Friday, September 24, 2010

Is Your Puppy or Dog Chewing Out of Control?

By Linda Cole

Puppies are so cute, you can't help picking one up and giving it a big hug. But they aren't nearly as cute when you find them chewing their way through your home. Even an older dog is capable of destroying your shoes or that heirloom quilt passed down from your great grandma.

A puppy or dog chewing on your things or furniture isn't doing it to make you mad. They're just doing what's natural for them. Since dogs can't pick things up and see them like we can, they use their mouths to investigate what they find. Sometimes an interesting smell on something causes them to chew. Others chew because they don't know what else to do. A bored dog can dismantle a chair in a single afternoon. I know because I had a really comfy chair that fell prey to a bored dog one day. She completely destroyed my favorite chair.

A puppy or dog chewing on furniture is a serious problem. Not just because they can destroy what they're chewing on, but because it can be dangerous for them if they swallow fabric, small nails, or pieces of the wood. Power cords are extremely dangerous and can cause damage to the dog and your home. Bored dogs have been known to jump through the glass in windows if they see something outside that stimulates them. Any home with a puppy or an adult dog should be dog proofed to avoided unnecessary accidents. Even older dogs can become bored and head for the nearest table leg, couch or laundry basket.

Punishing a dog for chewing up something while you’re gone does no good. He has no idea why he's being punished. If he cowers, it's because he knows you're upset by your tone of voice, the expression on your face and your body language, but he doesn't know it's because of what he did. Just let it go, and find a room that would make a safe area for him to lounge in when you're not home. Responsible pet ownership means providing pets with a place in the home where they can't get into trouble or get hurt.

Puppies chew to make their gums feel better when they're teething. They also use their mouth to learn about things they find while exploring. Adult dogs chew out of boredom, because of separation anxiety, fear, or as a way to get attention. If you have an older dog who has suddenly started chewing, it could means he's developed a behavior problem that you need to deal with or he needs more exercise to help him get rid of excess energy. If it's separation anxiety or fear that causing his chewing, you may need to talk to your vet or an animal behaviorist.

If you have a dog chewing problem, consider a new routine that includes a walk or some playtime before you leave him alone for the day. Leave treat toys filled with CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ to give him something to do while you're away. You can find a wide variety of stimulating toys that can give your little chewer plenty of proper things to chew on that won't get him into hot water. If you allow him to roam freely while you're gone, make sure to keep anything you don't want destroyed picked up and put away. Make sure treat toys are durable enough to hold up to his chewing, and safe with no loose parts that can be swallowed. Anything you give your dog to chew on should be an appropriate size he can easily handle. Chew toys should be avoided when you aren't home to supervise, unless you know your dog won't eat them. For the best chew toys, click here to read Suzanne Alicie's article.

Spending some extra time with a puppy or dog gives them more attention, and even five minutes can make a difference. Take ten minutes to work on basic commands or reinforce what he's already learned. Get up a little earlier so you can take him on a walk. It's a good way to wake up and work off some of your dog's energy. We are the ones who have control over how our dogs behave. Puppy and dog chewing can be controlled. If you can teach your dog to sit, you can teach him to leave your things alone. After all, it's your house, not his.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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