According to an IOL article, there are 9.1 million dogs in South Africa compared to 2.4 million cats effectively making it a dog country. Many dogs are avid chewers as it is one of their inbuilt traits. The ASPCA notes that dogs use this instinct to explore objects, alleviate teething discomfort, relieve anxiety and frustration, and to keep themselves amused. When your pet directs the chewing towards inappropriate items such as furniture, you need to take some steps. Below is a guide to eliminating destructive chewing in dogs.
Find a Suitable Chew Toy
It can be frustrating when you find out that your dog has gnawed on your table, chair, cabinet or door. According to an expert analysis about dogs chewing on furniture, the smartest thing to do is give them something else to chew and make sure that they know it belongs to them. Finding a chew toy is one of the best options to curb this behaviour. Chewies ensure your dogs stay happy and occupied when you are not around thus staying away from your woodwork. Hill’s Pet Nutrition recommends that you choose a chew toy depending on the intensity of the chewing habit, the age of the dog, and appeal, durability and size of the toy. The toy you pick should keep the dog’s mind engaged, strengthen its jaws, clean the teeth and be safe to the pet.
Give the Dog Plenty of Exercise
Physical and mental exercise is vital for every dog. It not only boosts the dog’s health, but it also helps suppress undesired characteristics such as chewing. When a dog doesn’t get regular play or quality interaction, it gets bored and develops unpleasant traits. You can engage your dog in games such as tug and fetch, take it out for a jog every morning or a walk in the nearby park. This helps the pet to spend up energy that may otherwise be diverted to harmful behaviour. For better results, alternate the exercise program and be creative to make it more interesting for the dog.
Dog Proof the House
Just like children, some items and devices need to be kept away from dogs. This helps reduce the risk of injury to the dog and damage to your precious belongings. Start by putting away valuable and easily targeted items away from the dog. Cover electric cords, and remove objects that may stir up curiosity in the dog. According to Petfinder, things like shoes, dirty laundry, and baby toys should always be stored away from the dog’s reach. This will stop the dog from being obsessed with these items thus preventing the occurrence of undesirable habits of chewing on them.
Evaluate the Diet
If a dog’s diet is lacking enough nutrients, it may turn to destructive chewing to try and compensate what is lacking in the food. To curb this, ensure your pet is getting high-quality food. If the dog chews on objects that smell like food such as bowls, it may be an indication of hunger. Try and adjust the diet to make it more satisfying and balanced. With time, your dog’s behaviour will change for the better.
Supervise and Discourage Chewing
When at home, always keep a close eye on the dog. Whenever you notice the dog trying to chew an inappropriate item, scold him. When chewing on its toy, give praise and a treat. This will allow the dog to know what is acceptable and grow up with the right manners. If your dog doesn’t stop chewing on some items, consider using a deterrent. Spray it on your furniture legs and other places that your dog likes to target. These products contain an unpleasant smell and taste which puts off the dog; thus eventually helping to break the pattern.
Stopping your dog from chewing should always be done gently and in a pet-friendly way. This guarantees that the dog learns fast and prevents it from repeating the trait in future. Make sure you provide your dog with a comfortable environment free of stress, anxiety, and frustration. By keeping your pets positively occupied, you are assured of a shred-free home.