Over time, our pups have grown to have beautiful teeth built for chewing up their food, as well as their toys. But while chewing is an absolutely normal behaviour, it can sometimes cross the border of excessive as your dog chews through all their toys, and maybe even your furniture!
Why exactly do dogs like chewing so much? What can we do to reduce this behaviour, without taking away one of your pup’s daily joys? Let’s take a look at how to deter dogs from chewing, especially how to stop a dog from chewing furniture.
Why Do Dogs Chew?
At the base level, dogs love chewing because that’s part of their DNA, especially when it comes to a delicious chewy treat or dental chew like WHIMZEES’ Natural Alligator Dental Chews. But there are a lot of reasons why they might start chewing things excessively, and often destructively.
Boredom - The biggest reason pups love chew toys is because it keeps boredom away. Dogs love feeling the textures and the taste of a delicious chew toy, even if it is a new piece of furniture. For puppies especially, chewing is a way to explore and find new experiences. Dogs may also be using chewing as a means to get your attention!
Teething - Another reason why puppies love chewing might be due to teething. It’s a great way for them to relieve the pain of their growing teeth, but they may not yet know the difference between your favourite bedroom slipper and their teething toy so it’s important to keep an eye out for them at this age especially!
Separation Anxiety - A common root for many types of destructive puppy behaviour, separation anxiety may also explain why your pup is obsessively chewing. Dogs are pack animals - they need to be with their family at all times, so when you’re not around they might feel a lot of anxiety, which they express by biting and chewing items like shoes that smell like you, or wooden furniture they may not know they shouldn’t be chewing on.
How to Correct Chewing Behaviour
#1 Puppy-proof Your Home
If you’re bringing in a new puppy or adopting a dog that hasn’t been fully trained yet, you might experience your puppy chewing everything except toys - this is largely because they just haven’t gotten that training yet.
While they’re learning this important lesson, you may want to cover up and completely avoid situations where your pup might get the opportunity to chew on something they’re not supposed to.
Place your shoes in the closet, close off rooms that have valuable furniture you don’t want your dog getting to, and make sure to keep an eye on your pup every time they’re out and about. This will help build the foundation of your new pup’s understanding of what they can and cannot bite - but it’s not a long term solution.
#2 Provide Alternatives
Rather than them chewing through your new blanket, you might want to provide your dog with some fun alternatives that will get them just as excited. When picking the right toy, make sure not to give them anything that might resemble the furniture or items you don’t want your pup chewing through. For instance, while it seems like a good idea to recycle your old shoes or socks and turn them into great toys, it might actually teach your dog that it’s alright to chew shoes!
If you ever catch your pup chewing something they’re not supposed to, interrupt them and divert their attention to something they should be chewing on like one of ZIWI Peak’s mouthwatering air-dried treats. Make sure to shower them with praise and attention for chewing on the right toy.
For puppies suffering from dog anxiety chewing, you could also try rolling your pup’s favourite chew toy between your hands before you leave for work. This transfers your scent to the toy and is a soothing reminder to your pup that you’ll be home in no time.
#3 Keep Them on Their Toes
Dogs LOVE having plenty of exercise and playtime.
By providing your pup with plenty of physical and mental exercise, they won’t have the opportunity to chew anything they aren’t supposed to, and with any luck, may be too tuckered to try! Give this a try by strapping your dog in one of Fuzzyard’s comfortably chic dog harnesses, coupled with a cute and comfy EzyDog Zero Shock Dog Leash, and going on a nice long walk.
In general, bringing your dog on a walk or spending at least half to an hour of time a day playing with them is also a healthy way to keep your dog’s other negative behaviours to a minimum.
#4 Plenty of Training
For puppies just starting to explore the world, outside of keeping your nice pair of shoes away from them, you may also want to give KONG’s Puppy Teethers Box a try. Filled with gentle plush toys, this box is a great starter training tool to use in order to divert your puppy’s attention away from furniture and shoes.
If your pup still insists on chewing the wrong things, give your furniture a healthy spritz of furniture spray (make sure it's safe for animals!). These sprays have an unpleasant smell or taste that will make your furniture extremely unappealing to even the most eager chewers. In time they’ll learn that chewing furniture just doesn’t pay off!
One great furniture spray is NaturVet’s No Stay! Furniture Spray. Containing zero harsh chemicals, NaturVet’s Furniture Spray helps train pups to stay off your furniture, and avoid chewing through them.
Tammi writes articles about anything from data analytics to animal health, and loves doing the occasional craft. But most importantly, she loves hanging out and doing photo-shoots with her dog.