How to Stop a Dog From Chewing
It is not uncommon for dog owners to come home from work at one time or another to find their favorite pair of shoes or a pillow in shreds on the kitchen floor! Many dogs, especially puppies, develop chewing behaviours that can not only be very destructive but also very difficult to fix. If your dog has a problem with chewing, do not worry - there are a few simple things you can do to discourage this behaviour and to prevent it from happening in the future.
Ways to Discourage Chewing
Before you bring home a puppy it is wise to "puppy-proof" your home, just as you would with a new baby. Put breakable items out of reach and keep things off the floor that you do not want your puppy to chew on.
In spite of these precautions, however, your dog is likely to still find things to chew on. If he does, try using an anti-chew spray to discourage this behaviour. Anti-chew sprays are non-toxic sprays made with an unpleasant flavour like bitter apple designed to discourage dogs from chewing on whatever item the spray has been applied to.
While you are teaching your dog not to chew it is important to keep a close eye on him - when you see him start chewing on something, say "No" in a firm voice to teach him that this behaviour is unwanted. Never hit or yell at your dog because not only are these punishments cruel, but your dog is unlikely to associate them with the behaviour for which you are disciplining him.
A more effective way to prevent chewing is to keep your dog busy with plenty of play time. Dogs often chew when they get bored or lonely, so giving your dog plenty of attention may be all you need to stop his chewing behaviour.
Behaviour Correction Methods
Some of the most successful dog training methods hinge on reinforcing good behaviors rather than punishing the dog for unwanted behaviours. If you reward your dog and show your approval for his good behaviour he will be much more likely to repeat that behaviour in the future, seeking your approval.
By punishing your dog for bad behaviours, you may only be teaching him to fear you - unless he learns to associate your response with a particular behaviour he may never be broken of his bad habits. If your dog has a serious chewing problem, or if you do not feel confident in your own ability to correct his behaviour, consider enrolling him in obedience classes. Obedience training is beneficial for both dogs and dog owners and it can help you understand how to communicate with your dog in teaching him which behaviours are wanted and unwanted.
If you want to try to correct your dog's chewing behaviour on your own there are a few simple methods you can try. Rather than discouraging your dog from chewing altogether you might try providing him with bones and toys of his own to chew on. When you find your dog chewing on something you don't want him to have, take the item away and say "No" in a firm voice.
Immediately after taking the item away, give your dog one of his toys and praise him when he begins to chew on it instead. Be consistent in utilizing this training method - if you always respond in the same way, your dog will be more likely to associate your approval with chewing on the items you give him.
Regardless which method you choose to stop and prevent chewing, it is important to stay positive and to be consistent. By using positive reinforcement to teach your dog to differentiate between wanted and unwanted behaviours you will have a much more agreeable relationship with your pet and you will save a lot of money on buying replacement shoes.