It’s a fact that dogs love to chew. As an owner, this fact is all well and good until your dog starts chewing on and tearing up your furniture, clothes, books, vinyls, and more.
If your dog seems to be chewing on everything and anything around them, it’s time to put in some work to reverse their behavior. From giving them dog chews to holding their attention, here are some basic tips to reducing their chewing.
First and foremost, you need to keep an eye out for your dog’s behavior. Chances are that your dog is going to start chewing once you can’t see them. Why? One, they either feel it’s okay to do or, two, they believe they’ll get your attention by chewing on something they’re not supposed to.
This doesn’t mean you need to always be watching them, but you should remain more attentive than normal once you start seeing this behavior appear – especially if it’s due to puppy teething .
If you do happen to find your puppy chewing on something they’re not supposed to, immediately get their attention. Interrupt whatever they’re doing, get their attention on something else, and then remove whatever they were chewing on. Best of all, replace it with something they’re allowed to chew on. Once they begin chewing on it, you can reward them, giving them pets, kisses, and verbal praise to affirm they’re being good by chewing on the right item.
We don’t mean this as a diss, although those dishes have been in the sink since last night. What we do mean is that you should remove any potentially hazardous or valuable items away from your dog’s reach. This will ensure they aren’t able to chew on anything you don’t want them to, especially if they’re unsupervised.
Moreover, work on training (as early as possible) to teach them they’re not allowed in certain rooms. For instance, your dog shouldn’t be allowed in your bedroom or bathroom unless you’re in there. Both rooms could hold potential health and choking hazards, so it’s best to guarantee they know to stay out unless told they’re welcome.
Your dog may be compelled to chew on a smelly sock or shoe, but it’s important you teach them to avoid such behavior. If you allow them to keep doing it, it could foster poor tendencies which could prove unsavory in the future – e.g., chewing on a guest’s expensive shoes. It also instills the idea that human items are dog chew toys, a lesson you should avoid at all costs.
Instead, take away the item when they begin chewing on it and replace it with a chew toy or a treat.
Source: Olya Maximenko/Shutterstock
One of the best things you can provide to your dog is a long-lasting treat that holds their attention. Bully sticks for dogs are a great option, as they provide your dog with an all-natural, nutritious treat that they can chew on for a good deal of time. They’ll really love them – not just for the smell, but that it provides them with a rough surface they can clean their teeth on for a good amount of time.
Along with long-lasting chews, you should provide your dog with interactive toys so they can have fun while getting their energy out. A safe bet is to look for interactive toys and tough rubber chew toys. You can even fill them with treats like peanut butter to really get their attention.
If you ever have to leave your dog alone at home, you should do what you can to close off where they can go. The safest option, for both you and them, is to crate them while you’re out of the house.
If you didn’t crate train your dog upon adoption, it might be more difficult to get them used to their crate than if you were training a puppy. The best rule of thumb is to train with positive reinforcement at all times.
A common way people use crates is for punishment. Their dog does something bad, they tell them to go in the crate, and leave them there a while, as if it’s time out. This is bad behavior, as your dog will soon think they’re punished every time you tell them to go into their crate.
Instead, teach them that it’s their happy place. Whenever you send them in, give them a dog chew or their favorite treat. It might not seem like much, but it’s an excellent way to teach them it’s their safe space – a place of comfort, not punishment.
Chances are your dog might be chewing to get their energy out, meaning they’re under-exercised or bored. You should do what you can to help them burn off that energy, early on in the day and throughout the day. If you work away from home, it’s a good idea to exercise your dog in the morning and enroll them in doggy daycare during the day or hire a dog walker. If you do work from home, exercise them in the morning and regularly use your work breaks to play and exercise with them.
Don’t let them feel as if they’ve been left high and dry. Rather, take the time out of your day to regularly check in with them. This is easiest for dog owners who continue to work from home, as your dog is likely just a room away. Also, consider getting your family involved. And if you don’t have family around, see if any of your neighbors are interested, especially if they have dogs of their own.
