Many people ask us how to stop their dog from chewing up their favorite “human” items, and, of course, the right answer will depend upon many different factors.
For instance, a young puppy has different reasons to chew up the TV remote than a full-grown dog because puppies need to chew to help their adult teeth come through and when they are teething, the act of chewing on something help to alleviate the pain associated with pushing adult teeth through the gums. In this case, you just need to be vigilant and always have something nearby that you can substitute for any article that is in the “no chew” category since they are not chewing up your favorite slippers because they are being “bad”.
Another reason why a dog might decide to treat the leg of your $5,000 imported coffee table like their favorite bone could be because they have not been taught any rules and boundaries, they are left at home alone too much, they are young, energetic, under-exercised and bored, and that coffee table leg is just the perfect height for a satisfying good chew. They are NOT being “bad” so don’t freak out at them when you come home to a re-designed piece of furniture or other precious human item that is looking decidedly chewed. They are trying to “tell” you in the only way they know how, that they are unhappy and dissatisfied with their current situation.
Also, sometimes dogs that begin to feel the aches and pains of old age start to become more anxious and unhappy when they’re left to their own devices while their humans are away at work all day. A dog doesn’t understand why they feel miserable, they can’t tell you they hurt, and they don’t know what to do to make themselves feel better, so will take to chewing up their beds or a nearby carpet or some other items they may never have showed any interest in before, simply because the act of chewing helps to relieve their stress and takes their mind off of that painful back, or joint, or teeth.
Remember, that your dog’s entire life, they love and trust you and feel comforted when you’re with them. They are NOT being bad by chewing items when you are not with them ~ in most cases, they’re trying to tell you that they’re unhappy being left alone.
If your dog is getting older, and you suspect they may have joint problems and arthritis, or other health issues that could be causing aches and pains, make sure that they get a checkup at least once a year, so that you can do all possible to make them comfortable.
Also please understand that, no matter what your dog’s age, if they’re chewing up the place, there will be a reason for this unwanted behavior, and it’s NEVER because they’re just being a “bad” dog.
“There are NO bad dogs ~ only misunderstood ones.”
"See this week's Ask the Dog Whisperer Post (Moose is Anxious!) for more information on this topic”
~ Asia Moore
Author & Dog Whisperer
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