Destructive Chewing and What it Means

It isn’t fun to come home to your dog chewing up your favorite throw pillow or to find him or her gnawing on your favorite pair of shoes in your closet. It’s also embarassing to try to explain to your teacher or boss that your dog did in fact eat your homework. You start going crazy because you can’t handle your dog destroying anymore of your belongings, but I assure you that they have a method to their madness.

People say that taking care of puppies is similar to taking care of a baby or toddler, and it is because they have similar behaviors. Babies like to explore the world by picking up items in their hands that fascinate them. That is why you may see a baby picking up its mother’s necklace from their neck or reaching into their purses for their keys. Well, dogs explore the world by touch as well but also with the sense of taste. Dogs also have a painful teething process as their adult teeth come in making the need to chew more necessary. One way to prevent dogs from chewing your favorite pillows and shoes due to this reason is to provide multiple chewing toys and redirecting your dog towards these toys.

Destructive chewing can also be a result from not allowing your dog enough excerise or mental stimulation, which puts them in a bored state. If your dog begins to get bored, he or she will look for other items or activities to do to entertain him or herself such as chewing. Offering different chew toys can help resolve this issue, but offering daily outings for your dog or taking him or her to the dog park to play fetch or to interact with other dogs will help as well.

Dogs also destructively chew items when they are put into a stressful situation or when they begin to get frustrated. A stressful situation for a dog could be being put into a crate or having an overwhelming amount of people over. For instance, my dog hates crates and being confined to small spaces. How do we know? After a surgery, the vet told my family to keep her in a crate. She chewed her way out of every crate we put her in, and it wasn’t till after she managed to destroy a metal cage did my parents give up. The best way to prevent this is to avoid putting your dogs in stressful situations, or in this case, a cage.

Some dogs express their frustration from possibly not getting enough attention through destructive behavior, which is usually the case with puppies or shelter dogs. Some destructive behavior might consist of biting directly, shaking, and chewing nearby items. The only way to hinder your dog’s destructive behavior in this situation is to be able to forecast when it is going to happen and to distract them with an item such as a favorite chew toy.

At the end of the day, it goes a long way to show your dog(s) a lot of attention and love. You may have unconciously misled them from chewing up your favorite handbag. Wouldn’t that be nice? 🙂

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