5 Simple Ways to Stop Your Dog's Destructive Chewing
A puppy uses its mouth to explore the world around them, just like a young child does. It can even help relieve pain as their teeth come in.
Then, as dogs get older, the urge to chew remains as they use it as a way to relieve boredom or anxiety, and as a way to keep their teeth clean and jaws strong.
So, chewing is completely natural and can definitely be a ‘healthy’ behaviour. However, at Tug-E-Nuff Dog Gear, we know destructive chewing is a whole different ball game.
If chewing gets out of hand, dogs can be known to gnaw their way through sofas, cushions, shoes and even walls.
It’s not good for them, and it’s frustrating (to say the least) for us.
So, what can you do about it? Here are 5 simple things you should try if you’ve got a chewer on your hands…
1. Keep temptation out of the way
What’s your dog’s chew item of choice? Think about it then go around the house collecting all those items and putting them out of reach. This is a temporary measure until you can be sure that the chewing is under control.
2. Offer a swap
Keep a close eye on your dog and when you notice them start licking or chewing something they shouldn’t, calmly say ‘no’ and remove the item before replacing it with something they can chew. Edible chew toys can be particularly effective. Over time your dog should learn that it’s OK to chew some things, but not others. It’s important to remember that when your dog mouths something that is OK to chew, you make a big fuss and offer plenty of praise.
3. Play often and intensely
One of the reasons dogs chew destructively, especially past puppyhood, is that they are lacking in stimulation. And one of the ways to stop this is by interactively playing with them every day in short but intense play sessions. This works best – and is easiest – if you have a super-strong tug toy from the Tug-E-Nuff range.
Letting your dog tug in a controlled way will satisfy their urge to bite down and use their mouths, helping prevent them from destructively chewing. We have a whole range devoted to this, but some of our favourites include the Sheepskin Ball Bungee Tug for its irresistible combo of real sheepskin and a tennis ball, and the Crazy Thing Bungee Tug for the bite-friendly fleece ‘feathers’ that are impossible to resist.
Find out more on how to break your dog’s bad habits using play here.
4. Never punish your dog for chewing
It’s simple – punishment simply doesn’t work. If you tell your dog off for chewing something they shouldn’t, they don’t learn anything except fear. Or, they interpret it to mean that it’s OK to chew and wreck your prized possessions – just not in front of you! The only solution to unwanted chewing is to use positive reinforcement – and plenty of patience.
5. Use high-value rewards
As part of positive reinforcement training, you need to have some high-value rewards up your sleeve for good behaviour. This is where tug toys come into their own. Our tug toys are so irresistible that dogs see the chance to play with them as a reward – some even incorporate food for a double-whammy of treats! Find out more about the toys that are best for dogs that like to chew here.
Have you successfully trained a dog to stop chewing? Got any tips to add? Please share them in the comments!