It is a dog's natural habit to chew, unfortunately that sometimes means destruction of items dog owners need, cherish or paid a lot of money for. When training your dog not to chew on unwanted items it's important to remember that the behavior is not spiteful or malicious. Instead, it may be a symptom of an underlying health or wellness problem that your dog is experiencing. Punishing your dog will not solve the problem but there are several approaches you can take to train your dog to stop chewing their blankets and other valuable objects.
Take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up. Compulsive chewing could indicate a dental problem, nutritional deficiency or anxiety disorder. If any of these issues are the problem a qualified veterinarian is the best person to advise you.
Take a good look at the dog's environment and lifestyle. Are there appropriate items for him to chew on? Is he left in a small, confined space where he is likely to get bored? Is he getting adequate exercise and attention throughout the day? Sometimes bad habits can be corrected by making changes that seem unconnected to the problem. A dog that is understimulated or full of pent-up energy is more likely to display destructive or inappropriate behaviors.
Buy your dog a few new chew toys and rotate them regularly to keep her interested. The rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats such as peanut butter are particularly appealing and keep a dog's attention even when there's no one else to play with.
Reward your dog when she is chewing on an appropriate toy. Give her praise, your attention or even a small treat when she is displaying desirable behavior.
Teach your dog the "leave it" command. Never try to pull a blanket from your dog's mouth. This teaches him that tug-of-war with the blanket is a game that will get your attention. Instead, teach him the "leave-it" command and reward him when he obeys your direction.
Try a chewing-deterrent spray. These sprays are not harmful to your dog, but create an unpleasant taste on the objects they are sprayed on. The taste may be enough to stop your dog from chewing on her blanket; however, many consumers report these products to be ineffective.
Items You Will Need
- Chew toys
- Reward treats
- Chew-deterrent spray
Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.