"Not the Sofa!" Stop Dog Chewing Destruction in 4 Easy Steps
When a human is bored and has to entertain him or herself, he or she has a variety of options - reading a book, watching a movie, browsing the web, or playing a game. Dogs, however, relieve boredom a different way - like chewing a book, movie, computer or game.
Dogs chew. It's just a part of life for them. But knowing what to chew on may not always be as obvious. That's where you come in.
A Dog's Need to Chew
Chewing serves an important function for dogs. Dogs need to chew in order to maintain healthy teeth, gums, and jaw strength and puppies chew to get relieve painful teething periods. However, while chewing is important to a dog's well being, destructive chewing is a habit that needs to be controlled and disciplined. There are four steps to lead a dog into more constructive chewing.
Four Steps to Stop the Chewing
The four steps of stopping destructive chewing are: Prevent, interrupt, redirect, and praise.
#1.Prevent: Dog owners will be absolutely stunned with the level of creativity that dogs can show in making chewing selections, because anything goes. For this reason, it is important to dog-proof your home - especially if you have a puppy. If you can remove it from their reach, do so. It also helps to use a deterrent spray.
#2. Interrupt: "Leave it!" "Drop it!" and "No!" are three vitally important commands to teach a dog. It's important to help a dog differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable. This may include supervised sessions where you leave out items that are yours and allow your dog to approach and using one of the three commands above if they try to chew them.
#3. Redirect: If you catch your dog chewing items that aren't theirs, first interrupt and then redirect. Show them a favorite toy they can do with as they please. Once the inappropriate item has been removed from their mouth, replace it with an appropriate toy. Most dog's prefer certain toys over others, so take note of which ones are the favorites. Toys such as ropes or rubber balls stuffed with food are usually good for the teeth.
#4. Praise: An obvious but crucial step, praising a dog for good behavior will get them to repeat more positive and acceptable actions.
Continued Chewing Problems?
If a dog is still chewing after attempting to modify their behavior, it could mean that there is a larger underlying issue. Excessive chewing is usually the result of nervous energy. This is usually a sign of lack of exercise. As with people, dogs need exercise and to go outside. Setting up a solid exercise regimen will help to get rid of some of that nervous energy, and well as maintain proper canine health.
Fortunately for dog owners, the chewing stage is usually just a phase that can be grown out of after a while, once they are properly trained in chewing etiquette.