Dogs and Destructive Chewing
One of the most beloved pastimes of canines is chewing. Chewing is one of the ways dogs explore their world, just as we touch things or look at them, dogs put them into their mouths. Often, there comes a point when their exploratory behavior becomes destructive. Destructive chewing is a common complaint of many dog owners; fortunately there are ways to combat this problem.
It is important to remember that dogs will get bored. Giving them their own designated chew toys is very important. Never give them old shoes or items that have your scent on them. This will make it hard for them to differentiate between their toys and your belongings. If you give a dog a sock to play tug of war with, and then you find him pulling socks out of the laundry basket, the only one to blame is yourself.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
Destructive behavior is caused by a variety of problems. If the animal is left alone for long periods of time, is an overly active breed of dog, is not properly exercised, or has no toys of his own, he may develop unwanted behaviors. Combating these problems will take the initiative of both you and your pet.
After making sure he has toys, take your dog for walks, not just potty breaks. Mental stimulation is one way to keep your dog happy. Teaching and practicing commands also gives dog the motivation to please his owner. Be sure and introduce new commands and new toys to keep him from becoming bored. Play with these toys with your dog; show him that they are appropriate and fun. Reward him for using his own toys with treats and verbal praise. An active dog makes for a well-adjusted pet.
For the dog that suffers from separation anxiety or attention seeking behavior, be sure that the time you spend with him is productive. Giving your animal positive reinforcement will reduce his level of stress, thus reducing the risk of destructive chewing. Grooming your dog and playing with him when you are home will be well worth the time. Owners who spend too much time giving negative attention in the attempt to control their dog might be sending mixed messages. Negative attention is still attention, so try to spend more time rewarding the animal, whenever possible. Constant punishment is not the answer, as this will become the only interaction your dog knows with humans, therefore craving it.
If all else fails, there are a variety of over the counter products you can use to apply to items you want left alone. These products will deter a chewing dog through smell or taste.