By H. Davis

 

As most experienced pet owners know, a puppy’s teeth are sharp and typically mature within a predictable time. But it’s important to realize that as teeth are coming in, your puppy’s gums could be sore throughout the process. That’s because their mouths are filled with 28 tiny razor-sharp teeth that your fingers and toes somehow always find their way in. Although this is an annoying stage to go through for both parties, it’s something that’s completely normal for them to do and something you can help them overcome with proper house training.

 

“Why does my dog chew on everything?” is a great question that doesn’t necessarily have an easy answer. If you’re tired of finding mismatched socks around the house and picking up pieces of carpet, sit back, relax, and consider the following:

 

Chewing is Natural for Dogs: It’s their way of exploring the world around them – the same way baby’s do – since they’re naturally curious. In other words, they learn about new environments by seeing, smelling, listening, and of course, tasting. Unfortunately, for your favorite pair of shoes or piece of furniture, the majority of these canine life lessons involves putting these things in their mouth.

 

Dogs use their mouths the same way as humans use our hands. They’re not tasting your shoes or chewing on them because they want to purposely destroy it, they’re feeling it. But that isn’t the only reason dogs chew on our personal belongings. Puppies, for example, chew during their teething stages. Older dogs, on the other hand, typically use their mouths to bite and carry objects around as a way of playing with owners – they mean no harm. Another possible source could be hunger. Really hungry dogs, for instance, will typically chew on household items when they’re searching for food.

 

Analyze the Problem: If you notice that your dog is chewing excessively, the first thing you should do is get to the root of the problem; work with your veterinarian to figure out what triggers this behavior. Puppies, along with younger dogs normally chew when they’re interested in playing. However, if they’re chewing on furniture well into their adult years, it could a separate issue involves. In most cases, the problem usually results from a lack of exercise, playtime, or environmental change. That’s why experts recommend that pet owners allow their furry friend to get lots of exercise and give their pet’s time to explore and adjust to a new environment after a recent move. This helps make the moving process a lot less stressful for both of you. Another way pet owners can see what their dogs are doing away from them is by videotaping them – using a baby monitor or mobile device. Again, this is to help you determine whether or not your pet is misbehaving or just going through a phase.

 

Don’t View it as a Negative: Generally speaking, after a long day of work, the last thing you want to do is come home to a house covered in pieces of furniture. If this happens to you, however, the last thing you want to do is raise your voice and yell or spank your dog. Although many pet owners believe in this method, the reality is that it doesn’t work. Dogs aren’t children, which means they aren’t able to connect their misbehaving actions with your reactions. If you hit your dog, they will simply react and respond to the pain with fear without fully understanding why they’re being punished.

 

Instead, pet owners should reward good behavior and redirect bad behavior. For instance, you get out the shower and see your dog or puppy chewing on your favorite pair of jeans. Make noises (other than yelling) and call their name. Once they come to you, grab one of their toys and give them praise for being so obedient.

 

Treatment for Excessive Chewing: Excessive chewing is normally associated with anxiety or boredom. Treatment for this behavior first begins by making sure your dog is getting enough exercise and has lots of social interaction – with both humans and other animals. The next step is to try using different dog toys to see if that does the trick. Every animal is different, and some dogs prefer simple toys while others prefer more complex toys. You can try covering their puzzling toys with peanut butter, or stuffing it with their favorite food. Remember not to keep your pup’s toys on the couch if you’re trying to train them not to chew on the furniture. Proximity, in this case, is king. Instead come up with a special place to keep the toys like a basket, bin, or even a steel locker if your dog is especially enthusiastic. If your dog continues to chew on household items, furniture, or clothing, it might be best to go see a veterinarian.

 

During that time, you should also evaluate your behavior as well. Animals do an amazing job of sensing our emotions. With that being said, the best way to find out if you’re the cause of the problem is by confronting yourself. Reflect on if there’s something stressing you or your family out. In most cases, pet owners don’t even realize they’re the cause of the problem. If you’ve had a recent tragedy happen in the family – death, divorce, or financial problems – chances are, the dog is just misbehaving to get your attention. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to both of your behaviors. Dealing with grief after a tragedy is a complex issue, but it can be even more stressful on a dog who doesn’t understand why everyone’s being mean or sad.

 

Good luck with your puppy (or dog) and enjoy guiding them through a destructive-free life filled with lots of love, excitement, and playtime. Before long, the thoughts of them being nipping, chewing little monsters will soon be a distant memory.

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Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything important? What are some other ways pet owners can prevent dogs from chewing on household and personal items? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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