Whether or not we like it, most dogs chew. No matter how much we don’t want them to they are going to end up chewing on something. So how can you get your dog to be less destructive? Let’s look at some tips.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
Really, dogs chew for quite a few reasons, and in dog training it is always best to look at the basic reasons why in order to stop it. The biggest reasons we see dogs chewing are boredom, stress, and fun! Just like us, your dog wants something to do, and since they can’t really work a remote control to watch Netflix then they go with the easiest thing, and that is chew.
So I would like to say first off, if your dog chews something when you are not able to correct them while they are doing it, it is too late. You just need to put your puppy away, clean up the mess and move on (no matter how mad you may be, puppies make mistakes).
How to Stop Chewing?
To stop or prevent chewing in your puppy there are 3 things you have to do. Manage their time, provide a fun environment, and get your puppy more exercise. Managing your dogs time is all about preventing them from being able to chew. Providing a fun environment is about setting them up for success. And of course exercise is the cure all for most dog problems!
Managing Your Dog’s Time to Prevent Chewing
Managing your dogs time is all about integrating multiple training concepts into one place. First and foremost if your puppy is a chewer you should religiously be following the 3 Rule of Housetraining, I will recap them here but please make sure to read some of our blog posts and podcasts about the 3 Rules of Housetraining that go into more detail.
Rule 1: Inside With You on Leash
Wow, Rule 1 sounds so weird to new people, but then they try it and realize it fixes literally 90 percent of the problems you are having. It is as easy as taking an old leash you don’t really use anymore, cutting the handle (so it doesn’t get hung up on things), clip it to your dogs collar and let them drag it around.
Why should you do this? It basically becomes like a remote control for your dog. You no longer have to grab at your dog, you no longer have to chase them to get something away, they can no longer sneak away and chew something. You can see now why this is Rule 1?
Rule 2: Outside With You on Leash.
Now, this rule is more related to good house training practices more than it is for chewing. But, it can also help here by giving you an opportunity to work with your dog on Leave It and Come when called so it can translate to being helpful at home.
Rule 3: When You Can’t Be With Your Dog, They Go in a Crate.
Getting back to the rules that help chewing, this is a big one. Think of your crate as your dog’s home. It is the safe place for them to go so that they don’t hurt themselves or any of your things. Some people view the crate as punishment, but honestly dogs are den animals and prefer having a nice quiet place to go to (especially if the crate is not used for punishment). I would also point out that even if your dog does not enjoy the crate it is dramatically better for you to come home to a dog that is been in the crate for a couple hours and is happy to see you and ready to come out as composed to coming home to a chewed up dining room table and everyone is upset!
Just remember, dogs are not birds! A crate is a temporary place for them to stay, not for long term stays.
So you can see that starting with the 3 Rules of Housetraining you can prevent most things from happening. But there is one key to doing this, you still have to pay attention to your dog! If you have a dog that is prone to chewing things, you should always have one eye on them so that you can prevent them from taking the opportunity to chew something. It always amazes me how quickly a puppy can get something in his mouth!
Provide a Fun Environment
Even after working with people most of my life I am still amazed when talking to someone about their dog chewing and I ask what kind of toys they have and their answer is “I don’t know” or “well, they have one of those rubber bones. But he doesn’t really like it”. Well, are you really surprised that he chews on your kids toys and the pair of shoes you just bought?
First and foremost, your dog should have as good a selection of toys and chew items. My rule of thumb is that they should have as many chew items in direct relation to how voracious about playing and chewing they are.
Exercise Your Puppy
Just like the 3 Rules of Housetraining this one is simple and will fix most of your problems. It is no secret that puppies need LOTS of exercise, and depending on the breed may need LOTS AND LOTS of exercise. But as with the lack of toys it amazes me how many people come in and don’t see this correlation. So if you are having problems with chewing, and you are managing your puppy and you have provided a great environment, then really get out there and exercise your puppy!