Almost every dog likes to chew. It enters into their behaviour when they are teething, much like with human babies, and while some dogs grow out of it others keep chewing long into adulthood.
This is usually fine, however many dogs fixate their chewing on items that you’d rather not have mangled, such as your shoes, furniture or even hands and feet. Luckily, chewing is something you can train a dog out of.
The first step with dealing with unwanted canine chewing is to make sure that there are no underlying medical problems that are causing the behaviour. If your dog is chewing an excessive amount, it might be worth booking an appointment to see a vet, to make sure it is not a symptom of an illness.
The most common medical cause of chewing is pica, an eating disorder that causes sufferers to eat things that are not food. This is usually caused by a lack of nutrition. Your vet will be able to tell if this is caused by parasites, but it could simply be a case of switching to a different dog food.
Make sure that you are feeding your dog enough, and that they are getting the appropriate nutrients for their size and breed. You may want to look into switching to Royal Canin dog food, or a similar brand, to provide your dog with breed-specific food.
If you have ruled out medical reasons, then it is a behavioural issue. First of all, make sure there is nothing at a height your dog can reach that would cause them harm if they chewed it. You might want to look into protecting your dog from electrical wires, and storing hazardous substances out of their reach.
Use basic training methods to switch your dog from chewing furniture to chewing toys. Buy them something that they can chew to their heart’s content, and train them to use it with treats. Scold them if they switch to chewing anything they shouldn’t, and reward them for using their toys.
Plenty of playtime is the final option to cut down on chewing. If your dog is bored, they will chew. If they are tired out, they will not feel the need to.
Written by: Hannah Dyball