For most puppies it’s normal to see them excessively chewing on their chew toys or bones because it can relieve some of the pain caused by teething. However, it’s when this chewing takes place on your furniture, shoes/accessories, and household items that it becomes an issue that you will need to correct as soon as possible. Here are 10 quick and easy ways of how to stop a dog from chewing on your items and clothing on a daily basis.
How to Stop a Dog from Chewing : 10 Ways
1 – Take Separation Anxiety Seriously
Most dogs or puppies will have the urge to find inappropriate objects to chew on when they’re bored and left alone for a significant amount of time. If the separation anxiety is severe in your puppy’s case, try not to leave them alone for so long and take care of them. Dogs chew most intensely when they are left alone for a good portion of the day, and when they show the symptoms of separation anxiety such as whining, barking, pacing, defecation, etc. That’s when you know that something major needs to change in your daily routine to accommodate for your dog.
2 – Feed Your Dog Proper Amounts of Food
This one seems like kind of a no-brainer, but seriously, make sure you’re giving your dog enough food and that all of the nutrients they need are in their meals. Inappropriate chewing may occur as a result of not eating enough food during the day, so more often than not your dog will look for something to curb their appetite and keep them busy, most of the time with their mouths. If you are unsure about the exact amount–or what you should be feeding your dog period–feel free to connect with local or online vets to get the answers you need. They will be more than happy to help you out with any questions regarding your puppy’s health.
3 – “Dog-Proofing”
Pretend you’re bringing home a child and you have to baby-proof your house, except this time it’s a dog coming home and not a child. Hide everything and anything you wouldn’t want your puppy to find and chew up. Yes, that means important papers, valuable objects, slippers, and even your bills (as much as we’d love to let the dog chew those up.) Keep clothing away in your closet(s) and try not to leave food out in the kitchen for your dog to find. It also wouldn’t hurt to put up a few baby or dog gates to block off the areas of the home you absolutely don’t trust your dog to be in without supervision.
4 – Give Your Dog Alternatives
After you’ve taken away everything for your dog or puppy to chew on, you don’t want to leave them high and dry with nothing to chew on, so this is where dog toys and bones come in handy. The sooner you teach them that certain objects are theirs to chew on, they’ll stop hunting for yours. Purchasing rawhide bones, squeaky toys, food dispensing toys, and even plain old tennis balls will give them plenty of options to chew on if they start feeling the pain of teething, anxiety, or just boredom.
5 – Use a Spraying Detergent to Discourage Chewing
Yes, there is such thing as a spray detergent for reasons exactly like these. What you want to do to introduce your dog to this concept is to spray a little bit onto a small toy or piece of fabric and have them lick it or stick it in their mouth. Your dog shouldn’t like the taste of the spray, therefore he/she will not touch the object of where they first tasted the detergent and your dog will have learned their lesson. After that, if your dog starts to try to chew on an item of yours, spray the detergent on or near the item itself, and hopefully your dog will not touch it after that.
6 – Figure Out When Your Dog is Most Likely to Chew on Items During the Day
On the days that you are home, watch your dog closely for specific times throughout the day when they start to anxiously chew on their toys or an item. If the chewing occurs prior to meal time, they may just be hungry which means you’ll need to feed them sooner. If the chewing occurs during the time when you routinely leave during the day, it may be smart to hire a dog walker to take care of your pup until you return in order to cope with their separation anxiety. No matter what the reasoning may be, the earlier you track it, stop it, and correct it, the easier it will be on you and the dog.
7 – Exercise Your Dog
A chewing habit may occur when your dog has a lot of energy, but is confined to a small space, and they may become bored which results in this unwanted habit. It’s important to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and it needs to be daily. Letting your dog run around for a half hour every other day by themselves doesn’t count. Engage with your dog and throw a frisbee or a ball for a while, or take them on a daily jog around the park. There are so many ways to get your dog outside to burn off their energy, so make it part of your daily routine to spend at least an hour outside with your puppy every day.
8 – Take Away All Household Items
It isn’t fair to expect your dog to tell the difference between which household items are okay to chew up, and which ones aren’t. For example, if you decide to let them chew up a dirty sneaker, the chances that they’ll try to sneak a better one from you is pretty high. Once you let them chew on your items, even if they aren’t good for use anymore, it opens up a whole doorway of possibilities. If you don’t make for the opportunity of that happening by replacing all household items with dog toys, treats, and bones, your puppy will learn the difference of what’s okay to chew, and what’s not.
