Dog’s Chewing Behavior
If you are going to be a dog owner, then one of the first things that you must understand is that your dog is going to chew.
Chewing for a dog is perfectly acceptable behavior. The problem is not that they chew. The problem is what they chew! Since dogs will chew on just about anything, most dog owners will have to deal with their dog’s chewing problems at some point and usually the sooner the better.
Problems can also arise when dogs chew on inappropriate or dangerous items, so as the dog’s owner you will want to keep your dog safe and teach him to chew on items that are appropriate.
Prior to training your dog to stop chewing, it probably will be helpful to understand what exactly it is that drives your dog to chew anything and everything in his path.
5 Reasons Why Dogs Chew
Dogs like to chew for many reasons:
- Seek attention – similar to a child, when dogs do not get the ‘good attention’ they crave, they will likely do something owners consider ‘bad behavior’ simply to get attention. It is typically the attention they desire and has little to do with the means by which they accomplish this.
- Many dogs chew because of loneliness or boredom.
- Dogs will chew as a result of separation anxiety, especially if the owner is absent for prolonged periods of time.
- Most dogs chew when they are teething.
- A dog will also chew if they are fearful or have a phobia of some sort.
As with any type of behavioral problem, prevention is the key. It is much easier to prevent bad behavior like chewing than it is to change a behavior that is already established.
Tips for Managing Dog’s Chewing
These simple steps will help manage your dog’s chewing:
- ’Dog proofing’ your home will be a great deterrent. If there is nothing in his path to chew, he will get the message.
- Provide appropriate dog or puppy chew toys. Stuffed dog toys are great for puppies and rawhide bones work well for older dogs.
- When you are away from the home, crate your dog so that he and your possessions are safe. Always remember to keep a chew toy or two in the crate.
- Provide your dog with plenty of exercise and play when you are at home. The chances are that your dog will lose his desire to chew if he gets plenty of physical activity.
Certainly dogs don’t chew up items to get back at us for something; their brains simply are not wired that way. They also understandably can’t tell the difference between a designer shoe and a flip flop from the discount store. After you accomplish all the preventative measures, you will need to start the obedience aspect of teaching them not to chew.
Stopping Your Dog from Chewing
The following are some tips that will help you to stop your dog’s natural chewing impulse:
When you catch your dog in the act of chewing give him a firm NO! Then replace the item with an appropriate dog chew toy.
If he is fixated with chewing on a favorite object or something too heavy to move out of his path, (like furniture) spraying or coating that object with a nasty tasting substance like cayenne pepper, vinegar or tobacco sauce can effectively deter your dog from chewing. Always keep in mind never to use a toxic substance since you don’t want your dog to get sick- you just want him to stop chewing.
Obedience training commands like ‘leave it’ or ‘stop’ will be effective when you catch your dog in the act of chewing. However, he’ll have to learn these commands first so he can obey them. As with any undesirable behavior that you want to stop your dog from doing, you will have to be consistent in your training methods. Patience, praise and rewards will also be essential in teaching and reinforcing good habits.
How to Stop My Dog from Biting or Nipping
For the most part, biting or nipping is a natural phase that all puppies and go through, especially when they are teething. It will be important to control this habit because your dog will eventually have sharp teeth that can be extremely painful if the biting continues as they grow older. During the teething stage puppies will love to playfully bite or nip at just about anyone’s hands and feet, mostly because it is simply fun for them to do so.
You will want to train your dog as early as possible to cease his nipping and biting.
Methods for Training Your Dog Not to Bite
The following are effective methods for training your dog not to bite or nip:
When your dog starts to bite or nip at you calmly tell him, “No.”, firmly and redirect his biting to an appropriate chew toy.
If your dog is teething and is getting relief from nipping and biting you can try giving him an ice cube. This will not only stop the nipping it will relieve the pain he is experiencing due to teething.
Make your puppy think he is hurting you! The trick here will be to let out a loud ‘ouch ‘ or ’oww’ when he is biting, then pull away and stop playing with him. Once your puppy realizes that his biting or nipping results in his playmate/owner walking away he is sure to get the message that this behavior won’t be tolerated.
When the biting persists, quickly put your thumb into your puppy’s mouth, under his tongue holding your other fingers under his chin. Do this for a few seconds, holding his mouth firmly but not too tightly. This method feels extremely uncomfortable to a dog and in this hold he won’t be able to bite you.
Using an obedience command like ‘Leave it’ can work for dogs that have already have had some obedience training and understand the basic commands.
An extreme method is the use of a choke collar. Each time he gives you a nip or bites you, a simple tug on the collar will send him a negative message. Your dog will experience an unpleasant feeling from the tug and will connect that with the behavior and stop biting.