Chewing is a normal dog behavior. However, it doesn’t have to be a destructive behavior. Redirecting your dog’s chewing onto appropriate items prevents your most prized possessions from suffering the wrath of your chewing pup. 

Puppies especially have an urge to chew. As responsible pet owners, it’s our job to provide them with chew-tastic toys to satisfy that urge. Nylabones, Kong toys, and rope toys are great toys that can withstand your chewing pup. To relieve discomfort in teething puppies, a frozen Kong stuffed with peanut butter usually does the trick.

Praise your pup when you see her chewing on an acceptable chew toy. When training, it is important to reward any and all forms of positive behavior as much as possible. 

When your dog is chewing on an unacceptable object, just replace it with an acceptable chew toy. Rather than punishing your dog for unacceptable behavior, teach her what is acceptable. 

When you are unable to watch your dog, make sure she is crated with a couple of toys to chew on. This will prevent your dog from having any chance to misbehave. When training a pup, we must give her the best chance we can at being successful. 

Make sure to pick up after yourself. All dogs like to chew on things that smell like their owner. Pieces of clothing, shoes, baseball caps, etc. are all among a dog’s go-to chews.

Use a taste deterrent on items that can’t be removed. Bitter Apple spray, mouthwash, and other strong, harsh tastes can be applied to furniture or area rugs to prevent your dog chewing those items. Again, be sure that toys are handy so that your dog can easily move to the correct thing.

Exercise your dog. Pent up energy is many times a contributing factor to excessive chewing.  Taking your dog on a walk or a run at least once a day can help relieve her urge to chew. Make sure your dog is getting at least 30 minutes of physical exercise a day. If a walk just isn’t enough, try playing fetch, biking, or other activities that expend a lot of energy. For more information, please see our exercise article. 

Provide enrichment. Boredom will cause a dog to seek entertainment and chewing fits the bill. Food puzzles can provide a suitable outlet for mouthing behaviors and other activities reduce frustration and ennui. See our article Canine Enrichment for more details.

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email behavior@anticruelty.org.

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