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Destructive Chewing

Dog Destructive ChewingIt’s no secret that dogs need to chew. While this behavior is perfectly normal, be sure to keep any valuables, including your shoes, out of your dog’s reach. When your pooch chews up something he shouldn’t, interrupt the behavior and offer something more acceptable, like a Nylabone chew toy—after all, if your dog is happily chewing on a toy, he’s not tearing up your couch!

To prevent Fido from chewing you out of house and home, stimulate him both mentally and physically—interactive toys and/or toys meant for determined, active chewers or moderate chewers are the perfect solution for a happy home. Here are some common types of toys that most puppies enjoy:

•    balls
•    bones
•    toys for stuffing
•    tug toys

How to Mitigate Inappropriate Chewing

•    Keep valuables and personal belongings out of your dog’s reach. If you don’t want him chewing on certain items, like the remote control, don’t leave the remote control lying on a coffee table. Socks, shoes, books, magazines, eyeglasses, cell phones, children’s toys, wallets, and underwear all seem to have a magnetic allure in the canine mind. Put everything away in a drawer or basket, plastic bin, or closed cupboard.

•    Do not offer your dog an old shoe for a toy and then expect him to differentiate between the ancient sneaker and the brand-new leather loafer.

•    Don’t give your dog free reign of the house. He is more likely to chew on inappropriate things when you don’t have your eye on him. If you can’t see him doing something wrong, you can’t let him know that he’s behaving improperly.

•    Be realistic in your expectations. A dog is going to be a dog and chew up something he shouldn’t. When that happens, interrupt the behavior and offer something more acceptable, like one of the safe chew toys Nylabone makes. Never scold a dog for chewing, especially if you haven’t caught him in the act. Punishment often causes more problems than it solves. Many studies in the psychology of learning demonstrate that, whether rearing children, teaching students, or training animals, punishment causes unwanted behavioral fallout—like aggression, tantrums, rebellion, and destructiveness. *

•    Lessen your dog’s need for inappropriate or destructive chewing by giving him more opportunities for mental stimulation. Set up a mini agility course in the house or yard using large boxes for tunnels and pool “noodles” for jumps. Give him interactive toys that hold treats inside, or give him toys meant for determined, active chewers. Teach him to retrieve a thrown toy, but do this on leash at first so your dog won’t get the idea that he can munch on the item. Gently reel him back toward you, encouraging him all the way, and then throw the toy again.

•    If your dog is determined to chew up the deck rails or fence posts or kitchen table, spray them liberally with a bitter-tasting substance or cover them in aluminum foil or double-sided tape. These tactics might deter some dogs until they grow up, mature, and don’t feel the need to chew.

A variety of chew toys available in all sizes and shapes will entertain your puppy or adult dog for an hour or two, satisfying his need to gnaw on something while diverting him from chewing on inappropriate items. Avoid toys or bones that are too hard and may crack your dog’s teeth, as well as those that are too small or break apart, presenting choking hazards. Match the chew toy to your dog’s size and chewing strength, keep an eye on him when he’s chewing to make sure that large pieces aren’t being chewed off and swallowed, and take worn or chewed-through bones and toys away from him promptly, replacing them with new ones.

Destructive Chewing Solutions from Nylabone:



Excerpted from Top Tips From Top Trainers: Carmen Buitrago, MS, CAAB, CPDTKA, Cascade Pet Camp, Hood River, OR

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