Chewing is both natural and necessary. It is a very common occurrence during puppyhood and growing life stage of dogs.
Puppies do not have hands to touch and feel to gain experience. Their main testing tool is their mouth. Puppies chew, bite and gnaw at any new thing to experience it. Chewing is quite normal for puppies. However, it turns out to be annoying when it comes to chewing on irrelevant household items like footwear, furniture and even on hands and feet of pet parents. If such behaviour of the pup is not corrected in time, it can result in bigger problems in future.
Excessive chewing or for that matter, any destructive behaviour in dogs may be because of one or more of the following reasons:
- Teething or any other medical reason
- Boredom/seeking attention
- Separation anxiety
- Lack of physical activity
It’s crucial to know the cause of such destructive chewing or behaviour and only then some corrective actions can be taken.
Tips to follow
- If there is a medical reason behind the chewing, please ask your vet for the remedy and do what needs to be done in the best interest of you and your dog.
- Use chew toys and chew bones and other chewable products to keep your dog occupied and distract him from damaging your shoes and furniture and the likes. Hollow rubber toys in which you may insert some treats or peanut butter is of great use and works very well in keeping your dog occupied.
- Apply discipline techniques and positive reinforcement techniques when your dog behaves in a certain manner. Timing here is crucial as your pet should be able to relate both, praise and punishment, to his action. Use the techniques below only if you catch them in the act:
- If your dog chews on undesirable things, disciplinary actions like loud voice or loud clap may be helpful in diverting your dog’s attention from chewing undesirable objects.
- If your dog picks up a chew bone or a chew toy on his own, then appreciate your dog with a kind hug or a treat.
- If the excessive and destructive chewing is because of boredom, then think about keeping your pet busy. Spend some time with your pet. That is all they want.
- Your dog may not be comfortable if he does not get human company for long durations. You must start training your pet to stay alone or give him a made-up environment that he can relate to and assume that you are not too far away… like keeping the radio or the TV on, using a voice recorder, etc.
- Your pet may get calm and less destructive if he is given ample physical activity. Agility training centers, group training activities, socialising events, etc are good places for dogs to consume their energy.
- Use deterrents which you can apply to household items to discourage your dog from chewing them. Harmless to both dogs and humans, deterrents simply have the taste and smell which are unpleasant to dogs.
- Ensure you are giving him proper daily exercise according to his breed and age.
- Spend quality time playing with him to keep chewing at bay.
(Nipun Biyani runs Paws 2 Think – Premium Pet Products and Pet Salon- catering pet grooming service, food and accessories in Jaipur).