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Are you sitting in front of a chewed up pillow, chair leg or your favorite shoes?
If so, then your only question probably is: how am I going to stop my dog from chewing on all my things?
Chewing and destructiveness are definitely among the most annoying behaviors that dogs have.
I remember this one time very distinctively when once left my Mini Poodle Baloo is his crate a little too close to the wastepaper. When I came home one or two hours later, he had shredded it into tiny bits and pieces. And that happened through the wires of his crate.
I don’t even want to imagine what the room would have looked if I didn’t crate him…
Why Do Dogs Chew on Everything?
Dogs are such great companions. Getting a dog can really enrich your life!
But there are some things dogs do that can also drive you absolutely crazy.
If your dog is a big chewer, you’re not alone. Lots of dogs chew, especially if they’re still puppies.
But what about when chewing becomes a problem?
There are definitely ways to help your puppy stop chewing. But as usual, the first step is to understand why your dog chews.
Puppies Explore the World with Their Teeth
When puppies are born, one of the very first things they do is look for their mother’s teats so they can start eating. At this point, they still aren’t quite able to open their eyes. This means that a lot of what they experience is through their mouths!
Their mothers encourage this too.
When puppies are born, their mothers lick them to clean them up, and continue to lick the puppies as they get older.
From the moment they’re born, puppies learn that mouths are important. That’s why they spend their puppyhood using their teeth and mouths to explore the world around them!
If your new puppy is chewing a lot and he’s very young, he’s probably teething. Yes, that’s right—puppies teeth and lose their baby teeth just like human children! And, just like human babies, teething is a painful process for puppies.
In order to deal with the pain and discomfort of teething, your puppy will want to chew on anything he can get his mouth around.
Whether it’s the corner of your couch or your own toes, your puppy will want to chew it!
This can be a really frustrating point in your puppy’s life, for both you and him.
The best thing you can do is be patient, and know that eventually the teething period will end. In the meantime, make sure he has puppy-safe things to chew on, like toys made out of hard rubber or a bully stick.
Boredom is a huge cause for many behavioral problems in dogs.
If a dog isn’t getting enough daily stimulation, he’ll start looking for ways to entertain himself.
Many dogs do this by chewing. It gives your dog something to focus on, even though it’s something you might wish he would leave alone.
In case you’re not sure if your dog is bored, check out these articles next:
- Is my dog bored? 7 symptoms of dog boredom
- My dog is bored, what can I do?
- 21 fun things to do with your dog at home
Separation anxiety is a mental disorder in which a dog struggles when apart from his human.
It might seem cute to think that dogs love us so much that they have a hard time being away from us. But the reality is that separation anxiety is a problem that can be incredibly destructive, and difficult to deal with for both you and your dog.
Just like your dog might chew out of boredom to entertain himself if he’s not getting enough stimulation, a dog with separation anxiety might chew to deal with his anxious feelings.
The pent-up energy building inside your dog because of his anxiety could be what’s encouraging him to chew.
If you think your dog might be struggling with separation anxiety, take a look at some of the other symptoms. If you think these symptoms sound like your dog, it’s probably best to visit a doggy behavioralist to help you and your dog work through the anxiety.
In case this isn’t in your budget, I recommend taking a look at Braintraining4dogs. This online course helps you develop your dog’s “hidden intelligence” to eliminate unwanted behaviors.
Along with separation anxiety, it covers pretty much every behavioral issue you could think of.
At $47 this will definitely safe you a whole lot of money in comparison to a dog behavioralist!
While a dog’s chewing might not come from something as severe as separation anxiety, it can still be a form of stress relief.
You can try thinking about it as similar to humans biting their nails. Lots of people bite their nails when they’re stressed out. Your dog might chew as a way of trying to relieve the stress he’s feeling.
If you think your dog is chewing to relieve stress, think about the situations when he chews. Is he chewing throughout the day? Or does he only chew when he’s in stressful situations?
