Common Dog Behavior Problems – The Positive Solutions
Why Dogs Do This: Puppies often chew because their adult teeth are coming in, and chewing relieves their discomfort. They may chew to explore their surroundings, just as a human baby will put an object in his mouth to find out more about it. In all dogs, chewing satisfies instinctive survival-based needs – wolves used to gnaw their way through tough prey animal hides and even through bone to get at tasty portions of their dinners, and dogs have this behavior coded into their DNA as well.
How to Fix It: Chewing becomes a problem when your dog chooses valuable belongings as her chew toys! Instead, limit her access to all of your valuables when she’s unsupervised. A good way to do this is by using a dog crate. (More on crate training) Provide your dog with one or two high-quality chew toys like Kongs, rawhides, marrow bones, synthetic bones like Nylabones.
What Your Dog Can Do Instead: Chew on appropriate substitutes for your valuables, like durable synthetic bones and other chew toys. If your dog likes to “dissect” objects like pillows and fling the stuffing everywhere, that’s normal too! Just eliminate her unsupervised access to stuffed valuables, and offer her appropriate stuffed toys that she can dissect without inconveniencing you.
DON’T punish the dog for chewing or dissecting your valuables – he won’t understand the connection between your negative emotions and the toys, he’ll only understand that being around you while those objects are around is upsetting, which damages your bond with him.