No matter how cute and cuddly your dog is, when you come home to find bite marks in your new wooden coffee table, he might not seem so cute anymore. Your dog's wood-chewing fetish might be triggered by many factors—it might be his way of telling you he craves your attention or maybe he was just stressed or bored while you were away. To put a stop to your companion's destructive chewing behavior, keep him entertained, consistently supervise him and redirect his attention to appropriate chewing objects.
Clap your hands or stomp your feet on the floor when you catch your dog chewing on inappropriate wooden items. This will startle him and stop him in his tracks. Say "Na-ah," and show him a chew toy, a bone or a food-stuffed dog toy. Praise him when he shows interest in the toy or bone. Do this each time you catch him in the act, and over time he'll prefer the toy or bone, which has pleasant consequences, over the inappropriate wooden item.
Apply a commercial taste deterrent to wooden items that your dog likes to chew. Test the deterrent first, because your dog might not dislike it and continue his unwanted chewing behavior—spray the deterrent on a tissue and have your dog taste it. If he shakes his head or retches in disgust, you've got a winner and you can apply it daily to the wooden items you want to protect.
Confine your dog when you're unable to supervise him, so he can't do any damage. Put him in a crate or use a baby gate to block off a small, pet-proof room that your dog can stay in. Provide him with chew toys, or a bone or food-stuffed dog toy to keep him entertained. Alternatively, close the door to the room containing the wooden items that your dog likes to chew.
Stimulate your dog mentally and physically so he's less likely to get bored and start looking for wooden items to chew. Give him daily workouts—take him outside and play tug-of-war and fetch with him. Let him run or swim so he can tire himself out. Provide food-stuffed dog toys for him to play with and challenge him with regular obedience-training sessions.
Teach your dog the "Leave it" command. Leash your dog and watch him like a hawk. When you see him going toward a wooden object he likes to chew, say, "Leave it." If he ignores you and continues going forward, jerk the leash and say, "Leave it." Give him a treat when he pays attention to you and show him a chew toy to redirect his attention. When he takes the toy in his mouth, praise him.
Consult a veterinarian to rule out medical conditions, such as intestinal parasites and nutritional deficiencies, that can be triggering your dog's inappropriate chewing behavior.
Always discipline your dog in the moment—don't punish him for his chewing behavior after the damage is done. He won't understand what he's being punished for.
Items You Will Need
- Chew toys
- Dog bone
- Food-stuffed dog toys
- Taste deterrent
- Dog crate
- Baby gate
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