You should do what you can to keep your dog entertained throughout the day. With a little work, you may be able to curb their destructive chewing and keep them happier than ever.
Here is a question AKC GoodDog! Helpline trainers hear often: Why does my dog chew up our things when he has dozens of his very own wonderful toys all over the place?
The question is usually about a young puppy, but it could be regarding an older dog who inexplicably got it into her head to be naughty after months of perfect behavior.
In a dog’s mind, if something is within reach then it’s on offer. Certain items are especially appealing: eyeglasses, books, cell phones, television remotes, pillows and upholstery. Plastic is wonderfully chewy and when it is imbibed with our smell because we hold onto these things constantly, it can be irresistible.
Nothing is off limits to puppies. They have a mouthful of shiny new teeth, and they need appropriate puppy toys to use them on. By around 6 months of age, they have their adult teeth and the need to chew abates, but boredom can give them a reason to take up the habit again.
Puppies, just like human toddlers, need a completely puppy-proof area, either a dog crate or pet gated room. If your puppy grabs a forbidden item while you are watching him, quickly distract him with a sharp “Eh eh!” and when he drops it, redirect cheerfully with a toy that he is allowed to have.
Teaching tricks is a good way to give your pup appropriate outlets. A good one to start with is “Leave it.”
Insufficient exercise and mental stimulation can drive your adult dog to find destructive forms of entertainment, so it’s up to you to meet his needs. If ugly winter weather keeps you inside, play indoor dog games with him. Fetch, hide and seek, and tug-of-war (played correctly) are great fun and exercise for both of you.
There are many entertaining dog puzzles on the market, too, and you can even make your own. Just remember that many of these are meant to be enjoyed with you and not left alone with your dog.
The only 100% effective way to save your possessions from destruction is to keep them out of your dog’s reach. If eviscerating upholstered furniture is a hobby, your dog must be kept in a crate or a gated dog-proof room when unsupervised. Stuff hollow rubber toys with treats or moistened kibble and give them to your dog when you are away, so he will have something acceptable to do in your absence.
What about all those wonderful toys that your dog has? If they are lying around all the time, they aren’t special. Rotate them, only having two or three, at most, available at a time. Keep favorites out of her reach, only to be used when playing with you. This is what keeps it special; time with you is the magic ingredient.
In my opinion, my Winston was the best puppy ever — at least that’s how I remember it. When it came to chewing, he really was perfect. You see Winnie, my black Labrador, took his heritage seriously. Black Labradors are noted for their instinctive need to carry items around in their mouth. That was my Mr. Winston; he never chewed anything, he just picked up objects and carried them around. If he started to chew on something that he shouldn’t, he happily accepted an exchange. The house was puppy-proofed, and his access to space within the home was micromanaged. I did everything by the book. In my mind, I was an expert and conquered the evils of puppy chewing.
Then, a year later, came puppy Socrates, and I realized that I had not mastered puppy chewing. Winnie was just a dog who didn’t take his chewing seriously. Socrates, my Newfoundland, took chewing seriously. He was what I would call an “object of choice” chewer. He loved to chew craft items. Sequins and anything shiny were his objects of choice, and his experience became more enjoyable (I suspect) if the end result made a mess! He also liked to chew the paper that held a skein of yarn together. He would chew the paper and continue to play with the yarn until it was completely unraveled and strewn throughout the entire house.
In my opinion, of the four canine life stages (puppy, adolescent, adult and senior), puppies tend to have the most issues with inappropriate chewing. The good news is that dogs spend only a small amount of time being a puppy. Let’s take a look at why puppies chew and what you can do if your puppy is a Socrates and not a Winston.
Typically from 4 to 6 months of age, dogs begin to lose their baby teeth, and it can take another four months for all their adult teeth to grow in. During this process all puppies experience pain and discomfort — very similar to the discomfort felt by a teething baby. What can you do to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with puppy teething?
- Offer your puppy wet/frozen washcloths to chew on.
- Purchase commercially sold toys that are specifically designed for teething puppies.
