3 Simple Tips To Stop Destructive Chewing for Good
Hi there. I'm Jess Rollins. I'm the founder of Petexpertise.com, as well as a professional reward based dog trainer for the last ten years.
And I wanted to talk to you guys today about destructive chewing, which is a frustrating behavior for us humans to deal with because it means destruction of our furniture, remote control, rolls, eyeglasses retainers, socks, underwear, kids toys.
I think you can probably name a few more things. And it happens because dogs naturally need to chew or they enjoy chewing, and especially puppies because they're teething and because they have a lot of energy.
And so this behavior I usually see in puppies and dogs, maybe up to three, and usually they grow out of it. But it's very important to take some steps to make sure that happens. And this behavior can be dangerous depending on whether your dog is swallowing the items.
So if your dog is swallowing items like socks, underwear, anything significant that could cause a blockage, you really want to get on your prevention and management, as well as rewarding proper chewing, which I'm going to go over. And so the first step is to use prevention and management.
This is stuff like putting items behind closed doors, using gates, using things like exercise pens, tethers crates. So make a plan with your family about how can we keep our dog away from these items, and not only for safety, but because in order to stop the behavior, we first have to stop the behavior and get a new behavior going, chewing items that we want the dog to chew.
So we get our prevention going, and then what we're going to do is put in a variety of toys around that we want the dog to chew on. And I want you to rotate these. So don't just have 20 toys sitting in a basket.
Put those 20 toys up and instead take three or four down every day. Try to keep an assortment. I even love to have a buddy, a neighbor dog or something. And we exchange toys because the smell on them, the added interest, really helps, and it helps save you money on buying a million toys, right?
So toys like bully sticks, collagen chews, antler chews, Kong toys, puzzle toys, we want some durable toys for this kind of situation, and toys that are either edible or we can put food on or in, those are going to be our best chance of competing against furniture, right?
So I want you to put three or four of these most exciting toys down and then watch your dog hang out, watching TV or something. And every time your dog plays with one of these toys, you're going to get up, go to your dog, give them a treat, play a little bit, and so your dog starts to really get that playing with his or her own toys is wonderful.
In addition, I forgot to mention, in addition to your gates and tethers and things you can use bitter spray. I start with bitter apple. I try that out. If the dog doesn't mind it or even likes it, then I'll try bitter. Yuck. And you want to apply this pretty often?
Sometimes every day, but at least once a week, it does kind of wear off, and some dogs don't mind it. And so you'll find out if it'll work for your dog, and if not, then you'll have to just extra focus on prevention and rewarding appropriate chewing.
So you're preventing you'rewarding appropriate chewing. The other thing you can do is make sure your dog is well exercised on all levels. So he's getting time to run outside, he's getting time to sniff outside. He's getting some training exercises. He's doing some foraging.
So you're like tossing food in the yard for him to search for, or you're putting it in a slow eating bowl. And all these items, making sure he's getting out and about and having exercise and training will help take that energy down a bit for the destructive chewing because his needs are met, so he'll be more likely to relax inside.
Okay, so if your prevention fails and your dog oops has your remote control, what you want to do is grab a treat and exchange. Don't chase your dog, don't grab it out of his mouth. That will cause your dog to learn to run away from you. Maybe you learn to swallow the items.
So trade for a treat, work on your drop it at another time, but then redouble your efforts on your prevention so that you're not because once your dog knows this is a stressful situation, it's a little bit different.
So we want to practice our drop it on items that we're not going. That's my wallet. That's my phone. So again, you're going to just your efforts on your prevention, on your chew addiction training, and work on your drop it aside from that.
So I think that's all I have to say about this. I wish you the best with your training. I hope no more destruction happens, and have a lovely day. Bye.
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