Dogs love to chew, especially when they're teething puppies. Unfortunately, this often means that your favorite couch cushions or expensive work shoes become fodder for your pup’s chewing habits. Some basic obedience training can help you alleviate the problem, protect your personal property and create a happier household.
Why Dogs Chew
Dogs chew for a variety of reasons. Puppies chew to ease the pain of new teeth erupting from their gums or to soothe themselves using chewing as a repetitive, calming action. Dogs also may chew in a destructive manner if they're bored, scared or suffer from separation anxiety. Chewing can be healthy for your pup, and can help improve dental health. Give your dog chew bones that help remove the tartar and plaque buildup that can lead to gingivitis and gum disease.
Put Personal Property Away
Do both yourself and your dog a favor and put away personal items he has an interest in chewing. If your pup has a penchant for pumps, put them on a high shelf. If he goes for your child's favorite toys, put them in a toy box. In other words, put things of great value out of your dog’s reach so he can't get to them. This will save you both a lot of grief while you’re training against unwanted chewing.
Give your dog his own chew toys to encourage him to leave your things alone. This will help with the training process when you take away “bad" chew items and replace them with “good" chew items. Don't buy toys that look or smell like household personal items that you don't want your dog to chew on, as this will only create confusion.
Put your dog through basic obedience training so he understands you're the dominant party. You may conduct an obedience training program on your own or participate in a class. This process will help you establish respectful boundaries with your pup. Crate training also can be helpful in putting an end to unwanted chewing, especially if your dog is destructive when you're away.
Monitoring and Attention
Give your dog attention to help reduce boredom chewing. Get into the habit of taking away anything he shouldn't be chewing on and replace it with something suitable. Your dog eventually will get into the habit of going only to his own chew toys. If your pup chews something inappropriate, don't physically reprimand him, as this will lead to fear and mistrust and likely won't curb the chewing problem. Continue with repetitive training, and if necessary, consult your vet if you're having problems moving past destructive chewing.