How to stop your dog from being a super chewer!
The first few months of owning a gorgeous, fluffy puppy are full of excitement – not to mention, hard work! This is crucial bonding time between you and your pooch, as they get used to you, your family and your home. Before long, they’ll be walking around like they own the place!
One of the first things you need to think about is getting your canine covered with insurance. Go Get It can compare dog insurance from leading providers on your behalf, finding you a policy that best reflects your needs, for a price that’s right.
With so many insurance products out there, it’s important to compare dog insurance policies to make sure you’re getting the best deal. In the event of accident or illness, dog insurance can help to cover the cost of vet bills, leaving you to focus on nursing your canine back to full health.
The ‘troublesome teens’ don’t just relate to humans – dogs go through this stage, too. When a hound becomes a teenager (at around six months), many owners find themselves dealing with a brand new problem: chewing.
Adolescent chewing, or ‘exploratory chewing,’ usually occurs in dogs between puppyhood and adulthood, at around seven to 12 months old, explains Blue Cross. Teenage dogs usually have an uncontrollable urge to gnaw on everything in sight, which may be because of the discomfort they’re feeling as their adult teeth settle into their jawbone. Note that this is different to puppy teething, as it happens once the puppy teeth have fallen out.
This ‘chewing phase’ can last for up to six months – that’s a lot of time to lose household items to your canine’s gnashers! To help, we’ve put together five top tips that will help to prevent your pup from destructive chewing.
Understand why dogs chew
Teen dogs also like to chew things as a way of exploring their environment and discovering new things. Blue Cross outlines some of the main reasons why dogs chew:
- Dogs left alone for long periods of time can grow irritable and bored, as they’re not being mentally or physically stimulated, and this can result in destructive behaviour.
- Attention seeking. If your pup realises that chewing a slipper results in you giving them attention (as you chase them around trying to get it back), they’re more likely to do it again!
- Unbalanced diet. For instance, your pup may try to gnaw on stones or plaster if they’re not getting enough calcium. Speak to your vet about the best diet for your dog, which will be based on things like their breed, age and weight.
- Some dogs find it really stressful when their owners leave them, and can display destructive behaviour as a result.
Clear away important items
It sounds obvious, but make sure you remove temptation by clearing away as many important items as possible. Don’t forget to store away kids’ toys and shoes in particular, as they can prove irresistible to your pup, and make sure that electrical cables are covered or lifted from the ground to keep them safe.
As Cesar’s Way explains, you should block access to rooms that haven’t been dog-proofed and/or contain lots of valuable items. Also think about training your dog in a crate for those times when they can’t be supervised.
Buy some dog chews
Contrary to popular belief, chews are not the same as toys! As Blue Cross notes, toys are typically thrown, chased, squeaked and tugged during playtime. The majority of toys aren’t designed to be chewed (with the exception of things like kongs and activity balls).
Chews include things like chew sticks, dental rawhide, large and medium kongs, activity balls and pressed hide. You should give them to your pup when they settle down for a ‘quiet time,’ either with or without you.
Toys (especially soft toys) should be picked up once your dog has finished with them, and stored out of reach. This will give the toys a longer life and will help to prevent a trip to the vet because of a blockage caused by toy fragments.
Kongs are sturdy, however, and should be safe to leave down for your pup to play with it whenever they wish. Opt for a medium or large kong and occasionally stuff with cheese spread or biscuits for a little treat. This will encourage your dog to lick and chew on the kong for a long time, rather than chowing down on something they shouldn’t be chowing down on!
Regularly exercise your dog
It really goes without saying, but your growing pooch needs plenty of exercise – exactly how much will, of course, depend on its breed and stage of life.
In the same way we’d feel irritable if we didn’t get out and about enough, your dog is more likely to cause mischief if they spend too much time cooped up indoors. You need to exercise them on a regular basis, and not just in your garden. Mixing up their environments (for instance by walking them in parks, woodland, fields and beaches) will help to keep them stimulated – and wear them out! And a worn out, stimulated woof is far less likely to nibble on your new sofa!
Just bear in mind that pups need their full course of vaccinations before they can be taken out in public.
Teach them to chew the right things
It’s far better to teach your dog the right behaviour, than punish them for the wrong behaviour. So, with this in mind, always reward your pooch when they chew the right things. Each day, lay down one or two chews and, when your dog starts to nibble on one, praise them gently.
Don’t shout at your dog for chewing the wrong things. Instead, if you spot that your pooch is about to nibble on something they shouldn’t, calmly direct their attention to a chew toy, and make a big fuss when they start to gnaw on it. This will inspire your pup to only pick the items you want to be chewed.
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