9 – Try to Keep Your Dog Out of Stressful Situations
When dogs or puppies become stressed, they may start to chew on things that’s not good for them. The best you can do under this circumstance is to try and prevent the stressful situations from happening in the first place. For instance, when you leave your dog in their kennel around other types of dogs, try to soothe or calm them, or let them out to meet the other dogs (if they are friendly.) Another situation might be keeping your dog confined in your car when he/she sees children or others gathering outside without them. That would be the perfect opportunity to let your dog out of the car, or you could join them in the car for a while to give them some attention.
10 – Mind Stimulation and Food Dispensing Toys
When dogs tend to get bored, they like to chew, it makes common sense. To prevent your dog from getting bored throughout the day you can buy them toys or puzzles to stimulate their minds and keep them busy. Toys with dispensing treats are always a big hit because they know they’ll get a reward if they keep playing with the toy. Puzzle food bowls also work in the same way. If you purchase one and then use it for their meal times, their food is bound to last longer because they won’t be cramming it down as fast. These are both great options to keep your dog busy during the day or while you’re busy and not at home.
What NOT To Do
There are a few commons mistakes dog owners tend to make when “disciplining” their dog(s) for bad behavior. We just want to clear a couple of things up by explaining why these are not the routes to go.
1 – Do Not Spank, Rub Your Dog’s Nose in Their Damage, or Yell
Most people do not realize that when they yell harshly at their dog, spank or slap, or rub their dog’s nose in the damaged areas, that their dog cannot match the connection between the action and the punishment. To them, you’re just being mean and they have no clue why, especially if the mistake they made was hours ago while you weren’t home.
2 – Using Duct Tape is a HUGE No-No
For some reason, some people think it’s okay to duct tape their dog’s mouths closed to prevent them from chewing, and that’s a BIG mistake to do. Especially if it’s hot, that’s how your dog cools themselves, by panting. If their mouths are taped shut that could result in major health risks. Not to mention that your dog will not learn anything from this form of punishment.
3 – Do Not Isolate Your Dog
By locking your dog in a kennel, or locked in a room may cause even more stress than what they started with. And, like I’ve mentioned before, your dog will have no recollection of the mistake they’ve made and just think they are just being locked in for no apparent reason. Also, don’t lock or leave your dog outside for hours either. Especially when it’s cold, that’s not a very good form of punishment either.
How Should You Punish Them?
The answer to this question is: don’t. If you come home to a mess, the best thing you can do is cool off in a separate room, clean it up, and watch closely for next time. If you try to yell, spank, or punish them in any other form, it won’t make sense to your dog. Especially if the incident took place hours ago. The only thing you should do at that point is to try and prevent it from happening again by putting your items up higher, creating boundaries while you’re not at home, and cleaning up after yourself. Then, hopefully your dog won’t have much to find to chew on while you aren’t home. Also, keep an eye on them while you’re at home. If you see them looking for items to chew, or if they start chewing on an object they shouldn’t be, that’s when you can get down on their level, give them a stern “no,” and take the object away from them. Then they’ll understand that what they were just doing is not right.
There are multiple different factors that could provoke this inappropriate behavior, however that’s why we’re providing tips on how to stop a dog from chewing on your items that you may cherish. It’s especially common in young dogs and puppies to start chewing, but it’s important to try and stop it at an early age to prevent it from happening lifelong. The key is to keep cool, calm, and collected and have a lot of patience, if you are unable to do any of those, then breaking this habit will be a difficult task for you. If you’ve tried all of these options, trying talking to your vet or behavioral specialist and see if there is something you might be missing or if there is anything you could be doing better to work with your dog in the most efficient way. It’s also important to remember that when you begin to get frustrated or upset with your dog, that’s when it’s time to take a break and walk away so that you don’t take your frustration out on them. If you come home to a mess, leave the room to cool down instead of punishing your dog in an inappropriate manner, and then come back to clean it later on. It’s always possible to shape your dog’s behavior, it just takes dedication and patience and it will all pay off in the end.