It is normal for dogs to use their mouth as a way of exploring the world around them. Chewing is normal, especially for puppies, but it becomes undesirable when directed towards your shoes, furniture, clothes, or even your hands and feet. If this type of inappropriate chewing is not corrected, then it can lead to wide-scale destruction of your property.
Here are eight things you can do to correct inappropriate chewing behavior before it becomes worse.
Understand Your Dog
Dogs, especially puppies, explore the world by putting objects in their mouths. And like babies, they have teeth for about six months. This usually creates some discomfort and they resort to chewing things to make their gums feel better.
On the other hand, adult dogs engage in destructive chewing for many reasons, such as a coping strategy to relieve stress and boredom.
Check if They Have Medical Problems
The first step is to make sure that your dog doesn't have serious medical problems. Poor diet, intestinal parasitism, gastrointestinal problems, and other health issues can cause other health issues that can trigger chewing as a coping mechanism. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health condition that may be causing their chewing problems.
Be Responsible for Your Belongings
If you don't want your belongings getting chewed by your pet, don't make them available. Keep shoes, books, eyeglasses, remote control, and other "chewable '' personal belongings out of your dog's reach.
Give Them Toys
Don't confuse your pet by offering them socks and shows as toys and expecting them to not chew yours. Do not give your dog toys that look like something you don't want to be chewed either. High energy dogs need to chew to relieve stress and dog toys will keep your furniture and belongings safe from chewing.
Enforce Proper Discipline
The only time you can discipline your dog is by catching them in the act. If you find your shoes getting chewed up an hour or more after the deed is done, then your dog won't be able to associate the punishment with the act of chewing. It may seem that your dog seems guilty when you wave the shoe in front of its face, but it is just their submissive behavior.
There are products available that can be applied to shoes, remote, or any household objects that can discourage your pet from chewing them. These products have a taste or smell that is unpleasant to dogs but not offensive to humans.
Give Your Pet Plenty of Physical and Mental Exercise
When your dog is bored, they'll find something to do to amuse themselves. On the other hand, if your dog is tired, they won't mess around with your things and will probably be laying or asleep most of the time. The amount of exercise they get should be based on their age, health, and breed characteristics.
Set Realistic Expectations
At some point, your dog will chew up something valuable in your house like your favorite shoes, clothes, etc. This is often a part of the transition especially if you just bought/adopted your pet. Your dog needs time to learn your house rules. Always take precautions and keep valuable things out of reach.