ANIMALS BITE ME...a lot.
No More Chewing: Dog-Training Tips for Chompers
Does your pooch chew just about anything he can get his teeth on? Save your shoes with these dog-training tips.
By Wyatt Myers
Medically Reviewed byJennifer Garcia, DVM
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When it comes to dog obedience problems, many pet owners will put having a dog that chews everything in sight at the top of their list.
But there’s a very good reason for this problem: Despite our best wishes, chewing is simply a natural thing for dogs to do. “The fact is, most dogs will chew,” says Madeline Friedman, MA, owner of Innovative Reality Dog Training & Behavior Consulting in the New York City area. “This is a normal behavior for dogs.”
Get Your Dog to Chew on This Instead
How you can get your dog to stop gnawing on everything in your home? Don’t try to make him stop chewing altogether, advises Friedman. That could lead to disaster and failure. Instead, she recommends having available toys and other items that are safe for dogs that chew. This strategy allows you to redirect your dog away from the inappropriate items such as your clothes, shoes, pillows, and furniture, and toward the appropriate items such as chew toys.
“The trick is to supply your dog with appropriate chew items so she becomes used to those before she becomes used to your furniture,” says Friedman. “If your dog chews on items other than her toys, redirect her gently to her appropriate chew toys.”
When it comes to the right chew toys, Friedman says that different dogs will prefer different things. “Kongs stuffed with yummy foods and frozen are a good choice,” she says. “You can stuff them with unsweetened applesauce, plain yogurt, your dog’s kibble or wet food, peanut butter, cooked sweet potato, fresh mashed blueberries, and other goodies. There are also a lot of dog ‘puzzle’ toys on the market, such as Canine Genius. Experiment to see what your dog likes.”
In the summer, Friedman says that you can soak a rope toy in cold water or place it in the freezer overnight to give your dog a refreshing chew treat outdoors. Another suggestion that Friedman makes for better dog obedience is to switch out your dog’s toy every few days for a new one. This will prevent him from getting bored and returning to your furniture or shoes.
Also, supervise your dog as much as you can while dog training so that you are able to redirect his chewing if it strays back to inappropriate items. Always remember to gently guide your dog away from your possession and back to his, says Friedman.
Be Cautious About Chew Toys
While your dog may like any variety of chew toys, Friedman does have a word of warning about rawhide toys. “I have seen dogs choke on them,” she says. “They become wet and slippery and can easily slide down a dog’s throat, become lodged, and block his airway. They’re just not worth it in my view.”
Also, be careful of a dog that barks, growls, or tries to bite your hand when you try to take away an inappropriate item that he is chewing. “This is known as resource guarding, and really it requires the assistance of a training and behavior expert,” says Friedman. “You shouldn’t punish your dog, as this could actually make the problem worse.”
A dog that chews is a healthy dog. The trick is to show him what is permissible to chew early on and reinforce it frequently. If you stay vigilant and persistent in these practices, you’ll both be happy.
Video: Stop Puppy Chewing. How to stop your puppy chewing everything!
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