It Has Become a Habit
Sometimes behaviors learned early in life stick with your dog.
You can think about this in comparison to human nail biting too. Maybe you started biting your nails when you were a kid because you were stressed. But now, you still bite your nails, even when you’re not feeling stressed out. That’s because it’s become a habit for you!
The same is true for your dog.
If chewing is something your dog picked up on as a puppy, he might hold onto that behavior into his adulthood.
But remember—just like humans can break out of habits, your dog can break out of bad habits too!
How to Stop a Dog from Chewing on Things
So, that’s what we’re looking at next: how to actually stop a dog from chewing on things.
Don’t worry, there’s always a solution to stop unwanted behaviors, even if it has become a habit.
It might take some time and patience, but you’ll definitely get there!
Set Your Dog Up for Success
If your dog is a big chewer, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. Chewing can actually be a really good thing for your dog to do. The problem comes from your dog chewing things he’s not supposed to.
So how do you stop your dog from chewing on the things he’s not supposed to?
The trick is to set him up for success.
That means making sure that things he’s not supposed to chew on are hidden away if possible. At the same time, you should be leaving out things he is allowed to chew, like toys. If you do this, you put him in a situation where he can’t fail!
Provide Lots of Toys and Chewies
Just like the last tip, making sure that your dog has lots of toys that he is allowed to chew on will help him avoid the things he isn’t supposed to chew, like your shoes or your couch.
This will be especially helpful if there are some things you’ve taken out of his reach. As long as your dog has other options available, he’ll be less likely to chew on the pillows or socks that you’ve had to hide from him.
So make sure that a toy or chewy is always somewhere accessible to your dog. You want your dog to make the right choices, and the best way to do that is to give him the opportunity to make those good choices!
The easiest way to make your that your pup always has something to gnaw on is to get a dog subscription box such as BoxDog. You only need to subscribe once, and you get a box every 3 months delivered to your house. Definitely the easiest way to release some puppy energy!
I particularly like BoxDog because of 3 reasons:
- They send their boxes quarterly, so you don’t get overwhelmed by piling treats and toys from receiving a box every month.
- Each box contains handmade cookies.
- You can build your own box, so you can choose exactly which toys your puppy likes. How cool is that?
They currently even have a limited promotion going on where you get a free dog mat with your first box. Get your first box here.
Supervise Your Dog Whenever Possible
You won’t be able to teach your dog not to do something if you’re not around to see it. It’s hard to supervise your dog every minute of every day. But if possible, while you’re home make sure to keep an eye on him.
If you catch him chewing, you can get him to stop, and take the item he’s chewing on away. Over time, your dog will learn not to chew on those things, and to chew only on his toys.
Supervising your dog can also help in another way. Some of the things your dog chews might be really bad for him if he ingests them.
Things like the stuffing inside your couch or from toys not made specifically for dogs can be toxic and make your dog sick. If your dog has a tendency to go for shoes, the laces can be a choking hazard, and could get stuck in his digestive tract.
Keeping an eye on your dog will help you keep him from chewing on anything that could be really dangerous.
Crate Him While You’re Gone
There aren’t enough good things to say about crates. As long as you train your dog to love his crate, it will be an incredibly helpful tool for you! Crates create a safe environment for your dog, where he can settle down and relax.
Once their dogs are crate trained, many people choose to crate their dogs while they’re away. Knowing where your dog is and that he can’t get into any trouble while you’re gone provides real peace of mind.
If your dog is a big chewer, it also means you don’t have to worry about him chewing on anything while he’s in his crate. If you’re using a crate to stop your dog from chewing, a good idea is to leave a toy in there with him. This will help him satisfy his chewing urge, while keeping him from chewing on the crate itself.
To get started with crate training, check out these articles next:
- 6 best crates for dogs to sleep in
- How to crate train a dog
- How to crate train an older dog in 6 steps
Provide Lots of Physical and Mental Stimulation
If your dog is a boredom chewer, then the best thing you can do for him is make sure he’s getting enough daily stimulation.
