It is important to deter unwanted chewing for a few reasons, not just because we want to preserve the life of our favourite pair of shoes. It is also important that a dog chew only items that it can safely digest if it happens to ingest some. This doesn’t include things like our clothes, shoes, and gadgets. Never mind what a costly habit unwanted chewing can become, it is really about the safety of our dogs.
A dog that chews on items it is not suppose to likely does this for one of three reasons. Either your puppy is teething and so is in chew overdrive or it doesn’t know it shouldn’t chew on the item. If it is neither of those situations then your pup is likely chewing out of boredom. All fixable situations where you can easily deter unwanted chewing.
Why Do Dogs Chew
There are 3 main reasons: Teething, not knowing it cannot chew something, and boredom. Puppy teething occurs between the ages of 3-8 months. You may notice a few teeth missing which is your indication your pup is likely teething. When this happens anything and everything becomes a chew toy, like with human kids. You should provide chews and monitor them a bit more during this stage. They will get over it, even though a dogs natural desire to chew will never go away completely.
If your dog is new to the household or has got a hold of something new, it is likely they just do not know that the item is off limits. Puppies especially need to be taught that every item is not a chew toy. All it requires is a simple, but stern, “no” to correct your pup when it chews something it shouldn’t. Then you should replace the item with something they can have.
Dogs also naturally like to chew when they are bored, and so providing appropriate chews is necessary. It is always good to have an appropriate chew around, like a rib bone, to give as a replacement. This is helpful when you catch your pup chewing something they shouldn’t, like a shoe. In that case you’ll want to ask them to submit the shoe to you. Then you’ll take it away and replace the item with the rib bone. This will teach your dog that chewing their bone is ok, not your shoes.
Curing Boredom Cures Unwanted Chewing
When a dog chews out of boredom and you know it, then you can alleviate the problem by alleviating their boredom. To do so means leaving more chews they are allowed to enjoy. It can also mean draining some of their energy before being left alone when they might be more likely to chew. Even just short walks can be good enough for some dogs to alleviate boredom.
You might also want to consider purchasing dog puzzles, or items that entertain your pup, like an ifetch machine (ball launcher). You can also send them to doggy daycare one or two times a week or hire a dog walker to take them out for a change in scenery to avoid boredom.
You can buy special sprays from the store to help deter any unwanted chewing of items like shoes and furniture. In order for the product to be most effective it is important to create the negative association with the taste to begin with, however.
How To Use Spray Deterrents
Put some of the product on a cotton ball and put it in your dog’s mouth. They will spit it out, but not before getting the bitter taste. Don’t allow them to drink water for a little bit (no more than 10 minutes is needed) so they don’t learn they can wash the taste away right away.
This technique doesn’t harm your dog, and it creates the negative association your looking for. When they smell it on your furniture or shoes or whatever your trying to protect they will think twice.