Dogs are natural-born chewers. When they confine their gnawing endeavors to approved toys, the behavior is harmless and adorable. However, if the family pet is chewing on valuable or potentially dangerous items, you must address the situation. Your wooden fence certainly is not for chewing, and, unfortunately, some dogs find them irresistible. To stop the behavior, you may need to use behavioral strategies or repellents, or you may have to restrict your dog so he cannot reach the fence.
Causes for Chewing
Dogs chew for a variety of reasons. Young dogs are notorious for chewing everything in sight when they are teething. Dogs may chew on an item out of simple curiosity; some, though, chew their owner’s personal items out of loneliness, boredom or anxiety. Different causes call for different remedies, and you may have to experiment with several strategies before achieving success.
If your dog is teething, he is going to chew on something, and understandably so -- human babies soothe their pain by chewing on things during teething. In such circumstances, provide your teething terrier several pet-safe chewing toys. With luck, he will decide that one of them is more attractive than your fence. If your pup has a full complement of teeth yet tirelessly chews on the fence, he is probably anxious or bored. Try to address this situation by giving your pup more attention and love, particularly if you must leave him alone for long periods. Providing Fido with a number of chew toys may help him channel his destructive behaviors more appropriately.
Commercial and Homemade Repellents
If behavioral techniques provide no relief, consider using a repellent to keep your dog from chewing on the fence. Many commercial products incorporate nontoxic but unpalatable flavors into sprays or liquids that you can apply to a fence. Create your own at home by mixing apple cider vinegar with water, the smell of which dogs find objectionable. You can apply such a concoction directly to the fence or you can apply it to clean rags suspended on the fence. You'll have to reapply repellent periodically.
Sidestepping the Issue
If all else fails, you may need to prevent your dog from accessing the fence entirely. If your dog is on a chain or lead, you may be able to reposition it so that he cannot reach the fence. Alternatively, placing a border of gravel around the fence may prevent him from laying comfortably near the fence, which may dissuade him from chewing on it. See your veterinarian to rule out pica or other conditions, and enlist an animal behaviorist to pursue training and conditioning avenues.
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