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.

Chewing is a normal activity for dogs and puppies. It’s only a problem when dogs chew on things they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, dogs can do a lot of damage in the home when they start to chew on inappropriate things. There are several ways you can stop your dog chewing on things he shouldn’t.

Stopping inappropriate chewing
If your dog is chewing on woodwork or upholstered furniture, one of the best ways to stop the chewing is by using a deterrent. Bitter apple cream and spray can be purchased in pet stores and online. You can apply it to your woodwork and furniture and the taste is so bad that it will make most dogs stop chewing on these objects. You will need to reapply as necessary. It can also be used on electrical cords and other things in the house that dogs like to chew.

Some people use tabasco sauce or other hot sauce for the same purpose. It will deter your dog from chewing on things. Just be careful not to use anything that could harm your dog as a deterrent.

Chewing substitutes
Another way to stop your dog from chewing on things he shouldn’t is by providing him with plenty of his own things to chew on. For example, rawhides can be good chews for dogs. Look for rawhides that come from USDA beef and which have preferably been sterilized as these are safer for your dog. When you give your dog rawhides to chew you should supervise and remove small pieces that come off so your dog can’t choke on them. There are also many good chew toys for dogs that will satisfy your dog’s urge to chew. Rope toys, hard rubber toys such as Kongs, Nylabones, and many others are all good for dogs that like to chew.

If you have a puppy, be sure to provide him with lots of toys for chewing. Puppies teethe from the time they are about four months to 17 months of age and they have a strong urge to chew on things during this time.

Spending a few dollars on chews and chew toys for your dog is a good way to save expensive home furnishings.

Exercise
Another good way to deter chewing is to make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise. Dogs who get lots of exercise are less likely to be destructive in the home. They are more likely to spend their time sleeping when you are not home with them. Tired dogs are happy dogs.

Crating
If your dog is destructive and chews things when you are not home, consider crating him when you are away from home for a few hours. All dogs should learn to be crated. Medium and large dogs who fly with their owners have to be crated. Crating is a safe way to travel with your dog in your vehicle. And crating at home can keep your dog safe and out of trouble when you are not home. Most dogs regarde their crate as a den and are happy to sleep until you return. Naturally, you should not leave a dog unattended in a crate for more than a few hours.

If you follow the suggestions here, you should be able to stop your dog from chewing on things he shouldn’t. Try different suggestions, or try all of them. Bitter apple and providing good chew toys are often enough to stop most chewing problems.