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How to control your dog's chewing

Updated on September 20, 2007

It is essential to make a difference when it comes to chewing; there is good chewing and bad chewing. It is dog's natural instinct to chew on sticks or bones or squeaky toys and it is a good thing. But chewing on shoes, slippers and furniture or in our case kitchen cloths is not good chewing. And even though it may be easy to relent and let your dog chew on a old slipper or a sock, especially at the puppy teething stage, that way they will not learn the difference between a old slipper and a new slipper down the road.

To cut down the chow down of your favorite shoes and socks, keep plenty of toys around to keep your dog occupied. There are plenty of excellent toys on the market nowadays and your dog should have plenty of things to entertain himself. Some toys are just regular old toys, but an excellent way to chew-train is toys that can be stuffed with your dog's favorite treats, now that is some entertainment he or she will enjoy.

Single serving chew bones are also a good option; however do monitor your dog when he gnaws on one of these things. As we all know dogs can be a bit greedy when it come to their bones so to avoid them chewing and digesting the bone whole keep an eye out, better be safe then sorry.

If you monitor your dog after a while you will be able to recognize at what times during the day he or she is most likely to gnaw on something, so safe your toy with treats for this period of time. In case you catch your dog chewing on something he should not, take whatever it is out of his mouth, say "No, no" and give him his favorite chew toy. Make sure to praise him when you give him his toy (this would be negative reinforcement). Positive reinforcement would be when you see your dog chewing on his chew toy. Lavish praise and some petting is in order as this will help your dog associate reward and praise with what he is allowed to chew on. What will not work is showing the damage done and spanking, scolding or punishing. Positive and negative reinforcement have a much better chance of working.

Another thing you can use is a pet deterrent such as Bitter Apple. This is a spray that can be found in most pet stores and should be sprayed on items on your house your dog is likely to chew on. It does not have a strong smell and it should be re-applied to the objects in your house every day for up to a month. Dogs will not like the taste and will soon learn to avoid chewing on sprayed items. Do keep in mind some breeds are natural and aggressive chewers and it might take them a bit longer to learn what items are off-limits and what is safe to gnaw on. Patience and positive reinforcement is the key to control your dog's chewing instincts.

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