How To Stop A Dog From Chewing

Need to know how to stop a dog from chewing? Having a dog that chews can be a real source of frustration for the owner and others involved.  It can be helpful to assess whether the dog is chewing because it is anxious, as in cases of separation anxiety, or if it is simply chewing because it likes to chew.  Separation anxiety can be the suspected trigger of the chewing behaviors if the dog primarily chews things when the owner is getting ready to leave the home, while the owner is gone, and also at times when the dog suspects the owner is leaving.  This is something to talk with your vet about before losing your temper or control of the situation.

The following can help you stop your dog from chewing:

  1. Chew-proof the house.  As simple as this may seem, it is not unlike having a toddler running around your home.  Go room to room at your dog's level and see if there is anything sticking out that he or she can reach that might be a potentially appealing chew "toy."  Books, shoes, clothing, leather belts, paper towels, toilet paper, tissue boxes, DVDs, remote controls, and anything your dog might be able to walk away with or chew on the spot.  
  2. Make a habit of leaving nothing except dog toys within the dog's reach.  This will greatly eliminate surprises and prevent you from growing angry with the dog.
  3. For things the dog chews that cannot be removed, such as blinds on sliding doors, or even door frames, purchase a bad tasting, chew-stopping spray at your local vet or pet supply store.  These are usually rubbing alcohol based and will taste quite bad.  Spray the area that the dog chews, and remember to spray every couple of days or so to ensure the bad taste is there.  
  4. If you catch the dog chewing on things while you're home, having a plain spray bottle filled with water can be a valuable tool.  Turn the spray so it's a light stream, not enough to hurt if you catch their eye by accident, and as you catch the dog say "No!" in a deep but loud voice, and quickly squirt near the mouth or snout with the water.  Using a deep but loud voice, rather than shouting which can be high-pitched, tells your dog you mean business.  Then take the thing away and provide something he can chew on, one of his toys perhaps.  As he starts chewing on it, reward him with a little head petting and a "Good boy!" 
  5. Consistency is going to be key in stopping your dog from chewing.  You need to be consistent in making sure you don't leave tempting items within his or her reach, and you need to be consistent in stopping the chewing when you catch him in the act.
  6. Do not punish your dog if you do not catch him in the act of chewing on something he shouldn't.  This only leads to confusion and he will start to hide his bad behaviors and maybe develop worse ones.  If anxiety is the underlying cause of the chewing, reprimanding at the wrong times can make the anxiety harder to manage later.
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