- Frozen marrow bones that you purchase from the butcher can also provide relief. Remember not to cook the bone, as cooked bones are more apt to splinter when being chewed. If you keep the bone frozen, it lengthens the overall chewing time and provides maximum relief.
Note: Always supervise your pet any time a chew item is offered to reduce the possibility of choking or accidental ingestion.
Teaching What Can And Cannot Be Chewed
Puppies don’t get a manual that explains to them acceptable and unacceptable chewing items in and around the home. It is our job to teach them. We do this to keep them from destroying our home and to keep them safe.
Many items found in and around the home can become a medical emergency if ingested or chewed by a puppy. Meet Mr. Rocks and Socks. One day, Mr. Rocks and Socks made an unexpected trip to his veterinarian after his owner noticed he wasn’t eating or eliminating. The X-ray revealed that he had a large blockage in his stomach caused by ingesting rocks and a sock. Mr. R and S needed emergency surgery and his owner learned some valuable lessons:
- Supervise your puppy at all times.
- Teach your puppy the “drop it” cue.
- Teach your puppy a “leave-it” cue.
- Teach your puppy to willingly accept an exchange when chewing on an inappropriate item.
- Puppy-proof your home. Take time to get down to your puppy’s eye level. The home looks quite different when you take the time to view the world through your puppy’s eyes.
- If your puppy is an “object of choice” chewer, make sure he cannot come in contact with those items.
People Are Not Chew Toys
Sometimes puppies think people are their personal chew toy. Puppies who are bored or don’t receive enough exercise might mouth their owners to release some of their pent-up energy. Some puppies may mouth their owners when seeking attention, as perhaps at one point in their life this behavior was inadvertently reinforced. Or, perhaps some puppies have not developed impulse control and begin to mouth their owners when they become overstimulated.
If your puppy doesn’t realize that you are not his personal chew toy, what can you do to reduce this undesirable behavior?
Sooner or later, many dog lovers return home to find some unexpected damage inflicted on their furniture, shoes or other items by their dog or, more specifically, their dog’s teeth. Although dogs make great use of their vision and sense of smell to explore the world, one of their favorite ways to take in new information is to put their mouths to work.
Fortunately, chewing can be directed to appropriate items so your dog isn’t destroying things you value or jeopardizing their own safety.
Until they’ve learned what they can and can’t chew, however, the best medicine is prevention. By setting your dog up for success, you can avoid having to replace your favorite chair or paying for an expensive visit to the veterinarian when your dog has ingested something dangerous.
Understand your dog
Puppies, like infants and toddlers, explore their world by putting objects in their mouths. And, like babies, they teethe for about six months, which usually creates some discomfort. Chewing not only facilitates teething, but also makes sore gums feel better.
Adult dogs may engage in destructive chewing for any number of reasons, including as a coping strategy for stress and boredom. In order to stop the behavior, you must first determine why your dog is chewing—and remember, they are not doing it to spite you. Possible reasons for destructive chewing include:
- As a puppy, they weren’t taught what is and isn’t acceptable to chew.
- They don’t have access to safe and appropriate chew toys.
- They’re bored.
- They suffer from separation anxiety.
- Their behavior is fear-related and chewing is a coping skill.
- Chewing simply feels really good.
If you believe your dog ’s chewing is related to serious anxiety, you may need to consult a behavior professional for help with both separation anxiety and fear-related behaviors.
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Teach what to chew
Take responsibility for your own belongings. If you don’t want it in your dog’s mouth, don’t make it available. Keep clothing, shoes, books, trash, eyeglasses and remote controls out of your dog’s reach. Putting trash in a cupboard or blocking off areas with enticing items is the easiest way to prevent mistakes.
Give your dog toys that are clearly distinguishable from household goods. Don’t confuse them by offering shoes and socks as toys and then expecting them to distinguish between their shoe and yours.
