Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs that can help them to relax while also promoting good dental health. As such, it is important to always have good chew toys around the house for your dog. Still, chewing can also be a serious nuisance for the dog owner because dogs will sometimes chew on anything but chew toys. In cases where dogs engage in destructive chewing, it is necessary to try some behavioral intervention.
First of all, it’s important to understand that excessive or destructive chewing is not healthy for your dog and may even be a symptom of an anxiety disorder. In such cases, curbing the chewing is achieved through helping your dog learn stress management techniques. Most dog owners will want to teach their dogs to comfort themselves when they are alone. When dogs become too attached to their owners, their anxiety can lead to chewing. Spend ample quality time with your dog but also ensure that your dog has time alone, even when you are home and be sure to teach your dog that attention is not always available on demand.
Obviously, you’ll also want to introduce your dog to chew toys so that they have the opportunity to chew when necessary. Puppies will be especially prone to chewing when they are teething but chewing is not a behavior that is limited to young dogs. Many dog owners can eliminate destructive chewing by combining chew toys with anti-chew sprays. When you notice your dog has a preference for chewing a particular household item, apply the anti-chew spray. The next time your dog approaches the item give him a firm instruction like “Stop” and then replace the item with a chew toy. Play with your dog and the chew toy to reinforce his preference for the chew toy. With consistent praise and behavioral intervention, your dog should stop chewing.