If you have a new puppy, it’s not uncommon to come home and find your favorite pair of shoes chewed up, or gnaw marks on the furniture. Our puppies are curious and use their mouths to identify new objects. However, if your dog is a bit older and still chewing, there could be a few reasons for this: They weren’t trained as a puppy to know what they can chew, they’re bored, they are scared, they want attention, etc. Although you might not be able to stop the chewing altogether, you can train them to chew appropriate items so they do not destroy your valuables. It is our job as the owner to teach our puppies what the can and can’t chew.
Hide your valuables- The best way to keep something out of your dog’s mouth is to not make it available to them. Keep your clothes, shoes, trash, etc. out of reach for your dog.
Provide alternatives- Rather than having your dog chew up your belongings, give them toys that are clearly distinguishable from your household items. Don’t give them something such as an old sock to chew, and expect them to not mistake it for other newer clothing items that you will be upset if he gets his paws on.
Supervise your dog- You wouldn’t leave your baby unattended, and it should be the same for your dog. If you’re home, keep them in sight so they won’t be getting into mischief somewhere else. If you have to leave them alone, choose a confined spot that is dog proof with safe chew toys and water. You may also opt to keep them in a crate for short periods of time.
Exercise- It is important to also make sure your dog is getting sufficient exercise so they aren’t restless and taking out their energy in ways you will not like. Taking them on walks and letting them play in the yard will tire them out and help avoid them causing issues in the house.
Make items undesirable- You can coat your items, especially furniture, with a taste deterrent that is unappealing to your dog so they will not gnaw at it
Don’t Chase- If your dog does get ahold of one of your favorite items, never chase them around. That is giving them what they want, as it’s fun for them. Rather, call them to you to get the item out of their mouth. You can also offer a treat in exchange for the item that’s in their mouth.
Punish in a timely manner- If you find an item after it has been chewed, it’s too late to scold them. They cannot associate your yelling or punishment with something that happened an hour ago. They will simply be confused and the punishment can actually provoke other undesired behaviors. If you’re going to scold, make sure it is immediately following the behavior so the dog understands exactly what they did wrong.