Supervise your dog until they are consistently chewing on appropriate items. Keep them with you on their leash in the house so they can’t make a mistake out of your sight or only give them access to certain rooms of your home. Choose a “safe place” that’s dog-proof and provide fresh water and “safe” toys. If your dog is crate trained, you may also place them in their crate for short periods of time. Remember, crates should never be used for punishment and should be a space where your dog feels safe. Exercise pens and baby gates are also helpful tools.
Give your dog plenty of physical and mental exercise. If your dog is bored, they’ll find something to do to amuse themselves. On the other hand, a tired dog is a good dog, so make sure they get lots of physical and mental activity. The amount of exercise should be based on their age, health and breed characteristics. While daily walks and other outdoor time are crucial to their well-being, letting your dog sniff will be more enriching than trying to power walk two miles without stopping. For dogs who enjoy the company of other dogs, a well-run doggy daycare can be an excellent choice for high-energy pups.
Build toys into your daily routine. Instead of bowls, put their food in a puzzle toy or fill a Kong-type toy with their kibble. For more advanced chewers, cover the openings of the puzzle toy with canned cheese or peanut butter and freeze overnight before giving it to them. And be sure to keep a rotation of toys—novel items are way more fun for your dog than chewing on the same toy from last year. Keep some toys hidden and bring them out when you need to keep your dog occupied.
If you catch your dog chewing on something they shouldn’t, trade them for a toy that is appropriate. If the item they picked is so much fun they won’t give it up, keep high value treats on hand to trade it out. As your dog catches on to this idea, you can add the command “give” as their cue to release the object in exchange for the treat. Removing items from your dog’s mouth can cause your dog to develop guarding behaviors or run from you when you need to get an item back.
If your puppy is teething, try freezing a rubber toy; the cold rubber will soothe their gums. As always, supervise your puppy so they don’t chew and swallow any pieces.
Make items unpleasant to your dog. Furniture and other items can be coated with a taste deterrent (such as Bitter Apple®) to make them unappealing. Caution: Supervise your dog when you first try one of these deterrents. Some dogs will chew an object even if it’s coated with a taste deterrent. Also be aware that you must reapply some of these deterrents to maintain their effectiveness.
Don’t chase your dog if they grab an object and run. If you chase them, you are only giving your dog what they want. Being chased by their human is fun! Instead, call them to you and offer them a treat.
Have realistic expectations. At some point your dog will inevitably chew up something you value; this is often part of the transition to a new home. Your dog needs time to learn where and what the appropriate chew toys are. Take precautions and keep things out of their reach to set them up for success.
Punishment doesn’t work
There may be times when you’re panicked over what your dog is chewing—such as a bottle of medication—which is why training them to trade you for treats will ensure they give up even the most fun items. Scolding or pulling things out of your dog’s mouth can cause behavior issues to develop. Why risk your dog’s trust when positive reinforcement methods are more effective? And that “guilty look” is actually a canine submissive posture that dogs show when they feel threatened or unsafe. When you’re angry and upset, your dog feels threatened by your tone of voice, body language and/or facial expressions, so they may hide or show submissive postures. Building and maintaining a positive, trusting relationship with your dog is the foundation of a happy life together!
Nothing is more fun than playing with a puppy or a dog …. But what spoils this joy is your dog chewing on your personal belongings … Find with us 3 tips to prevent your dog from chewing things. dog chewing furniture
First advice: train your dog not to chew things dog chewing furniture
1- You should make sure that your dog does not have any health problems … some dogs do chewing behavior when they feel stressed.
- Where there is a new emergency that makes him feel anxious, such as the entry and exit of foreign people on a daily basis, or the change of his home.
- There is a lack of nutrients you provide to your dog or if there are worms. dog chewing furniture
Follow up with your veterinarian if you notice any other symptoms with chewing, such as weight loss, vomiting, or diarrhea.
2- Try to make your dog understand two basic ideas. Chewing your own things is a bad thing and he will be punished … Chewing a game is good behaviour that deserves a reward.
- When you find that your dog started chewing furniture or your personal belongings, tell him no or a bad dog with a strong and firm voice and try to take it from him and give him one of his toys.
