Does your dog have an appetite for everything, including your household possessions? Are you constantly playing tug of war with your favourite shoes? Most dogs owners will have experienced at some point their dog chewing things they shouldn’t. Destructive chewing is a common problem in canines that causes a lot of damage if it’s ignored. Helen Eades, Helen Gerard and Nikki Martin are experts in Canine Behaviour and have share plenty of insight into training dogs out of this frustrating and expensive habit. We caught up with them to ask, how do you stop dogs from destroying things in the house?
Helen Eade, Social Paws
Dogs will often chew out of boredom - ensure that your dog is provided with lots of environmental enrichment when you are out. My favourite is a frozen Kong filled with your dog's favourite food or treats. You can also get treat balls and dog puzzles and sometimes I even scatter frozen carrots. You may also find that your dog is chewing because they are anxious - this is a sign that he/she may have separation anxiety. Dogs often feel more calmer if they have their own smaller space when you are out. The best solution is to crate train them, once they become less destructive you can give more access outside of the crate - but do slowly perhaps by giving access to a utility room with no the danger of chewing items such as cables. Dogs should never be crated for long periods of times and should also be given access to the crate when you are home as it’s their special den or safe place. To associate the crate with good things you can feed them in their or give them their Kong in there too. Always reward them for going in their crate and never use the crate as punishment.
Nikki Martin, Dickson Dog Training
Chewing generally means the puppy could be bored or separation anxiety. Plenty of stuffed kongs, rubber toys, brain work. Distraction with toys if owner is around, ignoring bad behaviour and rewarding good. Again crate training if left for long periods make sure the pup has someone coming in.
Helen Gerard, Naturally Clever Canines
There is usually a reason behind chewing, such as boredom or stress, therefore it is important that we ask ourselves why the dog is chewing. Is it that they are not getting enough mental stimulation through training and brain work or is there something in their environment that is causing them to become stressed?
When we chew endorphins are released in the brain which make us feel good (we comfort eat when stressed) and the same is true for dogs.
If due to stress we need to reduce the stress, a variety of options are available. Other to this, we need to make sure that the dog has plenty of opportunity to chew on things that are appropriate. Interestingly it has been reported that raw fed dogs (who eat RAW bones) do less destructive chewing.
A few products that can be bought for chewing are kongs, which can be stuffed with food and treats, bulls pizzle and stag bar antlers