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How to Get Your Dog to Quit Chewing

Updated on February 28, 2013
My two loving dogs, whom I love, even through the tough times
My two loving dogs, whom I love, even through the tough times | Source

Love Conquers All

"Whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend, never owned a dog"

Dogs are one of God's gifts to Earth. They can brighten your day, even the worst ones. They are the most loyal and compassionate partner you will ever have. No matter how many times you yell at them, get frustrated or put something above them, they will be waiting for you, tail wagging.

Currently I live in a one bedroom apartment, and the bedroom is hardly big enough for my bed and my daughter's crib. On top of everything, I have two dogs. A lab/pointer mix and a Boston terrier mutt. People have told me repeatedly that I need to get rid of my dogs so that I can rent a nicer home. That will never happen. My dogs are a huge part of my family and if they aren't welcome, than I don't want to be there.

My two girls, Layla and Bozeman, have better personalities than most people. They sit on the couch, talk and watch television. They are more than I could ever ask for. But it hasn't always been this way. My smaller dog, Bozeman, used to chew my house apart if I left her at home for ten minutes.

The clock that got torn off a shelf and chewed on
The clock that got torn off a shelf and chewed on | Source
No more Point Break
No more Point Break | Source

Chewing Frustrations

"A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself"

- Josh Billings

Remember, dogs are much like humans. When they are puppies, they teeth for six months, causing discomfort in the mouth. Owner's often find it cute and allow their puppy to chew on items that would typically be off limits. Pillows, plastic toy and shoes.

Each of my dogs had a preference of chewies. Layla would chew on the protruding corners of the walls and doors. Bozeman destroyed more than 200 dollars in DVDs. Layla grew out of her habit alone at about 10 months old, when I had to re-plaster and paint all of doors and corners. Bozeman, who is a year younger, didn't grow out of her habit.

She enjoys chewing on things that are crunchy and break into pieces, including DVDs, hard plastic cups, frisbees and plastic picture frames. I couldn't go to work for six hours without coming home to a find all my personal belongings strung out across the floor, in pieces. I would sit and cry, and day after day I continued to put up with this behavior.

I eventually bought her a caged muzzle, but within days she had found a way to chew herself out of it and return to her addiction.

Why Dogs Chew

"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person"

- Andy Rooney

I was naive as to the reason my dog was chewing everything up. The more it frustrated me, the more research went into curing this issue. I made phone calls, looked all over the internet and bought enough toys and bones for all the dogs in the world. Getting rid of her was not an option.

Dogs chew for a number of reasons.

  • Separation anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Seeking Attention
  • Doesn't know the difference between good chewing and bad chewing

You must determine the reason your dog is chewing on your stuff before attempting to solve the problem.

Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit certain signs. They may howl or bark when the owner return, or become depressed when you leave. They may try to follow you out of the house every time you open the door. Your dog may follow you around your house all day long. Once you leave, the destructive behavior begins soon after. He may also drag your personal things onto the floor, such as clothes, pillow, blankets or anything else that has your scent on it. They will do anything to be reunited with you.

Dogs who are bored will try and entertain themselves, which typically results in destructive behavior. Signs to look for include digging, chewing and howling. They may also drag things out and make a mess.

If your dog is seeking attention he may defecate or urinate in the house, bark frequently and jump up on people. These tactics ensure the dog will get some sort of attention, good or bad.

The last major reason dogs chew on things is because they weren't taught what to chew on and what not to chew on. These dogs will chew on anything and everything, right in front of you. If you buy them toys, they will surely play with them, however, if given the chance they may pick up and chew on your water bottle, children's toys or socks.

Fix Separation Anxiety

"Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in"

- Mark Twain

  1. Don't make a big scene when leaving or returning home. Instead of telling your beloved pet goodbye and kissing them on the head, simply leave the house. When you come home, put your coat up, put your purse down, take off your shoes and then give your dog attention. They need to realize that you being gone is not a big deal, and they need to accept it.
  2. You need to reestablish that you are leader of the pack. Dogs are related to wolf family, and therefore respond to their Alpha. They need to know that you are in charge. Your dog should submit to your commands. Start this with simple training of sit, lay down, stay and heel when on a leash.
  3. Give your dog some space. By constantly allowing them to sit with you on the couch or sleep in your bed, you are simply enabling them. Get him a dog bed and give him attention there, as well as meals and treats. Let them know that this is a good place. Don't place the dog bed in your bedroom, or even in the living room. Try placing it somewhere they can be alone.
  4. For some dogs, you may need to crate them to fix their separation anxiety. Make the crate a pleasant space, with toys, food and clean water and a sheltered and comfortable bed.