- When he responds to you, give him a reward … and if he tries to escape with what he was that he was chewing, do not run after him, then this will be considered playing.
- Never punish him physically, as this will increase his sense of stress, which makes the problem more complicated.
- Do not punish him for the act of chewing during your absence, as he will not understand the reason for the punishment.
- When you find your dog chewing his own toy, approach him and pet him and give him rewards … With training, he will realize that good behavior deserves reward. dog chewing furniture
3- You may need to spray some bitter taste stuff on things that you do not want your dog to chew on
Do not use toxic substances, of course … This method may work for things that do not move, such as furniture.
- This method may not work for you completely, as some dogs may continue to chew despite the bitter taste.
- This mixture may be successful (white vinegar with hot chili, pepper, and lemon juice with water) and spray to the desired location.
The second advice: give your dog healthy alternatives dog chewing furniture
1– Encourage good chewing by providing the dog with toys. Rewards … The more toys that can be chewed, the lower the incidence of chewing on your personal belongings such as:
- toys with voice
Raw bones (but raw bones can present a choking hazard, such as chicken bones)
- Kong toys (which can be filled with food have a very good effect as the dog will be busy looking for food)
2- Small puppies When you are teething, their teeth often hurt, try to give them something to soothe the pain.
- You can use a wet towel and freeze it until they chew it. dog chewing furniture
- Carrots and frozen cucumbers are also an excellent solution.
3- Try to spend more time with your dog … dogs do not only want toys but need a lot of play and as a good usage of their energy and spend more time with you.
Try to get out at least once a day for 20 minutes in a park, for example, and play with it a fetch game. This will help reduce bad dog chewing behavior.
Third advice: Prevent damage to your private property
1- Keep the dog out from everything that might reach his teeth and can chew it like books, TV set, plants. dog chewing furniture
Not putting these things in front of the dog will reduce his bad chewing behavior.
2- Don’t make your dog confused. When you give him your old shoes to chew it, he does not understand why he is not chewing the new one either.
Stay away from toys that resemble your own possessions.
3- When you are outside the house … isolate the dog in a place designated for him as a doghouse and have a good area that allows him to move freely, and not to perform chewing behavior in your absence.
4-make your dog recognize the order “leave it” if you want to spend more time and effort training your dog.
Hold two treats, each in a different hand. dog chewing furniture
Show one and tell your dog with a firm voice. Leave it, pointing to what he is chewing
Do not let the dog take the treat, but make him look for them and lick your hand and do not respond to him.
When he loses interest in this hand and the treat, give it the reward of the other hand with a decent encouragement.
Continue this exercise until your dog responds when you say “leave it” at any time.
This teaches your dog that ignoring everything he wants to chew or bite from inappropriate things will be rewarded.
Inappropriate chewing is a fairly common problem in young dogs and stems from the fact that puppies use their mouths as a means of exploring the world around them. Chewing is a normal behavior for puppies but becomes undesirable behavior when it is directed towards inappropriate objects such as your shoes, furniture, or even your hands and feet. If inappropriate chewing is not corrected then it can lead to wide scale destruction of personal property, medical problems and erosion of the human-animal bond.
A dog’s deciduous teeth will erupt between three to eight weeks of age and around four to six months of age these teeth will be gradually replaced with permanent teeth. Teething is a painful process and puppies chew more during this period of time because their gums are very irritated during this time and the act of chewing relieves their discomfort. Inappropriate chewing is most likely to occur while the puppy is teething but if not corrected can become a long standing problem even after all the adult teeth emerge and teething ends.
Here are the five steps you should take to correct inappropriate dog chewing before it becomes a problem:
Rule Out Medical Problems
The first step is to make sure that your puppy does not have any serious medical problems. Nutritional deficiencies caused by poor diet and/or intestinal parasitism can lead to pica which may be misconstrued as inappropriate chewing. Gastrointestinal problems may cause nausea which can trigger chewing as a coping mechanism. Therefore it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical condition that may be causing or contributing to the dog chewing.
