cute puppyDogs make great companions; they’re loyal, affectionate, and forgiving, but even if you love and cherish your canine friend with everything you have, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a few flaws that need to be worked on. One of the most common and irritating habits dogs possess is an inclination to chew on everything in sight. This can be destructive to your personal belongings, but it can also pose a threat to your pet (dogs tend to love chewing on electric cords), and in order to protect the well-being of all parties involved, it’s important to try and deter the chewing frenzy as soon as it begins.

Make the Objects-of-Choice Unappealing

In order to make chewing unappealing to your dog, it helps to put a bad taste in their mouth. There are many sprays designed for pet owners to coat the problem areas with. The most common kind, a bitter apple spray, gives off a taste that dogs find extremely unpleasant, so if they go to chew on a couch cushion that’s been sprayed, they’ll quickly change their mind. To really make it effective, try squirting a healthy amount in your dog’s mouth (it’s non-toxic) before you spray it on any objects; this will allow your dog to recognize the scent on the object before even having a chance to bite into it. You might have to re-coat about once a week for a month or so, but after that, your dog should learn the intended lesson.

Keep Things Out of Reach

Make sure to keep your personal items off of the floor; if your shoes are laying around right next to the chew toys, it will be much harder for your pet to make the distinction. Not only will keeping objects out of reach help your dog realize what toys are meant to be chewed on, but it will also give you motivation to keep things tidy.

Give a Positive Alternative

Dogs chew for a number of reasons; it helps keep their mouth and teeth in good condition, it relieves boredom, and it helps them manage anxiety. Because chewing is a normal and natural behavior, you shouldn’t discourage all forms of chewing, but instead, give them a positive alternative. When you catch your dog chewing on a household item, say “no” in a firm voice, and then offer a bone or chew toy. Be enthusiastic and praise your dog when he/she starts gnawing on the appropriate items, and eventually, your pet will grow to know the difference.

Give Your Dog Plenty of Exercise

Oftentimes, a dog will develop a chewing habit simply because of pent-up energy or lack of attention. Make sure you’re allowing your dog adequate time to run around, take in different smells, and socialize with other people and dogs. This will help tire them out and, in turn, make them less likely to cause terror in the house.

Adopting a loving dog into your family comes with lots of rewarding and heartwarming experiences, but inevitably, it also tends to come with a few drawbacks as well. As much as you’d like to have a perfect pet, the chances of that happening are fairly slim, but with love, patience, and consistency, you should be able to keep your dog’s negative habits under control.

Ron Rutherford is a writer with a passion for nature and a soft spot for Thai food. He currently freelances for Havahart Wireless, which specializes in progressive and humane wireless dog fences.

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