But even if he chews for other reasons, providing enough mental and physical stimulation is always a good idea. Because if your pup is tired, he doesn’t have any energy left to get himself into trouble!
This might mean taking him for longer walks, or playing a few rounds of fetch in the yard. You should also make sure his mental needs are being met too.
A really great way to get your dog’s brain working is with food puzzles. These are designed to get your dog thinking in order to earn his food.
Here are some other articles to get you inspired:
- How to mentally stimulate your dog
- 21 fun things to do with your dog at home
- Do dogs get tired? Complete guide for a relaxed dog
Only Scold Him When You Catch Him “Red Pawed”
One of the frustrating things about dogs is they don’t speak the same language we do.
If your dog does something you don’t like, and you only scold him several minutes after he’s stopped, he’s not going to know what you’re talking about. He might think you’re scolding him for what he’s doing at that moment. And if what he’s doing is minding his own business, then that’s not going to be helpful!
This is why you should only scold your dog in the moment.
If you catch your dog in the act of chewing something he shouldn’t, that’s the time to scold him. If you find your dog has chewed something up in one room, but now he’s in a completely different part of the house, scolding him will only confuse him.
It just means you need to supervise him more, and provide him with opportunities to chew things he is allowed to chew on.
Let’s now take a look at a few related questions that you might have.
At What Age Do Dogs Stop Chewing?
Chewing is a very normal and healthy behavior for dogs.
Your dog will never “stop” chewing. But if your dog is still a puppy, you might be wondering when the terrible teething time will be over. While each individual dog is different, most dogs are 6 months old when they stop teething.
How to Stop a Dog from Chewing His Paws
If your dog chews or licks his paws a few times a day, that’s completely normal. But if your dog is chewing excessively, that indicates a problem.
The first thing you should look into is a potential food allergy.
If an allergy isn’t the culprit, then it could be a behavioral problem, like canine OCD. In either case, a trip to your vet will probably be needed to get a diagnosis. Once you have that, you can start eliminating the cause of your dog’s allergies. Or you can work with a behavioralist to help with your dog’s compulsive chewing.
Speaking of vet: have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!
How to Stop a Dog from Biting His Tail
If your dog is chasing and biting his tail frequently, that could be a sign something is wrong.
Luckily, Dogpackr has written about tail chasing in the past! For more information on why dogs chase their tails and how to get them to stop, be sure to read this article.
How to Stop a Puppy from Biting
Puppies biting is normal behavior. But this behavior can get frustrating, painful, or even a little dangerous as they grow older.
If your new puppy doesn’t seem to want to stop biting, being overtired might be the issue! Luckily, with consistency and patience, you can help your puppy learn to stop biting everything—including you!
Dogs chew for a variety of reasons. It’s very normal for dogs to chew, and chewing actually helps dogs keep their teeth clean and their jaws strong.
But if your dog is chewing excessively, that’s a sign something’s wrong. As with most behavioral problems, the first thing to do is to make sure that your dog isn’t just bored. If you’re sure your dog is definitely getting enough mental and physical exercise, then it’s time to look into some other possibilities.
While excessive chewing can be an extremely frustrating behavior in dogs, if you put in the time and love, you can get your dog to stop chewing your furniture, and start gnawing on the things he’s allowed to chew.
P.s.: Don’t forget to check out Braintraining4dogs if you want to take your dog training game to the next level. It offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.
Struggling with your puppy's hyper behavior? I offer private 1:1 online coaching to help you with your puppy's behavioral problems (biting, crate training struggles, crying, barking, separation anxiety, daily schedule etc.). Schedule a free 15-minute video Zoom call to get started!
Please note that I'm not a professional dog trainer. Everything I know is from my own experience with my hyper Mini Poodle Baloo and hundreds of hours of research.