Look around your environment for possible dangers to your inquisitive puppy. Place household cleaners and chemicals out of reach along with potentially toxic plants. Electrical cords should be covered or made inaccessible to prevent chewing on them resulting in electrocution. Remove objects of curiosity that might appeal to your puppy such as shoes and socks, children’s toys and the like. Block access to rooms that have not been puppy proofed and consider crate training your dog for the times when he cannot be supervised.
Encourage Appropriate Chewing
Provide appropriate chew toys for your dog to enjoy. Each dog will have their own personal preference as to what they prefer to chew and play with. Be careful with rawhide and beef bones as determined chewers can whittle them down to smaller pieces that can be swallowed. They can end up becoming lodged in the esophagus or small intestine so supervision is recommended when giving these treats and be sure to take away any small pieces that might be swallowed. Avoid chicken bones since they splinter easily creating sharp fragments that can easily puncture your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. I prefer nylabones, greenies and dental chewsticks since they encourage appropriate chewing while combating dental disease. Dog toys such as balls and kongs may appeal to your dog, just be sure to select a size that is appropriate for your dog. They should be able to pick it up and carry it but it should be of sufficient bulk that it cannot be swallowed. If you buy your dog a kong type toy check, make sure the hole in the toy is not so big that the dog can get his lower jaw stuck in it.I have seen several emergency cases where a dog comes in with a toy stuck in his mouth. Do not give toys that resemble inappropriate items; for example do not give your dog an old shoe to chew on because he will not know the difference between the old chew shoe and a brand new pair.
Discourage inappropriate chewing
By following step two you will have already minimized the amount of mischief your young dog can get into. If you do find your dog chewing on something inappropriate correct the dog by taking the object away and scolding him. Direct his attentions to an appropriate chew object and give praise when he chews on said object. Gradually, your dog will learn what objects are his and which are not. Sometimes it can be difficult to discourage chewing if the pattern is already established. Taste deterrents such as bitter apple can applied to the object, the noxious taste will hopefully deter the determined chewer and he will learn to leave the object alone.
Engage in Playtime With Your Dog
A tired dog is a good dog! Spend time playing and exercising with your dog on a regular basis. This not only reinforces the human-animal bond but expends energy that your dog might be otherwise directed to inappropriate chewing and behaviors.
It’s not hard to tell if your cat is a destructive chewer. Do you sometimes see her chewing things until they’re unrecognizable? Do many of your belongings look like the gnarled pencils you used in fourth grade? If you answered “yes” to either question, you’ve come to the right place.
There are many reasons why cats chew on things they shouldn’t, from wanting to soothe their gums during teething to exercising their natural instinct to slice and dice with their sharp back teeth.
“Some cats also use their mouths to explore the world around them,” says Katenna Jones, a Rhode Island-based certified cat behavior consultant. “In that way, they see chewing as fun—almost like a form of play.”
Elise Gouge, a certified pet behavior consultant and trainer based in Massachusetts, agrees. “Cats chew for the enjoyment of it,” she says. “For them, it’s a tactile and enriching activity.”
We asked the experts to break down why cats chew things, when it becomes destructive, and what you can do to prevent or control this behavior.
Is Chewing Normal for Cats?
Chewing is a common behavior in cats, but that doesn’t mean it’s something that can or should be ignored.
“Whether chewing is normal is all relative to the cat, his health, and his level of activity,” Gouge says. “It becomes excessive when it interferes with other activities or is self-injurious.”
It’s important to rule out an underlying medical problem, such as gum disease or gastrointestinal problems, that could be causing your cat’s chewing, Jones adds. “They could be trying to relieve themselves of pain or discomfort, or they’re calling to you, trying to bring your attention to problems like these,” she says. Redness of the gums can be a sign of a dental problem, while Jones says excessive salivating or licking may indicate that your cat’s stomach is acting up.
