When dogs are young, usually under a year old, it is normal for them to chew a lot. Puppies can be taught not to chew on everything after this age, generally around six months.
This is a necessary behavior to teach for the safety of any items in the home that people treasure and for the sake of the dog, who could chew or choke on dangerous objects.
How to Stop My Dog from Chewing
There are many ways to help prevent and stop dog chewing. While some do it out of force of habit as they grow older, others do it due to stress or anxiety, such as anxiety separation. Thankfully, there are healthy ways to stop your dog from chewing.
Dogs may continue to chew well beyond their first year for various reasons, most commonly boredom or lack of exercise. Tired dogs don't chew, so it's essential to make sure a dog has adequate training each day.
Spending an hour each day walking outside or taking your dog to the dog park, or even playing fetch with it indoors or in a backyard may be a terrific way to reduce chewing behavior because the dog will typically prefer to rest at home instead of attacking a shoe or a couch to relieve boredom and excess energy.
2. Constant Supervision
Constant supervision is the key to stopping your dog from chewing and getting plenty of exercises. A dog wandering away from its owner will likely find something to chew.
Keep the dog on a leash when out, and keep a close eye on the dog when at home. This allows owners to provide quick correction if the dog begins to chew on anything.
Corrections can be varied depending on what the dog does not like. They can include a quick snap of the leash and the word "No!" A quick snap of fingers or a clap of the hands while saying "No!" can have a positive effect, as dogs do not like swift, high-pitched sounds.
Alternately, dogs may hate the sound of pennies in a can, and you can shake the can each time chewing begins.
Some people prefer a squirt of water aimed at the dog. Unacceptable corrections include screaming at the dog or hitting it, as this may stress the dog into more chewing behavior and can lead to aggressiveness down the line.
4. Provide your Dog with Better Chewing Alternatives
Giving the dog an acceptable chewable is the other half of the equation. Have a few chewing toys such as old clothes, shoes, or anything else that belongs to the owner.
When chewing behavior starts, correct the dog, give the dog the designated toy, and reward it with a treat if the dog takes it. This teaches a dog quickly that there is a difference between acceptable and unacceptable chewing items.
It may take several months for your dog to stop chewing on everything in the house. It is advisable to provide a safe space for your ESA dog to chew without being observed. Crates are great for this, but remember that it's dangerous for the dog to be in places where it could chew on something potentially unsafe.
Keep things like electrical wiring off the floor, and avoid leaving socks or shoes around that the dog might find appealing. When spending time outdoors, ensure that any plants the dog may chew are non-toxic, as poisoning is a strong possibility.
Why is My Dog Chewing Everything?
Understanding the cause of your pet's chewing is the first step toward resolving the issue. For example, a dog may chew due to boredom, whereas another may chew due to teething. Your ESA dog may be chewing because of one of the following reasons:
Teething is not a particularly pleasurable stage for dogs. Even for humans, the experience can be unpleasant or even painful. Puppies lose their baby teeth around six months, and you may notice your dog chewing on things around it to relieve pain and discomfort.
Give your dog frozen dog toys or ice to reduce teething chewing. A frozen carrot or banana is especially beneficial because it contains nutrients. Placing a rubber puppy toy in the freezer for an hour or two can result in a makeshift toy, leading to good chewing behaviors and temporary relief for your teething puppy.
Remember to watch your emotional support animal whenever it has toys or treats.
Stress and Frustration
Your dog may chew as a form of stress and frustration relief. The dog may experience anxiety or stress due to its external environment, such as living with a dog it dislikes. Therefore, it would be best if you determined what frustrates your ESA-certified dog.
Your dog may also be bored because it does not participate in stimulating activities. Dogs can intentionally chew on objects to attract their owner's attention.
Normal Chewing Behavior
Chewing is a natural and necessary behavior in dogs—dog chewing aids in strengthening the dog's jaw and cleaning its teeth. Dogs chew for numerous reasons, including stress relief, entertainment, and mental stimulation.
As a dog owner, you should provide your emotional support animal with the necessary items to chew—bones and dog toys.
However, it is essential to note that providing these items will not prevent your dog from chewing on other household items.
Tips for Preventing Your Dog from Chewing
Dog-proof Your House
Avoid leaving shoes and clothing in areas where your dog can gain access. Keeping a tidy house means your dog won't be able to find out-of-place items to chew.
Keep Your Dog Busy
If you catch your dog chewing on something it shouldn't, give it a toy. When choosing toys for your pet, remember that small parts can quickly become a choking hazard if they break off.
Consider replacing your ESA dog's toys when they wear out or get small enough for the dog to swallow.
Provide Bones For Your Dog
Dogs love to chew bones. Always give your puppy raw bones, not cooked ones, because cooked bones can break and hurt your puppy.
Nylon bones are fantastic because they are long-lasting, safe, and won't cause any harm to your dog's teeth. Always keep an eye on your dog to prevent choking incidents.
Give Your Dog Chewing Edibles
You can give your ESA dog numerous chewing edibles to prevent it from chewing on harmful items. Offer edibles such as pig skin rolls, ears, bully sticks, and other natural chews.
When feeding them these treats, supervise your dog to prevent choking from large pieces.
Monitor Your Dog's Chewing Routine
When is your dog most likely to chew? During these times, give your dog a toy and some food. Likewise, during these times, you can be sure to take your dog out for a walk or to a dog park. They could be chewing during this time because they are bored or have excess energy to relieve.
Use Anti-Chew Sprays
Use an anti-chew spray to keep the dog away from household items that you cannot keep away. To do this, dip a cotton bud into the deterrent and place it either on the area the dog is chewing or in the dog's mouth when they chew.
For example, suppose it is the corner of your dog's coffee table constantly chewing. In that case, you can either place the deterrent or spray directly on the corner or, upon noticing the behavior, put the deterrent directly in your dog's mouth. Doing so teaches them to associate the deterrent's smell with a foul taste. The scent will signal the dog with an ESA letter not to chew on said items.
Ensure that the deterrent will not harm your dog if it is ingested or on its skin. Check all ingredients and chemicals, and contact your vet for any concerns or questions regarding ingredients, pet-safe sprays, and oils.
Place Your Dog in a Confinement Area
If there is no one to supervise your emotional support animal, you should consider confining them. The confinement area must be free of unnecessary chewable items. This can be a pen or a crate. Provide food and water if you will be gone longer than an hour.
Teach Your Dog What to Chew
Not all chewing is bad. Dogs must chew to strengthen their jaws. Therefore, teach your dog what is safe to chew and what is not. Training them to chew certain toys and bones can aid in positive chewing behaviors, rather than just telling them "No!" and not substituting one chewing object for another.
Mind-stimulating your dog, is an effective method for reducing unnecessary chewing. When dogs are bored, they seek out various distractions to keep themselves entertained. Use puzzles and other mental games to stimulate your dog's mind.
Feed Your Dog
Sometimes, your dog might be hungry. Give your dog a nutritious, well-balanced diet. You should also provide it with food and water throughout the day.
Stopping Your Dog from Chewing and Biting
Most dogs will eventually stop chewing with a bit of attention, correction, substitution, and exercise. Consider consulting a dog trainer or behaviorist for additional advice if the behavior persists.
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