Chewing is a natural behavior for your dog, but coming home to find your couch strewn throughout your living room is not desirable for anyone, you or your dog. Dogs need to chew when they are young, as a way to relieve the pain of teething, and older dogs chew to loosen debris from their teeth and keep their jaws and teeth strong and healthy. Therefore, you do not want to teach your dog not to chew, just not to chew on your furniture!
Besides not wanting your furniture or other possessions damaged, chewing on furniture can be dangerous to your dog, as they can damage their teeth on hardwood or sharp corners, ingest furniture polish, loose bits of furniture, or upholstery, or they can damage their mouth with slivers. Besides being expensive to replace damaged items, you could incur veterinary bills if your dog is injured or made sick by ingesting something non-digestible.
Because dogs need to chew, any method used to prevent them chewing on furniture should provide an alternative safe chewing opportunity. Providing a viable alternative to their furniture chewing habit is vital to success, and your dog's health and happiness. It is easier to train your dog from an early age to chew on appropriate items before they get into the habit of damaging your furniture, by providing appropriate chew toys and items. If your dog has started chewing furniture you will need to break that habit, as well as redirect them to appropriate chew items.
Leon started to chew the bed once he was 10 months old. He is chawing it only once we are with him and only before bed time. It's seems to me that clearly he want to catch our attention on him. We are trying to always provide him an alternative, natural chew toy. We are providing him both mental and physical stimulation. We are trying to block an access. Nothing is working for him. Is there any additional ways we can try to?
Hello Katarzyna, Continue to redirect him to his own toys after you catch him chewing inappropriate things, and provide him with mental and physical stimulation, but also purchase a spray called "Bitter Apple". It is a pet safe spray that most large pet stores carry, or you can purchase it online. It makes whatever you spray it on taste bad. If he is doing the chewing to get your attention, then making whatever he tends to chew on taste really bad will discourage him from chewing without you having to give him attention to stop him, when he stops chewing it for several minutes because he does not like the taste, then while he is being good, give him a stuffed Kong to chew instead. A few rare dogs actually like the taste instead of finding it awful. If that happens to be him, then you can also buy other flavors and see if those work, or make your own using vinegar, lemon juice, or hot pepper sauce. If you make your own, just be careful not to bleach your furniture with lemon, stain if with the red hot pepper, or use anything unsafe for your dog. A stuffed Kong is a rubber, hollow chew toy, called a Kong, that has been stuffed with food for your dog to work on getting out. There are several ways to stuff a Kong, but I recommend buying several Kongs, placing your dog's dry dog food into a bowl, covering it with water slightly, and letting it sit there until the food soaks up all of the water and becomes mushy. When the food is mushy, then stuff the food into the Kongs until it reaches the top of each one, but do not pack it too tight or it will not come out. After you have stuffed the Kongs, place them into Zip-Lock bags, and then into the freezer to freeze. Whenever your dog needs something else to chew on besides your items, when he is being good for at least a couple of minutes, then give him a Kong on his bed or in his crate while it is open, for him to chew. You can make the Kong's taste even better by mixing a little peanut butter or squeeze cheese into the dog food before you stuff them. If you do that, just read the ingredients for the peanut butter, and make sure that it does NOT contain Xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is popular right now, and it is extremely toxic to dogs, even more so than chocolate. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our dog will chew anything in site, despite having a million chew toys of different types and textures. The second you turn your attention away, she has chewed on a shoe, or a pillow, or a rug. We have learned to put away shoes, obviously, but sometimes we forget. And we obviously can't put away our rugs and couch cushions. We have tried bitter spray, but that didn't seem to work. Help!
Hello Jon, Check out the article that I have linked below. You probably need to do several of the things that the article talks about: 1. Crate train and crate Juniper with FOOD-STUFFED chew toys. The food in the toy will teach her to prefer chew toys, without the food the toy is no more exciting than anything else. You want to train her to chew her toys so that she will go find one when she needs to chew. You can't stop a dog's need to chew but you can teach what to chew. 2. Teach obedience commands that communicate what she should do around your stuff. The article will cover how to teach a few important ones. 3. Try creating your own deterrent spray using white vinegar. Some dogs like bitter apple so try a different flavor. Be careful not to use it on surfaces it might discolor. Hard surfaces tend to be best. Do a spot test on fabric first. The article includes recipes for sprays. 4. Provide mental exercise. As a herding breed Juniper needs mental exercise and is far more likely to get into mischief without it. Physical exercise is good, but mental exercise that challenges her brain and makes her think is probably even more important for her breed. Teaching tricks, working on things that are a bit challenging for her, or doing a canine sport that requires lots of thinking and focus are good ways to challenge her brain. Something like a Pet Tutor, Auto Trainer, Kong wobble, or treat puzzle toys are also good ways to feed her her meals so that she has to work for the food more - to keep her busy on that and not chewing. Chewing article with more details: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Tiny has been good. We leave her out for about 3 hours with plenty of chew toys and she hangs with her 3 year old brother. The other day she started ripping the rug after being gone for 30 minutes. I came home and took the rug away. Then I left again for another 30 minutes and she tore a large piece of the wool blanket that covers the couch. She has chewed the corner of the couch before but stopped and I also put a piece of tape over the tear and covered the couch with the blanket. So today I pier he back in her crate. She is well exercised.