Behavioral problems can also be associated with destructive chewing, says Dr. Jennifer Coates, veterinary advisor for petMD and author of Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian. “Cats need mental stimulation and physical exercise to keep them from becoming bored, anxious, frustrated, or stressed. If they don’t have enough to do, they’ll find an outlet for all that mental and physical energy themselves…and you may not like the results.”
In any of these cases, you should consult with your vet to treat the underlying problem. When the issue clears up, the chewing should either go away or lessen in frequency.
Risks of Destructive Chewing in Cats
A cat’s teeth are much sharper than a dog’s (or ours)—“like a scalpel compared to a butter knife,” Jones says. For this reason, cat teeth are built for almost any level of chewing and rarely get harmed via this behavior.
More common are concerns about what your cat is chewing and what she may ingest. “Issues that could result from chewing include ingesting dangerous materials such as string,” Gouge says. “Cats are also very sensitive and could be hurt by ingesting chemicals in items they chew.”
Because chewing tends to be a natural behavior meant to exercise a cat’s more carnivorous instincts, Gouge says they may gravitate toward items that are soft and fuzzy—things that mimic the feeling of capturing prey. On the other hand, wires can be especially problematic because electricity may be flowing through them, and, therefore, it’s important to cover the cords or block your pet’s access to them.
Other harmful items cats may chew on include toxic plants, small toys or other objects, ribbons, tinsel, and yarn. In many of these cases, chewing can be dangerous because of the risk of consuming something that can get stuck in your cat’s digestive system. “Oftentimes when a cat eats something indigestible that is comparatively large or string-like, the only way to deal with the situation is for a veterinarian to go in surgically, remove the object, and try to repair any damage that it has done,” Coates adds. If you think your cat has swallowed something dangerous, call your veterinarian immediately.
Stopping Unwanted Chewing Behaviors
Sometimes, the simplest idea is the best. If you want to prevent your cat from chewing on your personal items, put them out of reach.
“Make sure string, yarn, and twine is not left out,” Gouge says. “Protect your plants with wire fencing.”
You can also use furniture and carpets to block off access to wires and certain corners of your house where you may keep something that’s tempting to your cat’s chewing instinct, Jones says. If that’s not possible, she suggests using lemon, cayenne, rosemary, or another scent that cats find unappealing to deter them.
Jones says clicker training is a great way to teach your cat that it pays to walk away from something rather than chew it. That said, it can be a time-consuming process because you may need to train for multiple objects.
An easier way to modify chewing behavior is to simply provide your cat with ample exercise and enrichment, including appropriate objects to chew on.
“Especially when it comes to indoor-only cats, it’s important to provide them outlets to expend their energy in healthy, interactive ways each day,” Gouge says. “This can include grooming them, letting them chase stuffed mice or balls, and giving them access to perches to watch birds or squirrels outside, among other things.” Cat toys and treats designed for chewing are available through many retailers. Cat grass is another good option, since many cats who like to chew also like to graze.
How many times have you looked around your house, only to find your pup has been chewing on anything he can wrap his teeth around? If you have a teething puppy, this is not a good thing but it is quite common. But, if you have an older dog or one that has finished teething, it is not something you should have to put up with. Not only is it destructive, but it can end up harming your pup and could end up with him in the vet’s office having chunks of whatever it is that he was chewing on surgically removed. There are several ways you can go about training your dog not to chew on things. The one thing you need to keep from doing is punishing your dog for doing what comes naturally.
The idea is to teach your pup to stop leaving teeth marks on everything in the house, ranging from shoes to the carpet, to the furniture, your kids’ toys, and goodness only knows what else. However, the last thing you should do is yell at your pup when you catch him chewing and most certainly not after the fact. All this serves to do is make him more agitated rather than curing what is a bad habit. While you can teach your family to put their toys and anything else your pup likes to chew on away, you can’t exactly put the furniture and carpets away. The rest of getting your pup to stop chewing on everything in sight comes with training, time, and patience.
