog overcome destructive chewing.
How To Stop Your Dog’s Destructive Chewing
You may be relieved to hear that you do have the power to stop your dog from gnawing up everything you own. Some preparation (and a lot of patience) can help you bring your dog’s destructive chewing habit to an end.
Promote Positive Chewing Habits
Have you ever heard the saying “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”? Well, this is kinda like that. Make your home more chew-friendly by making appropriate chew toys more accessible to your dog.
Using a variety of toys will key your dog entertained. You may also make several different toys accessible to your dog at different times throughout the day to keep it fun and interesting for them.
Types of dog toys may be:
- Pig Ears
- Plush Toys
- Plush Toys
Spray Chew Deterrents
Is your pup is chewing on your furniture and no amount of chew toys and positive reinforcements seems to be helping? It may be time to enlist the assistance of a spray deterrent. Spray deterrents have unpleasant tastes that can range from spicy-hot to bitter.
There are many different brands to choose from, you may even make your own. The trick to finding success with spray deterrents is teaching dogs to recognize an association between the disagreeable taste of the substance and its smell. This can be as simple as having your dog taste the flavor of the spray once. After this, spray the parts of furniture your dog likes to chew with the spray every day for two to four weeks.
Keep Your Dog Active
Not only is making sure that your pup stays active and fit great for their overall health and well-being, but it also ensures that they’ll be exhausted by the end of their fun-filled days and less likely to engage in anxiety or boredom-triggered behaviors.
When It’s Time To Involve a Professional
Chewing for reasons outside of healthy self-care or soothing, this behavior may become destructive. Destructive chewing is an issue caused by a disturbance in your dog’s mental or emotional well-being. If you feel that handling the chewing behavior has expanded beyond your capabilities, it should be addressed by a dog trainer or behaviorist.
Sit Now Stay has a dedicated staff of certified dog training professionals. Our team is experienced and knowledgeable in methods that break dogs of destructive habits and reinforce positive ones. We’re here to help you and your furry friend co-exist healthily and happily. We offer success driven training methods that will do just that.