You’re about to go for a walk, and you’re looking for your favorite pair of sneakers. You can only find one shoe in its usual place, and you discover its mate under the kitchen table well and truly chewed up by your dog.
What can you do to prevent this happening again? If your canine friend is a champion at dog chewing, here are seven steps to help safeguard your shoes, your socks, and your slipcovers.
- Remain Calm. No matter how upset you are, take a deep breath, and calm down. Getting angry and shouting at your dog won’t help the situation. In fact, you may make matters worse by making your dog tense and driving him to find something else to chew to calm himself down.
- Recognize That You’re Too Late. If you discover your chewed shoe even minutes after it’s been chewed, you’re too late. Your dog will associate chastisement with his behavior at the time he’s being corrected. He is unable to reason that the scolding is because he tore up your shoe ten minutes ago.
- Make a Correction. If your dog is stubbornly hanging on to the object, don’t try to grab it away or pull the dog away from it – you may make your dog angry. The best approach is a light touch on the dog’s hindquarters or neck to take his attention away from the item.
- Redirect the Behavior. If the correction didn’t succeed in convincing your dog to drop the object, try offering him something else such as his favorite toy. Don’t distract him with a treat, or he will think he’s being rewarded for dog chewing. On the other hand, praise him lavishly when he takes the toy into his mouth.
- Claim Ownership. Use your body language and your energy to communicate to your dog that the item belongs to you, not him. It can help to imagine a boundary around you and the object that your dog shouldn’t cross.
- Don’t Give Chase. If your dog runs off with the object in his mouth, don’t chase him. If you do, you are providing your dog with pleasure. Being chased is fun! Instead, don’t move, summon him to you and try to claim the item.
- Provide Dog-Safe Chew Toys. It’s normal for a puppy who is teething to chew to relieve sore gums. It’s up to you to teach your puppy what to chew and what not to chew. Provide objects that can safely be chewed and that are easily distinguishable from household items. Don’t confuse your dog by offering him old shoes or socks as chewable toys.
Dog Chewing While You’re at Work
If you find that your dog only chews things while you are away from home, this may be a sign of separation anxiety. Click here to learn more about this common issue.
Fortunately, with a little effort on your part, chewing can be directed toward appropriate items to prevent your dog from destroying things you value. CVETS doesn’t offer treatment for dog chewing; it’s up to you to take care of the problem. However, if you live in our area and your dog ever needs emergency care, we are here for you.