Hello, our dog Mina chews to get our attention. We keep her in the kitchen when we are out and when we have dinner, she immediately chews on the bottom fabric of the seat of the chair. We attempt to distract, to say no and ask her to stop. However she will only do so if we engage - and we don't want to reward what appears to be attention seeking behavior.
Is it OK to just let her chew and ignore her? Or are we instilling the idea that the chairs and things in the kitchen are 'her's'?
Many thanks for the advice.
Hello Ian, Five months of age is a huge chewing age. Puppies are finishing teething at that age and their jaws are developing. Puppies will chew to relieve the discomfort and keep away boredom. Purchase some bitter apple or bitter melon spray and spray it on the items that she tends to chew often. Also, purchase several hollow, rubber chew-toys. Put Mina's dog kibble into a bowl and cover it with water. Let it sit out until the food absorbs the water and turns into mush. Next, mix a bit of peanut butter, squeeze cheese, or liver paste into the mush. Avoid the ingredient Xylitol though. It is extremely toxic! Loosely stuff the chew-toys with the mixture and smear a bit of the liver, cheese, or peanut butter right on the opening. Freeze the toys and give the toys to her throughout the day in place of part or all of her meals, depending on how much she eats. This should give her something to work on to help with the boredom while also helping to relieve the discomfort of teeth and jaws. Subtract whatever you feed her in the toys from her food amount for the day. That will keep her more interested in the toys and keep her weight in check. Do this until she gets past the heavy chewing phase. For some dogs that happens around nine months of age. For other dogs it can take until they get paste one year. If it takes all of her food to fill the chew toys and she eats all of her meals out of the toys, that is alright. In fact it is a good thing. She does not have to get an actual bowl of food as long as she is getting all of her food in other, entertaining ways. Doing all of these things should make it so that she does not chew your items as often, but you cannot ignore it when she does or it can turn into a lifelong chewing habit, which you do not want. Instead, tell her "Out" and point to where you want her to go, then get between her and the item she is chewing on, and then calmly but very seriously walk toward her to make her back out of the area. Block the area until she stops trying to get around you to go back. Repeat this any time that she tries to go back to the area. Do this calmly and seriously or she will think it is a game. She will probably try to go back to the area right after, keep repeating it until she decides that you mean business and leaves the area. With time she should learn to leave an area when you say "Out" without your body blocking that area. Also, work on teaching her the "Leave It" command, and use that command when she chews on things that she shouldn't or starts toward something that she should leave alone. When she obeys, then give her one of her own interesting toys, like a food stuffed chew-toy, instead. Check out the article below and follow the "Leave It" method to teach her the "Leave It" command. That article mentions using "Leave It" for mouthing you, but you can also use that command for objects. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have a 1 year old Siberian Husky that I absolutely love to death. But, I have school and Nova tends to be put in her crate a lot for her bad chewing habits when nobody is around. I would love for her to be able to have a place to roam around without the destruction. She chews anything and everything she can get her paws on. Do you have any suggestions on how I can solve this problem or break this habit so I can allow her to roam around unattended?
Hello Natalie, It sounds like Nova needs to mature a bit more before I would suggest attempting to leave her out of the crate. It is not unusual for a dog to need to be crated for the first three years of life while you are gone. Most dogs need to be crated for the first two years in general. You can do a couple of things to help her learn though. First, give her supervised free time while you are at home, teach her the "Leave It" command and "Out" command, and practice those commands with household items that she tends to chew. Second, when you crate her, give her large classic Kong toys stuffed with her own dog food. Do this to build her interest in her own toys so that she will learn what to chew and will prefer her own toys more and will be more likely to chew her own toys while free. To make the food stuffed kong more interesting, put some of her dog food into a bowl and cover it with water. Let it sit out until the food turns into mush, usually this takes at least a couple of hours. When it turns into mush, then mix a bit of peanut butter, liver paste, or cheese into it, and loosely stuff the kong with the mush mixture. Freeze the kong and then give it to her in the morning when you put her into the crate and it will thaw overtime, lasting her longer. Avoid the ingredient Xylitol in peanut butter. It is extremely toxic to dogs. You can also make several of these stuffed Kongs at once to save you time throughout the week, then you can simply pull one out of the freezer as needed. When she no longer chews things while you are at home with her, then try giving her freedom outside of the crate. Start with only leaving her alone in the house for five minutes. If she does well with that, then leave for ten minutes the next time, then thirty, and so forth, until she can handle at least three hours without an issue. At which point she is probably ready to try being free for the entire day. If she gets into something, then she is not ready. Crate her for two more months and then try it again. Prevention is very important until she is ready maturity-wise. You have done great by crating her up to this point. That has kept her safe and will increase her chances of being able to be free in the house later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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