The first stage of training your pup to stop chewing on everything is to try and figure out why he is doing it. In general, there are three reasons why your dog might be chewing. First, he is teething, second, he is bored, and third, he is anxious or stressed. While chewing is quite normal, even in older dogs, chewing on things and furniture around the house is never an acceptable type of behavior. You should have plenty of chew toys on hand for him as well as his favorite treats for when he gets things right.
The Substitution Method
The Success Method
The Ounce of Prevention Method
Written by PB Getz
Published: 11/02/2017, edited: 01/08/2021
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Success Stories and Training Questions
Training Questions and Answers
When I put out roach bait in my house, my dog chews it up when I am not home or are sleeping. How do I train my dog not to do this without removing the roach bait from my house?
Hello, I think that training Cookie to not eat the roach bait will be a challenge since Cookie does it mainly when you are not present. Cookie most likely knows the behavior isn’t correct. The simplest thing to do is put them where Cookie cannot reach, such as in a cupboard or closet. I would be concerned about her getting a blockage from eating the bait container. However, you can try and teach her the Leave It command, although it’s hard to reinforce it when you are not there. Take a look here: https://wagwalking.com/training/leave-it-1. Choose a method that you think will work for Cookie. Practice every day for 10-20 minutes. Once you feel Cookie has the command down pat, start practicing when you see her approach or even sniff a roach bait. Good luck!
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I've given many toys to my dog to chew, and most oc them seem to not interest him. The only ones that interest him are ones that squeak, and those are usually very destroyable. The problem is, I even got him a Kong goodie bone toy (the extreme one) and he did not seem to be interested in it. I did put part of a meat flavored dental chew in there that fit in so tightly that I had to use my weight to push it in.
My idea is for him to chew in the middle where dogs usually chew, but he tends to leave the middle of the goodie bone untouched and chew on the opposite ends of the bone, where the treats are placed. He grew disinterested in it since he couldn't get it out, which is why he keeps and likes destroying other things.
I also tried switching toys here and then, and I have standard nylabones that are not flavored, but whrn I switch the goodie bone for the nylabone, he won't play with it.
In the car he has anxiety, but I know how to handle it. He keeps chewing up everything in the car (glad it wasn't my seat belt) and even with REAL branches for him to chew on in the car, he still grows disinterested even though he likes to chew branches almost ad if they were Kong toys filled with treats.
How do I get him to play with his toys? The only thing I know are plush toys that don't last, and those are his favorites. The ones that do last disinterest him quickly after 15 seconds to almost an hour, but still, this isn't great considering he still misbehaves even if we're homean and he does this mostly when he doesn't chew his toys.
Hello Kien, First of all, when you crate him put a Kong stuffed with dog food in the crate with him. Only having one option to chew and making that chew toy interesting with his dog food will help him learn to like that toy in general. Other good chew toys for hard chewers are deer and elk antlers, cow sterile white bones (which are hollow and can be filled with dog food that has been soaked in water and mixed with a bit of peanut butter (avoid Xylitol sweetener in peanut butter though – it’s toxic to dogs!), cow hoofs, and flavored nylabones (not all dogs like these but many like the meat or peanut butter flavored ones). If he likes branches, then deer or elk antlers are good things to try. The key is to stuff hollow chew toys with his dog food and to give these to him when he is confined in a crate, exercise pen, or staying on his bed. Making that toy exciting and giving it to him when there are no other options to chew helps him form a habit of chewing those toys so that he will think to look for them when he does have other options. You can stuff a regular large Kong by placing dog food inside and putting a larger treat across half of the opening so that only a couple of pieces of food spill out at a time. You can also put his dog food in a bowl, cover it with water, let it sit out until the food turns to wet mush. Once it’s mushy, mix a little peanut butter or liver paste into the food mush where, loosely stuff the Kong (don’t pack it too tightly or the food won’t come back out), then freeze the Kong overnight. You can make several of these at once for the week if you have multiple Kong’s or hollow chew toys to stuff. Because these are frozen and filled with food, they should keep his interested for longer and also relieve any sore jaws that are developing right now. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden