Dogs, especially puppies, chew for many reasons. Puppies chew to satisfy an oral stimulation need and to soothe sore gums that result from teething. Older dogs may chew as a way to soothe themselves and to help remove plaque buildup. A dog who chews on everything needs to be trained into appropriate chewing habits. You'll want to keep such a dog contained during the process to protect household belongings from damage.
Stop Play Chewing
When puppies nip, bite and chew on human fingers, clothing objects and household items, it may appear to be cute. It may be evidence of improper socialization in the litter and the start of a destructive pattern. Such habits are hard to break. Train puppies and dogs against inappropriate chewing by uttering a stern "no" when they bite or chew on you or inappropriate objects. Don’t allow a puppy to nip at you, and take inappropriate things away from your dog as soon as he begins to chew.
Reinforce Good Chewing Behaviors
Encourage good chewing behaviors to replace bad ones. For example, if your dog starts to chew on your favorite tennis shoe, take it away and give him an appropriate chew toy, like a cornstarch bone. Don’t give him an old shoe to chew, because your pup, who doesn’t know the difference between old and new, will be further encouraged to chew on inappropriate objects. If chewing continues, ask your vet about using a bitter-tasting anti-chew spray to discourage your dog away from unwanted chewing behavior.
Crate-Train Your Dog
Some dogs chew out of boredom or anxiety. Crate-training is a possible solution, as it gives your dog a safe, comfortable, familiar and reassuring environment to chill in when you're away. After you've trained him, you'll be able to leave the crate door open, and he'll come and go -- the space gives him peace, relieving stress and putting destructive behavior at bay. Give him a chew toy that also entertain him, like a rubber ball designed to be stuffed with kibble. Avoid barricading a dog in a room as a way of guarding against chewing in your absence. Insistent chewers have the potential to damage flooring, walls and furniture.
Allowing your dog to chew on inappropriate or hard toys or objects can result in broken teeth. Dogs can choke on some cheap toys, such as rubber toys with noise-makers inside. Let your dog play with such toys only under supervision.Your dog chewing only on one side of his mouth could be an indication of a dental problem; let a vet address it. Untreated canine dental problems can become infected and lead to other health issues.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.