It’s no secret that dogs chew things. Chewing becomes a problem when the items being chewed are important to us. Young dogs will chew anything that feels good. It could be your new pair of shoes, your purse, your wallet, a piece of wooden furniture or even the carpet. Here are 3 ways to help stop chewing. 1. Prevention It may seem obvious to put things away that you don’t want chewed, but sometimes we forget and sometimes we don’t manage enough. If you’ve got your house “puppy proofed” as much as possible but your dog still finds things to chew, it may be time to look into baby gates or an exercise pen. Gates and X-pens are a great way to prevent access to parts of your home. If your dog is chewing things at every waking moment, the X-Pen is your best bet. If your dog gets into things occasionally, like when left home alone, you may be fine with a gate. Whatever you choose, know that prevention is a must. Without it, your dog will likely still chew your things. 2. Exercise Exercise alone may not solve your chewing problems, but it can be extremely helpful. Long walks can work out well, especially if they involve lots of sniffing. If you can provide an outlet for your dog to run, it’ll go a long way. Some examples include: - Fetch - Dog park - Roller blading or biking - Hiking - Off leash play sessions with other dogs At least once per day we should try to give our dogs an outlet for their exercise needs. Again, doing so isn’t going to solve chewing issues, but it’s going to help. 3. Enrichment Now that we’ve talked about prevention and exercise, it’s time to talk about enrichment. The overall idea is to make sure we’re giving our dogs things to do that help occupy their brains. For chewing, it’s a great idea to give plenty of “legal” chew outlets. There are lots of safe options out there. Some examples are bully sticks and Himalayan chews. It’s a good idea to have multiple chew items and to rotate them so that your dog doesn’t get bored. A
side from appropriate chew outlets, here are some other examples of enrichment: - Interactive food toys (Feed all meals from these toys.) - Snuffle mat - Stuffed Kongs - Training (tricks or anything else that is reward based.) When you put all three of these things together you’re going to see a huge decrease in your dogs unwanted chewing. Start with prevention and get your house puppy proofed. Next, make sure your dog’s physical needs are getting met daily. And lastly, provide as much enrichment as you can.