Ah, the joys of dog ownership! There's nothing quite like coming home to find your furry friend wagging their tail and greeting you with a big, slobbery kiss. However, the joy can quickly fade when you notice that they've chewed up your new pair of shoes, or turned your sofa into a chew toy.
But fear not, fellow dog owners! Chewing is a completely normal behavior for our canine companions. In fact, it's a great way for them to relieve stress, exercise their jaws, and keep their teeth healthy. The key is to redirect their chewing to appropriate items, like toys and bones. As we like to say, "Toys are meant to be destroyed, not shoes."
Once the damage is done, it's too late to save your shoes, so lets get proactive. Here are some fun tips to help stop your dog from chewing on your belongings:
Provide an acceptable alternative
Stock up on chew toys: Treat your dog to a toy shopping spree! The more chew toys they have, the less likely they are to turn to your shoes or furniture for a chew fix.
Try the "bitter apple" trick: Bitter apple spray is a safe and non-toxic way to discourage your dog from chewing on certain items. Simply spray the item, and your dog will quickly learn that it's not a tasty treat.
Catch them in the act
Make training a game: Positive reinforcement training is a great way to stop your dog from chewing. When you catch them chewing on something they shouldn't, interrupt them by asking them to "give". This will train them to release on cue. Be careful not to engage in tug of war. Once your dog releases your valued possession reward them with a chew toy. If they start chewing on the toy, reward them with praise and a treat.
Exercise, Exercise, and More Exercise
A tired dog is a good dog! Make sure your dog gets plenty of physical activity each day. This will not only tire them out, but also improve their overall behavior and reduce stress.
Dog Proof Your Home
Keep temptation out of reach: If there are certain items in your home that your dog simply can't resist, keep them out of reach. This could mean putting them in a closet or behind a baby gate. This is especially important early on when your dog is learning to only chew on their toys. For items you can't keep out of their reach try a bitter spray. This is a safe and non-toxic way to discourage your dog from chewing on certain items. Simply spray the item, and your dog will quickly learn that it's not a tasty treat.
Have a chew-tastic time
Lastly, have fun with your dog! Play with them, cuddle with them, and give them plenty of love and attention. A happy and well-loved dog is less likely to engage in destructive behavior.
By following these tips, you'll be on your way to a chew-free home and a happy, healthy dog. Just remember to be patient, consistent, and most importantly, make it fun!