Rawhide bones are her weakness
Rawhide bones are her weakness | Source

Fix Boredom

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring-it was peace"

-Milan Kundera

  1. Give your dog plenty of physical exercise. If you have a fenced yard, let them run around for a few hours. Throw a frisbee or a ball. If you don't have a yard, take your dog on walks. Go to the river, a local bike path or to the park. It will be good for both of you.
  2. Give them plenty of attention. While you are at home, designate a time of day,once you get off work, to play with your dog. Go to the room where their bed is and play tug of war. Do this every day at the same time. They will look forward to it, and know that this is the time when they get attention.
  3. Give them rawhide or other bones. Dogs are like young children, they get bored easily and get into things they shouldn't. Give your dog something to chew on so they can entertain themselves. This is an important step in allowing your dog some independence.
  4. Give them a job. Dogs will work for you if you take the time to teach them. Each morning, have your dog go out and retrieve the newspaper without destroying it. Give them praise each time. This gives your dog a feeling of accomplishment and knowing they did something to please their owner is a better feeling than anything you and I could imagine.

The Attention Seeker

"If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went"

- Will Rogers

  1. Ignore the attention seeking behavior. If your dog barks at you until you pet them, allow them to bark. Don't give in. If they bring you a toy while you are busy, take the toy and put it up.
  2. Be patient. Know that the behavior may become more demanding before they give up. Again, they are like children, they require a lot of patience and teaching. It's trial and error.
  3. Don't give in EVER. If you let your dog bark for longer than normal, and it has finally pushed you to your limits, don't give in. The dog will learn that sooner or later your are going to cave and they will continue the behavior. Instead, go into a different room, do the dishes, vacuum. Do things that will keep your mind off of the situation, and give your dog the clue that their behavior isn't working.

Not the best way to store your movies when you have a dog who chews
Not the best way to store your movies when you have a dog who chews | Source

Teach Good and Bad Chew Habits

"All his life he tried to be a good person. Many time, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn't a dog"

- Charles M. Schulz

  1. If you can catch your dog in the act, for instance, chewing on a chew, replace the item with an appropriate chew toy. Have rawhide bones and other chew toys on hand at all times.
  2. Praise them when they select a chew toy over a sock or child's toy. Reassure them that it is okay to chew, but only on certain things.
  3. If you don't want it chewed on, don't give them the option. Keep things that you don't want destroyed out of the dog's reach. It may seem like an ongoing task. Buy shelving that has doors to keep your DVDs, CDs and books inside of. Put cups and water ottles on counters or tables.

Training No Nos

"The more boys I meet, the more I love my dog"

- Carrie Underwood

All dogs have short attention spans. When they are puppies it's even shorter. However, they have a great memory, which means you have to mind your behavior when training.

Many people underestimate the time it takes to train a dog. Although some dogs are naturally well behaves, a lot of of them require consistent training and plenty of time.

  1. Don't over praise your dog. Simply pat them on the head or tell them "good dog" when they have obeyed a command or done something worthy. Too much will distract them from the task at hand.
  2. Don't punish them physically. This could lead to your dog being frightened of you in an unhealthy way. You want your dog to respect you as a leader, but this doesn't require beating them.
  3. Don't reiterate commands. Say "sit" one time, otherwise they will come to know that they don't have to sit until you repeat yourself over and over.
  4. Don't call them names like "stupid dog". When your dog doesn't obey a command and you call them names rudely, they will remember that this particular command leads to negative behavior from the owner. Encourage them to want to obey you.
  5. Do not let your voice become emotional when commanding. Dogs don't respond to unstable behavior. Instead, use the same tone all the time, even when frustrated. Getting angry and screaming will not make the dog do what you want.
  6. Don't push them too hard. Like humans, dog's need rest between training. They can't learn new tricks in one day. Train them for a maximum of half an hour per day. After this time they may get bored or focus on something else, in turn, frustrating you.

Your Dog, Your Partner

"If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life"

- Roger Caras

Don't ever give up on your dog. They depend on you and can't learn to be your companion and partner without you. Remember that you are their entire world, and you should treat them the same.

A neglected dog with a bad behavior is not a bad dog, it's the result of a bad owner. If you don't have the time for a dog, don't get one. They will require your attention, your discipline and most of all your love. If you give them the time they can become a better friend than you have possibly ever had.

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    • lilmissmontana profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin Nichols 

      6 years ago from Montana

      Yes it does make it more difficult. My boyfriend is huge pushover with the dogs. I always feel like the mean parent, but I have to remind myself that I am helping them and they respect me and that's why they listen.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I know what you mean Lil...sometimes having other people in the house makes it worse because they give in when you won't! I have a three year old MinPin who tries to eat everything he gets his mouth on!

    • lilmissmontana profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin Nichols 

      6 years ago from Montana

      Thank you very much! My dogs are my best friends! It has been two rough years, but they are now well behaved dogs with great people like personalities. I enjoy showing them off and I appreciate the compliments. And it is very easy to give up. I have plenty of times, and broke down and cried, and screamed, and threw temper tantrums. Until I learned to control my own behavior, I wasn't doing them a bit of good.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Very nicely done with lots of good information. It is so easy to give up when you have a 'chewer'...rather than give up though, learn to train him as you've suggested. Your pictures are great and I have to say you have two beautiful looking dogs!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.


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