Chewing & Destructive Behaviour
My dog chews everything in sight!
Our dogs may be family, but that doesn’t mean they’re always the best roommates. One of the most common complaints we humans have about our canine roomies is the chewing.
Why do they always go straight for the newest pair of shoes? The important document you needed for today’s meeting? The arm of the sofa?
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Five Reasons Your Dog Has A Destructive Behaviour
Just like human toddlers like to put things in their mouths, puppies use their mouths to explore and understand the world around them. The good news is that for many dogs, it’s a stage that they will outgrow over time. So puppy-proof your home in the meantime, and focus on establishing your pack leadership so you can reign in chewing or any other unwanted behaviours over the long-term.
If the behaviour occurs when you’re away from home, then it may be a symptom of separation anxiety. To stop chewing when left alone, you’ll need to address this underlying issue. Are you practicing “No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact” when entering and leaving the home? Do you leave the home with your dog in a rested state after a nice walk?
If your dog has excess energy, he/she has to direct it somewhere and that may just be your favourite new pair of shoes. Assess the level of challenge you are providing for your dog. Are you providing regular walks? Are the walks long enough? What about other mental challenges? Are you playing with your dog enough?
Even past puppy hood, dogs enjoy chewing. It’s a natural, normal behaviour — as long as it isn’t excessive. But that doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it. Instead, redirect the dog’s chewing instinct towards appropriate objects, such as chew toys. Correct your dog — calmly and immediately — when he is chewing on any other object you want him to avoid
Some nutritional deficiencies can lead to pica, which is the instinct to eat non-food items. Also some dogs suffering from gastrointestinal issues may use chewing to trigger vomiting to feel better. Particularly if the behaviour started suddenly, it’s worth ruling out medical causes before addressing it as a behavioural issue.
I’m not a vet so if you feel any behaviour your dog is displaying could be medical related, seek advice straight away.