Hello Donna, If he was previously fine being left out he probably just got bored one day and started tearing up the rug, then remembered how fun it is to chew things up to entertain himself so started on other items. This can happen occasionally for young dogs that are prone to chewing. You did the right thing by crating him again. I suggest keeping him crated while you are gone for about three months to break the new habit, then if he has not destroyed or chewed anything he shouldn't in that amount of time, and if he was previously fine when left out before this started, you can try leaving him out for small amounts of time to see if he is ready for more freedom again. Try only 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 45, minutes, then 1 hour, then 3 hours. Stop the freedom if he chews something up while easing into it, and wait a few more months before trying again - that means he is not ready yet. If he was never fine when left alone in the past, then I suggest waiting at least 6 months and at least 3 months of that time he should be free from any destructive chewing, before trying more freedom again. When you are home, work on commands like Leave It to teach him not to chew things he shouldn't, and stuff a hollow chew toy with his food and put it in the crate with him to teach him to love his own chew toys better and prefer those over your objects. Leave It method for teaching "Leave It" command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello guys i am faced with a big problem. I exercise my dog a ttotal of 3 -4 hours a day , have long walks with him etc. BUt in every appartment we move into , it justt keeps biting and tearing up the sofa. He might not chew on it for weeks and then one day i go home and i found pieces from the new sofa all around the floor. It is the 3rd sofa it has eaten and i am getting really frustrated and running out of ideas on how tot fix the issue. PLease help !
Hello Ivan, First of all, he 100% needs to be crated when you are gone right now - partially because of his age and because he has developed a habit of chewing on the furniture right now and you need to prevent that from happening again while you are away while you work on addressing the issue while you are home at the same time. Second, check out the article linked below. Follow the tips on crate training and managing, as well as teaching commands like Leave It and Out. Pup needs to learn those things and those commands be enforced by you when you are home so that pup clearly understands that he is not supposed to chew the focus and he has a chance to work on impulse control while you are there to supervise and stop him quickly. Third, be sure to leave a dog food stuffed Kong or similar interesting toy for him to chew on while you are away or out of the room - in the crate for now. Kongs by themselves are honestly pretty boring but when you stuff them with dog food and goodies like liver paste it makes the chew toy interesting and actually teaches pup to chew on dog toys when bored. Chew toy chewing is actually something that often has to be trained by stuffing toys with dog food and giving them to pup in confined locations where that toy is the only option - like a crate or exercise pen. Fourth, you may not need this final step if you are diligent with the above training and crate pup while you are away for a year (which sounds like a long time - but 1 year could safe you 10+ years of chewing issues). If pup continues the behavior, you can also booby trap pup. This involves the use of an e-collar and hidden camera. Leave pup out of the crate and watch him from a camera outside. Whenever he begins to put his mouth on the couch (after you have worked a lot on leave it so he clearly understands not to by then), correct with the e-collar stimulation on his "working level" - which is the lowest level he indicates he can feel when you do some preliminary training with him before working with the couch. Every time he puts his mouth on the couch correct him while you are "gone". Whenever you are truly gone you will still need to crate him. You will need to catch him in the act multiple times during these hidden camera sessions and go at least 3 months without any chewing incidents before testing him out of the crate without you there hiding. When you are ready to test him, start small. Leave for 10 minutes and see how he did, then 20, then 30, then 1 hour, then 2 hours, then 3 hours, then 4 hours. Once he can handle 4 hours without incident consistently, he is likely ready for the whole day - until his bladder capacity dictates. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Here is a video showing how to find his working level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. Other good brands are SportDog, Garmin, and Dogtra. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh and the scent lingers instead of stopping when the behavior stops, making them ineffective and very confusing for training). Honestly, you will probably end up spending less using a stimulation based e-collar because the vibration or air is typically a lot less effective, and vibration can actually be more of a deterrent than a low level correction on a stimulation based collar. If you do end up needing to use an e-collar, don't skip the preliminary training and crate training - it will be less effective without the other training. Either commit to learning enough about e-collars and training to use them correctly or hire a professional who is very familiar with e-collar, behavior issues, and comes well recommended by their previous clients, to help you. Don't just put the collar on him and start pushing buttons - e-collars are a powerful tool that can either be fair and very effective or abusive and ineffective - depending on how you use them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi, we recently got another dog so my dog Sassy would have a friend to play with. Before our new dog (he is also 4 years and not a puppy) Sassy was great and would sleep all day and wasn’t destructive at all. Sassy loves our new dog and they play all day together. She has, however, started to chew on things when we are not home while they are playing. We have a video camera at home so we can watch them when we are gone. She always starts chewing on things while they are running and playing together. It is definitely not separation anxiety as she will do this when we are home as well (not near as bad though as we are there to stop it). We take our dogs on two long walks daily and they have multiple chew toys and regular toys to play with. I have tried getting dog puzzles and other activities to stimulate them more as well. I don’t want to have to put them in a kennel when we are gone if possible but I don’t know what else I can do. Thank you!
Hello Brianna, When the dogs are running they both get highly aroused and things like adrenaline are being released in the brain - this creates the opposite of calm. Even though pups don't normally chew while calm, they are in a completely different state while playing. When you are not there to supervise, no one is there to stop the chewing and teach them not to express their excitement that way - left without direction and correction for the behavior it can become a long-term habit and something that becomes a problem at times other than just playing; for this reason it really can't be allowed to happen while you aren't home to teach. You can try confining pups just in separate rooms from each other if both dogs are normally fine while separate - they can't be allowed to play while you are gone though. If they are still destructive while in separate rooms, they will need to be crated. The crating probably isn't forever. As the puppy gets older their interactions will probably calm down and they will simply enjoying hanging out with each other with less rough housing. If you have prevented a long-term destructive chewing habit leading up to that point, then at that point they can be left out together. When you first test this again, leave them for only 10 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 45 minutes, then 1 hour, then 3 hours. If they don't do well at any point, wait until they are even older to test again. If they do well at each interval, they are ready for more freedom together. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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