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Stop Destructive Dog Chewing

Updated on March 12, 2019

Destructive dog chewing can be quite the nuisance and you may feel like there is nothing you can do to correct the behavior.

Puppies chewing on you can be cute, but it can develop bad habits.
Puppies chewing on you can be cute, but it can develop bad habits. | Source

Dogs can chew for multiple reasons. Identifying the cause will help solve the issue.

Why Do Dogs Chew?

Dogs chew because:

  • They are bored
  • They have separation anxiety
  • They are teething
  • It keeps their jaws strong

It is important to correct the behavior because chewing can destroy items, hurt people, and harm the dog. It is normal for a puppy to chew on things if they are teething because it soothes the gums, just like a baby.

Separation anxiety can cause your dogs to chew destructively. Talk to your vet if you think your dog might have separation anxiety.

Is my dog chewing because of boredom or separation anxiety?

Boredom and separation anxiety are very similar and it may be hard to distinguish between the two, especially if you aren't home. Regardless, identifying the root cause is important to resolving your chewing issue. If your dog does have separation anxiety, contacting your vet can be very beneficial. If your dog is bored, do they enough toys at home to keep them occupied? Are you leaving them at home for long periods of time with nothing to do? Refer to the chart to identify if your dog could have separation anxiety or is just bored. Use your common sense about your dog too. You know your dog best.

Separation Anxiety
Can also urinate or defecate when left alone
Hyper greetings upon return
Bark or howl when left alone
Mischief while you're gone
Escaping or pacing when left alone
Digging or escaping

Teething puppies can be taught to not destructive chew! Make sure your puppy has proper teethers to keep their chewing at bay.

Puppy chewing can be cute, but it should be discouraged on people.
Puppy chewing can be cute, but it should be discouraged on people. | Source

How to resolve destructive chewing in a teething puppy

When a puppy is teething, it can be hard to control the destructive chewing. It is important not to let your puppy teeth on you as it can develop bad habits to start. Here are some ways to stop destructive chewing in teething puppies.

  • Overreact when your dog nips you. Be dramatic about the pain. It will teach the puppy that it hurts you and it's not okay.
  • Do not encourage your puppy to chew on your fingers.
  • Get puppy chew toys for your pup.
  • Consult your vet for other ways to discourage destructive chewing.

Exercising your dog can help reduce chewing.
Exercising your dog can help reduce chewing. | Source

Resolve destructive chewing in bored dogs or dogs with separation anxiety

Resolving destructive chewing for other dogs can be simple! Even if your dog has been destructive chewing for a while, don't lose hope! You can teach an old dog new tricks, but it may take a little more work and determination on your part.

  • Make sure that you are monitoring your dog throughout the day. Use a leash when you can to make sure you can keep an eye on your dog's chewing habits.
  • When you aren't home, put the dog in a crate to keep the dog from chewing.
  • Give your dog Nylabones to chew on (if the regular ones don't work, your dog may like the specific flavor ones more).
  • Use a filled bone, hoof, or Kong to keep your dog occupied (freeze them to make them last longer).
  • Make sure to exercise your dog to keep them worn out and free of boredom.
  • Rotate out toys to keep your dog from getting bored.

Training your dog to not chew destructively

You can train your dog to chew appropriately! It will take a lot of diligence on your part, but with a lot of work and constant training, your dog will stop destructing property or hurting others in no time!

  • Buy deterrents to keep your dog from chewing on things.
  • Praise your dog when they chew on their own toys.
  • Make sure to dog-proof your house so your dog can be set for success.
  • Do not give your dogs old clothes or shoes to chew on. It sends the wrong message for dogs.
  • Make sure to keep your dog confined with you at all times with a leash until you know they can be trusted. If you leave the house, put your dog in a kennel until you return.
  • Do not yell or hit your dog if they chew on something that they shouldn't. Redirect them instead.

Does/Did your dog chew?

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