How To Stop Your Dog Chewing

One of the biggest complaints dog owners have is that their pet chews up items in their house. Since chewing is a natural thing for dogs to do, it can be difficult to stop if you don't have experience in this area.

Border Collie puppy chewing on a shoe

Each dog is different in what they chew, for example, some dogs chew one specific thing like shoes and others will chew anything they can get their mouth on. No matter what your dog is chewing it is important to put an end to it as quickly as possible.

Aim for 'selective chewing'

The first thing to understand about training a dog to stop chewing is that since it is a natural instinct for dogs to chew, you are not trying to stop all chewing, but only unwanted chewing. Each breed has a different need for chewing so make sure to have chew toys your dog likes available for him as much as possible. Make sure to get only chew toys which are designed for the size of dog you have or it can become a choking hazard for him.

Alternative chew items and exercise

Once you've got your dog some toys which he is supposed to chew it is time to start the process of training him to only chew these toys. One thing that many dog owners don't realize is that dogs will chew when they are bored and full of energy. With this in mind the single most effective thing any dog owner can do to eliminate unwanted chewing is to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. For some breads it is virtually impossible to walk or run your dog enough on your own. If it is possible, get a treadmill for your dog to exercise on. It doesn't have to be a fancy one, just something they can use to burn through their energy.

Most dogs are scared at first of a treadmill but if you help them get used to it they will quickly love it. Many dog owners put their dogs on the treadmill while they are getting ready for work or to go out of the house so their dog will be nice and tired while they are home alone. This is an extremely effective way to stop chewing because your dog will just want to sleep while you're not there to watch him.

dog sat on chewed up chair
If your dog really destroys chairs like this, there is something wrong
Exercise can't stop all chewing, however, and it is still important to teach your dog that chewing on things other than chew toys is not acceptable even if exercise does help. When addressing chewing directly the most critical thing to remember is timing. Dogs are unable to associate discipline with an action unless it happens immediately. So, if you find a chewed up shoe when you get home from work, don't discipline the dog. It's too late by that point.

Firm but fair

When you see your dog chewing on something he is not supposed to it is critical to act immediately and consistently. When you see your dog chewing a shoe, for example, immediately discipline your dog and take the shoe away. There are many effective discipline options to choose from including stern words, physical touch (not hitting, just a firm touch). Finding the one that works best for your dog may take a brief period of trial and error. Once you've performed the discipline and taken the shoe away you need to make sure your dog submits to you.

Teaching submission

This can be difficult to learn since it is something most dog owners don't fully understand. A simple way to learn this is to get your dog to lay down, or better yet roll to its side or back. This is a sign of submission which is what the dog should show when it has been disciplined. At this point you can walk away or offer it an acceptable item to chew on. If your going to be there to watch over your dog it is important to put the shoe (or whichever chewed item) back in a place where he can get it. Give your dog the opportunity to chew the shoe again so you can repeat the discipline process. Repetition is critical for any type of dog training.

The last thing to do when training your dog not to chew on anything except chew toys is eliminate the temptation when you're not there to correct him. This means that if you're going to be out of the house for a while, or sleeping, or just in another room, you need to make sure your dog does not have access to anything it is not supposed to chew. The easiest way to do this is to have your dog crate trained so you can lock him up while your away. Dogs love their crates once they are trained and it is an essential tool for properly training your dog.