Those, who ever had a pet dog, must remember how many times you returned home and found out about the unexpected damage inflicted on your belongings by your dear doggie. Puppies start chewing on anything within their reach. I still feel bad about the new pair of jeans that my pet dog had chewed on! Be it table cloth, bed sheet, arm of the sofa, your shoes, clothes or even legs of a table, they will start chewing on anything and everything that is chewable. This phenomenon is known as dog teething and is a fairly common problem. They can chew on anything and at times they put their safety at risk.
Many dog owners will tell you about how many things their pets have damaged but it stopped doing that, once it came of age. It has been noticed that puppies tend to do it, whereas when a dog grows up, they do not have this habit anymore.Today, we will talk about how to stop a dog from chewing?At first let us understand as to why do dogs chew on anything?
We all know about a dog’s ability to smell and hear is many times stronger than human beings. A dog can smell anything from miles away, which we cannot and can hear sounds of different vibrations which is beyond our ability. However, in puppy hood, they have a unique way of exploring the world. They start having new teeth after three weeks of age, and they have a natural tendency of chewing on anything they can find around them. Dogs have twenty-eight milk teeth. These consist of twelve molars, twelve incisors, and four canines. The canines are the ones to grow fast, and these are used to tear flesh.
After that, you will see the incisors growing and finally they will have the molars. According to dog specialists, puppies feel a tingling sensation in their teeth and cannot help but start chewing on something. Naturally, puppies opt for something that is hard and can be chewed on or munched on for a long time. It may include the wooden legs of the dining table, your favorite shoe or your toothbrush. Just as, we as toddlers were used to holding anything we could see, in the same way, they tend to use their jaws and teeth to have a feel of everything within their reach. However, as they grow up, they have the new set of teeth which are a total of forty-two teeth. In most of the cases, they outgrow this habit as they grow up.
A dog develops a strong attachment to the place where it lives and grows up. If the dog has to leave the place, it starts showing strong reactions. At the same time, dogs are very attached to their owners. In case the owner and other people with whom the dog is familiar with are absent even for a short span of time the dog tends to things that it will not do normally. It might include barking at the top of its voice without any reason and even chewing on any objects around them. Some dogs have the tendency of chewing and tearing clothes made of fabric or nylon. It might include your shoes, socks, bed sheet, nylon ropes and what not. In such scenarios, if you want to take away the object it has set its eyes on, it reacts violently. This is known as separation anxiety, and every dog faces this, some or other time in their lifespan.
Just as human beings, dogs, can also fall prey to boredom and even depression. You need to understand that not every dog has the same level of energy. So, if your dog has excess energy, it has to be directed in some direction. Sometimes the dog might exert it by barking at any passerby or by trying to attract your attention by slightly biting your toes. At times, it goes back to its tender age and starts to chew on anything around it. After coming home from the office, you see that your dog has torn the cushions apart, and the whole room is full of cotton. It is only natural to punish your pet for doing that, but if the dog could speak, it would have told you, “I am bored as I have nothing to do, and that’s why I did it!”
We all know that our behavior and mentality is largely determined and controlled by our genes. The same holds good, in case of dogs as well. Some dogs are ferocious and offensive by nature while some tend to be meek. In the same way, some dogs tend to chew on non-food stuffs compulsively. Many develop a taste for fabric or for things made of leather. Once they get habituated in doing it, it becomes part of their characteristics.
One of the most common eating disorder that many dogs experience is known as PICA. It happens due to nutritional deficiency, and psychological issues could also be the causative factor. It is a medical condition in which dogs tend to chew on non-food items. This leads to damage of many of your belongings, which gets chewed on by dogs. In case your dog is experiencing some kind of digestive disorder, it might start doing the same. In such scenarios, they eat grass and soil. Eating leaves of plants, grass or soil induces vomiting and sometimes dogs intentionally do that, in order to get relief from indigestion or any kind of stomach related problem.
During mating season, dogs are known to behave abnormally in case they do not get a partner. Sudden drastic changes in behavior could be noticed, even in dogs that are of the mild nature. At times, it includes chewing on and damaging anything within their reach. This should not be confused with puppy teething. Any dog owner should be aware of it and make sure that their pet mates at the right time.
You have to set fixed time for your dog to eat. You have to be careful about how much you should let your dog eat as well. If your dog is not fed properly, it is only natural that it would start chewing on anything it can find. Hence, please make sure that your dog is fed properly.
How to stop dogs from chewing?
Now let us have a look at what can be done to stop dogs from chewing.
Whenever your dog starts teething, the easiest and most common option is to give him a toy, which it could chew on. Make sure that the toy does not resemble any household item which it has already damaged. These days you have many kinds of dog toys available. The most common being the bone toy. Other than that you have roped toys, cotton bone toys, knotty teddy bear, dumbbell dog, cotton cannon ball and many more. The idea is that, your dog will get busy with the toy given to it, and will not even consider chewing on any of your possessions. It works out well for some. However there is no hundred percent guarantee, that it will make your dog stop teething forever.
Socialize and Assert Your Dominance
We have been domesticating dogs, since the dawn of civilization. However, dogs are pack animals and have the habit of following a pack leader. You have to take initiative to assert your dominance from the very beginning. Do not let it get away with doing anything that it is not supposed to do. Whenever you find it chewing on any non-food stuff, take it away from it. Set clear boundaries and correct it whenever your dog breaches its boundaries. This is something, which has to be inculcated from the very beginning.
You should always provide your dog with plenty of physical exercises. Take it out for a walk and make it run. You can also try out different games with it, such as playing with flying disk, playing with a ball, etc. It helps you build rapport with your dog and understand its nature. Many have linked dog teething with psychological reasons. Playing with your dog keeps it in a good mood and reduces its tendency to teeth.
Another very effective way to stop teething is sprays. You can spray Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray to prevent the dog from chewing on anything. This spray has some chemicals which are not harmful to your dog, but it tastes unpleasant. Thus, your dog will not chew anything on which it has been sprayed. You can spray it on the bed sheet, shoes, legs of the table or on anything that you think your dog might start chewing on.
Whenever you find your dog chewing on something, take that away from it and say “NO.” Dogs do not have the ability to understand any language like we do. However, they can relate to certain words, which are repeated to them many a times. You forbidding your dog from doing something will train it to abstain from such acts. According to the experts in the field of animal psychology, dogs do not have short term memory, so you have to keep repeating the act to make the dog habituated in doing something. It is the same in this scenario as well, once the idea of not chewing any non-food stuff has been inculcated in the dog’s mind, it will restrain from doing it.
Make Physical Reprimand
At times, you have to resort to physical reprimand, in order to make your dog get rid of this habit. However, you have to be very careful while doing it. Cruelty towards animals can lead you to legal complications, hence never be violent to your pets! You can hit the dog slightly with your hands or with a roll of newspapers. You can use a safe spray at its face, every time you find it chewing on any non-food stuff. At the same time, do not forget to reward it when you find it following your instruction.
Contact an Expert
Even after trying out everything you can within your ability, if things do not work out, it is always advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced dog trainer. Each and every person is different. Not everybody reacts the same way, under same circumstances. The same is true, when it comes to dogs. Some dogs would need expert care, which can be rendered only by an expert.