Have you ever wondered why your dog chews everything … including things they aren’t supposed to? For dogs, chewing relieves anxiety, aids in managing stress, and provides a source of mental and physical stimulation. Some dogs have a stronger need to chew than others and will do what it takes to satisfy that need, including gnawing on your favorite pair of shoes.
Puppies have a tendency to chew on things as a way of exploring the world. It also helps alleviate some of the discomfort of teething, as it does for a baby. Puppies that do not receive sufficient attention and playtime might chew on things to pass the time when they’re bored.
Many people reach out to Sarasota Dog Wizard for training advice when their dog is still chewing on things other than their chew-toys, even past puppyhood. In a lot of cases, our professional trainers find that the dog is gravitating toward chewing on objects that have their human’s scent on them, such as the TV remote control, a pair of glasses or even furniture: this says something about why they’re doing it.
A dog that is chewing on their owner’s personal items is likely looking for comfort from stress. Often, the dog will only chew on these items when their owner is gone or not being attentive to them, which alludes to a case of separation anxiety.
In other cases, the dog is turning to chewing for physical or mental stimulation. Certain breeds need more physical and/or mental exercise than others. If they are not receiving enough stimulation from their owner, or don’t have a structured play and exercise time to look forward to, they will chew on things to fill the void.
Here are some useful tips to reduce unwanted chewing:
- Be sure to give your pet a lot of attention. Be attentive to their need for affection, exercise and mental stimulation.
- Confine your pet to a crate or small, familiar space to reduce their anxiety and access to destruction if you must leave them alone for a period of time.
- Stimulate your dog mentally with engaging toys, fetch and hide-and-go-treat games. Make sure they have toys or rawhide to gnaw on, so they don’t look toward other objects.
- Ensure your dog is getting enough exercise to meet the needs of the breed. Take long, routinely scheduled walks to exert their energy.
- Leave a sock or old t-shirt with your scent on it, so your pet feels comforted if you have to leave for a longer duration.
Professional behavioral and obedience training will stop the chewing problem. Our professional dog trainers at Sarasota Dog Wizard can help you identify the reason why your dog is chewing and aid them in overcoming their bad habit.