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Chew Training Your Dog

Chew training Your DogTraining your dog what’s acceptable to chew and what’s not is very important to the long term success of your canine/human relationship. Yet it’s often one of the training lessons many dog owners never seem to get to. Take a little time now, before your dog’s destructive tendencies become habit, and you’ll be so glad you did.

Remember, dogs not only enjoy chewing, but they actually need to chew, particularly when they’re young. So your job is to provide him with many appropriate chewables at all times, and make sure he’s getting a positively reinforced message that these are good to chew.

At the same time, you’ll have to remove his access to things you don’t want chewed so that he never learns how incredibly satisfying those table or chair legs are. You should also create negative feedback for those items (see below) so the first time he tries them is the last.

An energetic dog will chew to release energy.

An tired dog is a good dog. A tired dog won’t search the house for some way to exert his incredible volume of energy. Vigorous daily exercise (at Zara’s if you don’t have 2-4 hours to run with him every day) will make chew training a much quicker and easier process, and will solve most of your chewing problem.

Good things to chew

Rugged rubber chew toys with the ability to be stuffed. You can find these at your local pet store, and it’s advisable to get 3 or more. The positive reinforcement comes when you combine some of his dog food with honey or peanut butter and cram the mixture inside the gap. It will take him some time to get at all the goodness inside, which sends the message: “Chewing this toy is satisfying and I get treats too!” If you make your dog sit or do a few other obedience commands while holding a newly-stuffed toy in your hand, that will make these chews all the more prized and rewarding. After a month or two of stuffing them, he should go to them automatically as his favourite thing to chew.

Hollow beef bones and marrow beef bones can be used the same way. Don’t give pork or poultry bones. I prefer raw bones because they don’t splinter and they actually provide some good nutrition. Either way, the marrow acts as the reinforcer and when it’s gone you can stuff the bone as instructed above with the rubber chews.

Rawhides are popular but they tend to get consumed very quickly, and you could do him harm if he gets too many of these in a day. They don’t really teach him anything either, because he views them as food.

Squeaky toys are fun as well but they can get destroyed quickly, the squeaker can be harmful if consumed, and they’re too expensive for continual supply.

Remove his access to unacceptable chewing

Until you are sure that your puppy or dog understands that household furniture and fixtures are off-limits, you should allow him access to these areas only under your strict supervision. I also recommend that you spray all wood items including trim, doors, and baseboards with a taste deterrent, also available at your local pet shop. This way your hound can try it once, and will decide then and there never to try it again. This is a great lesson for any dog and provides negative feedback without your direct involvement because there no scolding is required!

If your dog has gotten into destroying upholstered furniture, pillows and the like, you need to remove his access to these any time you are not able to watch him very closely. When he is allowed in these area under your supervision, be sure he has a good stuffed toy to keep him occupied, and praise him when he’s chewing it.

It’s also effective to set up a booby trap to spook him away from these things in the future. Take 20 or so cans and build a pyramid on the sofa or chair. When he gets near it, the pyramid will collapse and very likely he will never approach again. With certain very habitual dogs, you may need to build a few pyramids to get the idea across thoroughly. It may also help to leave a can or two on the sofa even after he seems to have gotten the message, strictly as a reminder.

You’ll need to chew train a puppy for a month or two before he’s trustworthy in the house unattended. An adult dog with a bad chewing habit will take longer, but it’s worth the trouble. Remember that vigorous daily exercise will eliminate a lot of this problem. And if you’re still having destruction issues, you may want to read up on Dog Separation Anxiety on this site.

Zara’s Doggy Day Care specialise in dog boarding and dog day care services with their specially constructed facility in Surrey.

Good luck and Happy Chewing!

 

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