We’ve all been there: we leave the house for a mere 20 minutes to run an errand and come back to a destroyed shoe, chord, or table leg. Before you get angry, it’s important to remember: chewing satisfies many natural needs in dogs. For puppies, it can alleviate the pain of incoming teeth, and for adult dogs it’s a natural instinct that keeps their teeth and jaws strong (which is crucial to survival) while also being an outlet to relieve anxiety. But we understand that won’t recover your favorite shoe or re-polish that table leg, so here’s a few tips on re-directing your dogs’ urges to chew the wrong things:
- Dog-Proof the House: We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard people say they refuse to dog proof because they want their dog to learn ‘the right way.’ While dog-proofing may seem like you’re giving in to your pets’ whims, it’s actually the best form of prevention. Put shoes away, close doors, and barricade the tables if you have to. You won’t have to do this forever, it’s just until Fido gets the hang of what he should actually be chomping on.
- Provide Plenty of Options: Provide your pet with a few inedible chews and toys and, if you have enough, rotate them to keep him interested. Be sure the bones you’re buying are specific for chewing so they’ll last and you can avoid injury.
- Challenging Chews: Also give your pet edible chews, like bully sticks or our Raw Frozen Ground Bones, so they know that some chews are actually delicious treats. Be sure you give these as treats and not permanent playthings to avoid overfeeding and supervise your pet to make sure they don’t bite off more than they can chew (literally.)
- Pay Attention: Is there a time of day your dog tends to chew more? Consider stuffing an indestructible toy or puzzle with their favorite spread or Pro-Treat flavor and give it to them during this time. Not only will it keep them busy, it will prevent them from finding their own entertainment during this high-energy time.
- Deterrent Spray: Yes, they exist and most dogs hate them. Some experts suggest spraying the deterrent on a piece of paper towel or tissue and give it to your dog. Chances are, they’ll spit it out (probably with a, “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO ME?!” face), and now associate that smell with the terrible taste. From there, these sprays are great for table legs, baseboards, and even shoes. But, these sprays don’t alleviate you of your training responsibilities, it’s important to teach Fido as you go.
- Miscellaneous Tips: Physical activity can play a major role in pooping your pup out to the point that chewing isn’t even on his radar.
- If you see Fido sniffing around something you don’t want him interested in, re-direct his focus to something he can Do this over and over again, he’ll get it.
- A lot of owners will give their pup old shoes or pillows that they no longer care about to give Fido something he clearly likes to chew. This merely adds to their confusion; you can’t expect them to know which shoes or pillows are fair game and which aren’t. If you can, avoid this practice.
- Don’t be afraid to crate train. Crate training is a major peace of mind for owners and can actually enhance your relationship with your pet. Be sure to give them some chew toys in the crate, but keeping them confined while you’re at work or running errands is perfectly fair while they’re learning.