But what happens when your precious pooch starts showing his or her chewy side? When dogs go on a chewing adventure, it’s the stuff that has your lingering scent or where you spend most of your time on that usually takes a hit. The usual biting casualties include your couch, your rug, and of course—every dog’s favorite—your shoes.
There’s a good and bad side to chewing. What you need to accept first and foremost is that all dogs chew, especially puppies. It’s part of the gnawing pains that they all go through. But when they start turning into adults and still have the same bad chewing habits, then you know you have a serious problem.
Coming home to a messy place with torn rags and unusable footwear everywhere can more often than not elevate stress on your part as an owner and possibly cause a strain on your relationship with your dog. If the situation drags on, you start to lose that warm, fuzzy feeling that you get when your furry friend comes running toward you.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
The good news is that there are so many ways you can help. But before you can, it’s important to understand why dogs chew in the first place.
Chewing is an ingrained habit for dogs. They develop their receptors by exploring the world they live in with their mouths. It helps them deal with the pain of teething and also strengthens their jaws.
Chewing is a fun time for them as well. If you have an energetic dog, the act of chewing itself is a solution. It helps them relax.
Veterinary behaviorists have observed that dogs left alone by owners for long periods have the tendency to chew more as a way of relieving the stress caused by separation. They usually go for items that have the strongest scent of their owners. This is why it’s always the shoe that drops.
In some cases, a dog will grab, run, and chew what’s available within their paw’s reach to get you to chase. Furniture, pillows, random widgets, or anything that they can put in between their preying mouths, are all fair game for them.
What they don’t do is chew to get back at you. Dogs live in the moment. It makes no sense to punish them hours after the shredding. What happened minutes ago is not something they remember, which brings you to the next step: knowing how you can help them develop good chewing habits.
What Can You Do?
Repetition is the key to good formation. When your dog runs off with one of your stuff, resist the temptation to run right after them. Dogs are natural predators, so they always enjoy a good chase. Running after them will only encourage the behavior and make them think that you are having a fun time with them.
Instead of playing, you can try to teach them to trade. Walk toward your dog as calmly as you can without any fuss, and offer a trade for whatever is in his or her clever mouth with a treat.
Yummy bully sticks are healthy treats for your enthusiastic nibblers. It’s the best alternative to prevent your pups from crunching on your valuables. These edible chews are made from beef which is high in protein and nutrient-dense.
Not only that, bully sticks can also improve your dog’s teeth and gums. The texture of the stick scrapes away dental plaque as they bite through the snack. It’s a reward system that will help your dog drop whatever inappropriate item he or she may have at that time and trade it off for something better.
Effective dog trainings are generally treat-centric for this reason. Every time your dog runs off with something, giving them a treat instead of a punishment will help them remember better and, in due time, turn it into muscle memory.