It’s natural for dogs to want to chew things. However, it becomes a destructive type of behaviour if they start chewing the wrong things!
For puppies, it’s an important part of the teething process. With adults though, it’s often just for fun or to relieve some boredom. In some cases it can also be a displacement behaviour to release pent-up energy or stress.
You have to teach your dog what they can and can’t chew, or they’ll make a complete mess of your house. It’s not fun constantly having to pick up chewed pieces of your shoes, or miles of ripped up toilet roll.
Here’s some steps you can take towards preventing your dog from chewing up all of your personal belongings:
Dog Proof the House
You may think this type of practice is just for puppies, but we forget that it can also be applicable to some adult dogs too. You need manage your environment so your house is “puppy-proof” or “dog-proof”.
This means putting things away, such as shoes in the cupboard. You should also restrict your dogs environment when they’re not being supervised such as when you go out. This can be done by placing them in their crate or in a room that has no destructible items.
Chews instead of Toys
All these items you leave lying around your dog will assume you have left for them to play with. This is instinctive behaviour from when the pack leader would leave things for puppies to play with.
If you catch your dog chewing one of these inappropriate items, be sure to interrupt them and point them towards a more suited item instead, such as a stuffed kong or a chew.
Also, don’t give your dog old shoes or slippers etc. to destroy. While they’ll enjoy themselves it will put them under the impression that they can do this to anything similar that they happen to find.
If you feel the need to do so, you can get hold of specially designed bad-taste repellents or sprays that you can apply to specific objects that are frequently becoming chew victims.
It sounds a little mean, but it’s not too much different from a child learning not to touch a hot surface. If it’s unpleasant, then that behaviour will be discouraged in the future. Also, it’s preferable to buying new shoes since your last pair is in pieces.
Plenty of Exercise
As you should know, exercise is vital for dogs to keep them happy and healthy. If you give your dog plenty of exercise then they’re not likely to bother destroying things.
Since exercise releases endorphins in dogs, same as it does for humans, it will keep them calm and it’s these same endorphins that are released when they chew on things.
If your pooch isn’t getting enough exercise, then they’ll likely be seeking things out to chew so they can release those endorphins they would otherwise do so when exercising.
Sometimes, your dog ripping things up can be a sign of seperation anxiety. This basically means they’re unhappy to be separated from you, even if you’re only going out for a short amount of time.
If you’re getting a lot of destroyed items, but only when you leave your dog on their own for a bit, then it is worth contacting your vet about separation anxiety.
Don’t be cruel!
You’d think that dog owner’s would be gentle with their pets, but there are still some that go about this the completely wrong way.
Some out-dated advice can go along the lines of taping your dog’s mouth together, or physically hitting your dog when caught with something they’re not allowed.
There is absolutely no excuse for this cruel type of behaviour, and it will most certainly just make matters worse – so don’t EVER do it!
If you have any advice you’d like to add to this, please leave us a comment below. Have you had a destructive pet you’ve dealt with? We’d love to hear your stories and experiences.