Coping With Your Dog’s Destructive Chewing

Bad Doggy

Bad Doggy

Dogs are often fond of chewing and in appropriate cases, it does serve a purpose. For puppies, chewing can relieve the discomfort associated with teething and for adult dogs, it can keep teeth clean.

However, it can also be both inappropriate and unwelcome. This is often centred on furniture and other parts of your home. This can be difficult to cope with but there is hope.

Here are some tips for tackling your dog’s destructive behaviour.

Why Is It Happening?

Generally speaking, there will often be an underlying reason behind your dog’s destructive chewing. This can be a short lived factor such as teething but in other cases, it could be down to a more deep-rooted issue.

Teething: Puppies will often chew anything that they can get their paws on while they are teething. This should ease when they are around six months old. You cannot curb the desire to chew but you can direct your puppy towards more appropriate objects, such as chewable toys.

Hide items that may be seen as fair game e.g. shoes. Switch the chewable toys every couple of days to avoid boredom. If your puppy is still keen on chewing inappropriate objects, deterrent sprays can discourage this.

Lack of Stimulation/Boredom: Boredom and frustration can lead to inappropriate chewing. Offer plenty of exercise, playtime and mental stimulation for your dog, especially if their destructive behaviour means that you are now confining them to a crate or restricted area while you are not around.

Stress/Frustration: As far as possible, look to reduce your dog’s exposure to anxiety inducing situations. If you already know that your dog responds to frustration by chewing, intervene with chewable toys to teach them to vent their emotions onto appropriate objects.

Separation Anxiety: Some dogs will engage in destructive chewing due to distress and anxiety at being left home alone. It will often be accompanied by whining, barking, restless behaviour and inappropriate urination and/or defecation. If this is a prominent factor in your dog’s behaviour, destructive chewing will only occur while you are not in the house.

For mild cases of separation anxiety, try to encourage a positive association with being alone so that your dog is less anxious when he or she senses that you are on your way out. Treats can help with this.

For more severe cases, you may want to consult a professional to help you to desensitise your dog. Doing this by yourself can be very challenging as you risk making your dog even more anxious and stressed.

[Photo credit: djg0333]