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Early on, puppies learn how to discover things around them by putting it in their mouths. Similar to babies, puppies tend to put stuff in their mouth to know what it is, to figure out what it does, etc. However, unlike babies, when puppies grow older, this can turn into a habit of destructive chewing.
What is destructive chewing? The simple answer to that is chewing on things that shouldn't be chewed. You'll know your dog has a chewing problem when he chews on anything he sinks his teeth into be it your furniture, wires, your clothes or your shoes. If dog is chewing its bed, then that's also a sign of destructive chewing.
Destructive chewing can be bothersome especially since bacteria can easily go inside your pet's body through their mouth. If they gnaw on something that is poisonous, then they can get sick or worse, die. No pet owner wants this so once you notice something that isn't natural in your dog's chewing habits, take action and stop the habit.
Ways on How You Can Prevent Destructive Chewing
1. Remove important things out of your dog's reach - This is simple. If you don't want your dog chewing on your clothes, then keep them in your cabinet and avoid leaving them on the floor. The same goes for your shoes and bags. When it comes to electrical wires and other household items, keep them out of reach by lifting them up. For wires, you can have them covered by plastic or have them lifted up so they aren't on the floor. If you also have fragile items near their reach, it's best to stow them away or put them on a higher shelf that your pooch won't be able to reach. In short, you have to make your house more dog-friendly or dog-proof.
2. Get your dog checked - Not all excess chewing can be called destructive chewing. In some cases, destructive chewing is only a product of an illness developed by your dog. To be sure, go to a vet and have your dog checked. This will allow you to understand why your dog keeps on chewing a lot of things even if they aren't puppies anymore. Also, you can ask for professional help when it comes to correcting their gnawing habits.
3. Teach your dog what to chew and what not to - A big part of stopping your dog's destructive chewing is teaching them what they are allowed to chew and what they shouldn't. To make this easier for you, when you catch them chewing on the wrong things, scold them and put away the item. You can also reward them when they chew on the right things, say, their toys.
4. Give the right toys - Another way to teach your dog what to chew is to give them the right toys. Check on their stuff too because they might not have anything to chew when they are bored. The right toys shouldn't look like your things. This means that you shouldn't give a sock as a toy because they wouldn't be able to differentiate your sock from their toy sock. The same goes for clothes and bags. Don't give a toy that looks like them if you don't want them biting into your things. Moreover, when you pick toys for your dogs, don't buy the ones that can disintegrate. This is because your dog might break it into smaller pieces and might swallow them. When this happens, your dog might have to see a vet and get the item out of their throats or stomachs.
5. Spend time with your dog - One of the reasons why your dog develops destructive chewing is because they are simply bored. To avoid a lot of boring moments, what you can do is spend time with them and try to do physical activities with them. There are many things you can do aside from cuddling them - you can play catch, jog with your dog, let them socialize with other dogs, anything that helps them become more physical. In this way, when they get back to your house, they wouldn't even think of gnawing on something and might just head straight to sleep.
6. Watch your dog as they learn what to chew - Although not everyone has the time to watch their dog all day, this is still an important part of preventing destructive chewing. When your dog is close by, you would be able to check if he's chewing on the right things. If he's not, then you can easily correct them.
These tips are supposed to be enough to help you teach your dog to stop destructive chewing. You have to remember that this kind of habit does not get corrected overnight so you might have to put in extra effort and patience when it comes to training your dog