Puppies chew things. A new puppy, left isolated in a kitchen while the owner is out of the home, will chew chair legs, window sills, molding, and anything else that he can find to alleviate the discomfort caused by his newly emerging teeth. Once the teeth are fully in, this type of chewing usually stops automatically. During the puppy stage, it is a good idea to isolate the dog in a pen or a crate that keeps him away from household items that can be damaged, and protects the dog by keeping him away from electrical cords and other undefined dangers. While isolated, the dog should have access to appropriate chewing toys that will help to ameliorate his teething discomforts and get him used to playing with his own toys.
Some dogs continue to chew after the puppy stage is passed. Others stop chewing at this stage, only to begin again later. Chronic chewing after puppy-hood is usually an indication of boredom. Regardless of the dog’s reason for chewing, however, the habit can run up some serious and preventable repair costs.
If the dog is left to roam the house at will, his furniture chewing habit can often be curtailed by applying a bitter-apply spray or Tabasco sauce to the exposed wooden areas to which the dog has access. Spraying surfaces with ammonia has also been used with some success. The best solution, however, is the same as that suggested for chewers at the puppy stage. Isolate the dog in a safe pen, area, or crate with plenty of toys.
Be careful when selecting toys for your dog to ensure that bones or chew toys cannot splinter or provide small attachments that can become lodged in the dog’s throat. Dogs have choked to death from having the wrong toys.
It’s very difficult to catch the bored chewer in the act. When you are around, the dog is probably not bored, having you to give him attention. If you do catch him chewing, give him a sharp “no” command. Praise him openly when he stops chewing, and give him one of his chew toys to continue chewing on. If you notice a chewed area when you return from work, suppress the urge to scold the dog or punish him in any way. The dog will not understand that he is being punished for an act that took place hours ago.
What appears to many to be another solution to chewing inside the house, is banishing the dog to the back yard when you are away from home. This may not be the best idea if the yard is not danger proofed. Chronic chewers can chew on poisonous plants, get splinters in the throat, and swallow objects that might require surgery to remove.
When selecting toys, never underestimate the old rolled up sock. Dogs love them, and they offer little danger. The dog will easily recognize the sock as his toy after he has used it for sufficient time to recognize his smell. Don’t wash the sock unless it has participated in an accident. The scent of the old sock is its identifier as the dog’s own.
With proper training, isolation when required, protective sprays, and dedicated toys, your dog will be able to enjoy his idle time without fear of punishment, and you will be able to trust him at home without worrying about damage.
Article by Nancy Cope of Pampered Dog Gifts an online dog boutique – the place to shop for dog gifts and unique dog toys.