Got a Chewer? Here’s Our Guide to Stop Your Dog’s Excessive Chewing

how to train a dog to stop chewing excessively

Aren’t puppy chewers the cutest? They gnaw away on everything they can get their mouths on. Once they cross over into adulthood, what might have seemed like an innocuous behavior can turn into one seriously destructive habit. Your adult has gone from nibbling on your shoes to devouring things like your couch, including legs and pillows. This guide looks at excessive chewing in dogs and how to stop a dog from chewing up your entire house.

Understanding Excessive (Destructive) Chewing

Similar to infants and toddlers, puppies like to put objects into their mouths. This does two things: It teaches your pet about their environment and helps with teething, which occurs until your dog is about 6 months old. On the other hand, excessive chewing in adult dogs can result from various reasons such as the following five reasons.

1. Your dog might be bored

All dogs need some form of daily activity that works their muscles and mind. Without sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, your pet will seek out other ways to burn up his energy, like chewing on furniture, shoes, literally anything.

2. Dog has separation anxiety/stress

During periods of stress or separation anxiety, dogs can display destructive behavior like pacing, whining, barking, and excessive chewing as a coping mechanism. A dog chewing carpet while you are away is a sign that your dog suffers from separation anxiety. Learn more about separation anxiety in dogs.

3. Fear/nervousness in dogs

Anytime your pet becomes afraid of something like fireworks or lightning, he may chew on things to alleviate his fear.

4. Your dog is hungry

Dogs with a calorie-restricted diet may attempt to find nourishment by chewing on objects around your home. Talk to your vet if you are concerned about your dog’s diet.

5. You failed puppy training (it happens!)

Failure to teach a puppy what they can and can’t chew on can lead this behavior to become a full-blown destructive habit as an adult dog.

Now that you know why your dog might be chewing on everything, let’s explore what we can do to prevent and redirect that tendency.

How to Stop Dogs Chewing

Don’t make your belongings available. Leaving shoes, clothes, belts, even the trash accessible is an open invitation to your excessive chewer. Instead, keep things picked up and out of his reach. Use gates to prevent your pet from entering areas with your stuff and put your garbage out of sight, like under the kitchen sink if possible.

Shoes and socks are not toys. Don’t confuse your dog by giving him an old shoe or sock to play with. This practice may confuse your dog into thinking every shoe and sock is free game for his chewing pleasure.

Keep an eye on your dog. To help ensure your pet doesn’t eat you out of house and home, keep him close. Use baby or doggy gates to keep in a particular area of the house, or keep him on his leash until you’re sure your dog’s chewing habit is under control.

Teach Your Dog to Chew On This, Not That

Trade out items your dog chews on with a toy. If you catch your pet chewing on something he’s not supposed to, offer to trade a chew toy, like the BarxBuddy Busy Ball or a suction cup pull toy he can freely gnaw. This trade-off may require a few treats and teaching your dog the command “give” if he is overly interested in the object he’s chewing.

Ensure your pet gets enough daily exercise and mental stimulation. No matter the age of your dog, you need to get him moving. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog. It’s true: If you provide a proper amount of physical and mental activities for your pet, he won’t have the energy to chew up your stuff.

How to stop a dog from chewing rugs and furniture

Some people use sprays or homemade remedies to stop dogs from chewing their bed or your furniture and rugs.

You can coat items like your furniture with a taste deterrent. Some home remedies call for applying an apple cider vinegar-based spray to your furniture, which you may need to do repeatedly. Test a small area before you coat it, though, to make sure the vinegar or chewing deterrent spray doesn’t harm your belongings.

Other dogs may continue to chew through whatever with no regard to the taste deterrent. Use the BarxBuddy ultrasonic trainer to interrupt unwanted behaviors like chewing things that don’t belong to your dog. With a push of the button on this effective hand-held training tool, you can quickly get your dog’s attention from destructive behavior like barking and excessive chewing, so you can redirect him.

What Not to Do When Addressing Your Dog’s Excessive Chewing

Now that we’ve talked about what to do, there are a few things you should avoid doing when trying to prevent your pet from excessive chewing.

Do not …

  • Chase your pet if he grabs an object and runs. If your dog sees you chasing him as a game, this won’t do anything to deter his chewing habit.
  • Scold, spank or punish your pet. Your dog cannot connect any punishment with what he did “wrong,” even if it took place mere minutes ago.
  • Leave your dog in a crate for extended periods; doing so teaches your pet nothing about his chewing behavior.
  • Hold your hand around your dog’s mouth around a chewed object. This does not teach your pet anything and is a dangerous hazard.

Above all, stay calm and positive. With some time and patience, you can help curb your dog’s chewing behavior. Speak with your vet or animal behaviorist if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s demeanor.

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