Management is key and set your dog up to succeed!
Chewing is a normal and natural dog behaviour. Dogs need to chew for many reasons. Some are:
- age related – puppies teeth at approximately 16 weeks and their mouths hurt. Chewing relieves the pressure and discomfort.
- Chewing is relaxing and helps to relieve stress.
- Chewing is a form of play and how dogs explore the world around them.
Dogs are not born with an innate sense of what is appropriate or inappropriate to chew. We must teach them and manage their environment to set them up to make good chewing choices.
A good management program is as follows:
- Do not leave chewable items lying around where the dog can reach them. For example, put shoes away in a closet with a door that can be closed.
- Make sure that children clean up toys and put them away where the dog cannot get to them.
- If you can't move or stow away chewable items (such as electrical cords) spray them with a chewing deterrent product such as Bitter Apple Spray.
- Choose toys that the dog will find easy to understand to be his such as Kongs, Nylabones, Gumabone and Rhino toys. These toys do not simulate anything else in the house. Plush toys simulate carpeting and upholstered furniture, raw hide simulates leather shoes, etc.
- Stuff Kongs and hollow toys with kibble, peanut butter, soft treats and soak Nylabones in chicken broth to make them more attractive.
- Use crates or barriers when you are unable to supervise the dog. This way the dog is confined and cannot make a poor chewing choice.
- Redirect the dog if you catch him en-route to making a poor chewing choice. Offer a toy as an alternative.
- Play with your dog with her special toys. This will keep the value of the toys high in the dogs mind.
- Rotate the dog's toys. Put half of her toys away let her play with the other half. At the end of the week switch them. This will increase the novelty of the toys and keep her interest in them longer.