Why is My Dog Chewing Everything?

Talullah is a wonderful, Golden Doodle who needs some training from her family. See how professional trainer, Joanne Barrett helps this dog family grow stronger. 

Chewing is normal for dogs, but it can cause problems when your shoes, books or furniture are the targets. Correcting problem chewing is often simply a matter of preventing unwanted chewing while encouraging your dog to chew appropriate dog toys. If chewing only happens when left alone, try confinement (see How I Crate Train My Dog?), and speak to a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist as this may be a sign of separation anxiety or boredom.

Why Dogs Chew

Chewing is usually a healthy, normal thing to do when it isn't destructive. Dogs chew for many reasons:

  • To release pent-up energy
  • Stress
  • Teething, which generally occurs between three and six months of age
  • Because the dog simply finds chewing enjoyable

Keep in mind that some behavior that looks like chewing or biting is actually exploratory 'mouthing.' Dogs learn about an object's feel and texture with their mouths in the way people learn those things by feeling with their hands. 

Correcting Inappropriate Chewing

Buy appropriate chew toys. Then, when you see your dog chewing something inappropriate:

  • Say "no" or "eh" in a low voice. (It's a sound similar to a mother's growl, which your puppy will take as a sign of disapproval) 
  • If your dog stops to look at you, praise and give your puppy a preferred chew toy. Do not use old shoes, socks or gloves, as that will actually train your dog to chew your things. 
  • Praise your dog whenever you see him chewing a dog toy. This teaches your dog that it is not chewing that is wrong - just chewing the wrong things. 
  • Make sure puppies have chew toys available at all times, especially when teething. Rotate the toys to provide novelty.
  • When possible, put items you don't want your dog to chew away or out of reach. If not possible, keep your dog out of the area with gates or by closing doors. 
  • When you aren't home, confine your dog in a safe area or crate your dog. 
  • Increase his exercise and his training. 

Do's and Don'ts

  • DO provide lots of good, solid dog toys for chewing.
  • DO prevent problems by supervising your dog closely and exercising him often. 
  • DO stay calm. If you catch your dog chewing something other than a dog toy do as suggested above. 
  • DON’T blame the dog for being a dog - give him toys to chew, reward him for chewing those, and prevent access to other items.
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