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The Dog Who Chews

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All dogs do it, they chew. The key is to get a dog that chews appropriately. There are some breeds that have a strong desire to chew, usually working dogs like huskies, dobermans, or german shepherds. There are breeds that are working dogs and love stimulation and the feeling of chewing. Any dog can can develop a chewing problem if not given the right direction when the issue first occurs.

There is nothing wrong with dogs that love to chew, they have plenty of toys designed for the strong chewers, and these are going to be key in helping you solve the problem.

My dog training techniques come from my years in the psychology field. I use behavior modification techniques and guides to help understand and treat behavior issues. Every behavior, human or animal, develops because it fills a need. If you do not like the behavior, you must understand the need it fills and then redirect the behavior appropriately.

Dogs chew for many reasons, sometimes it can even be a combination of issues. The key to the solution is to understand the reason.

  • It tastes good

  • It feels good on the teeth/gums

  • It is something to do (boredom)


Oh Boy That Tastes Good!” -

This is a common problem, dogs like the taste of a lot of weird items. Common items such as leather furniture, shoes, or those delicious baby toys. Now, you will find in any pet store a “bitter spray” that you can spray on almost anything, that will taste bitter to your dog and therefore deter him from chewing. Now of course baby toys wouldn't be a good place for bitter spray, babies are allowed to chew on their toys. The spray doesn't harm most fabrics or leathers, just read the instructions and spray on the items your dog likes to chew.

  • Warning – Now, taking away your dogs favorite chew treats can mean that he might try and find new ones. This is an important time to introduce new toys, usually with the same texture of the no-no chew items. When you see your dog put their teeth on a no-no item, make a loud noise and remove the item from the dog, then immediately place an appropriate toy in front of them, then praise them once they put their teeth on that item. This will teach them, no you can't have this, but you can have this.


This Feels Good!” -

Just like humans, dogs go through a teething phase. Usually it is between 2 and 8 months old. Even after that stage, can still have gum or teeth issues that is relieved by chewing. Chewing can also be a great stress reliever for dogs, kinda like when your stressed at work, and somehow all your pen caps are chewed beyond recognition. If all other techniques and tricks fail, I do suggest taking a quick trip to your vet, just to give their mouth a good once over and make sure there are no major issues causing the problem. If the vet finds nothing wrong, and you still believe this is stress or pain relief issues than there are a few things you can do to help your pet.

  • Give your dog a variety of textures to chew. Try warmed items, or frozen treats.

  • Consistently take away “no-no” toys and replace the good toys then praise.

  • Try a good mouth massage, or brushing your dogs teeth, some dogs love it!


Immmm Booooored”

A bored dog can be a bad dog. It is common for dogs to find destructive outlets when they have the energy and no place to expend it. Chewing will be a common outlet for this energy. Separation anxiety also can be a reason for dogs to chew. That is a whole different topic for another article coming soon. If your dog chews when you are not home, there are a couple things you can try.

  • Rotate toys, only give him one or two toys a day, then the next day before you leave switch out to new toys.

  • They have machines that can dispense toys throughout the day. You can set it to give the dog a new toy every 1, 2 or 3 hours.

  • Find a local kid or pay a dog walker to come get your furry friend and expend some energy in the middle of the day. If your lucky they will be too tired to be bored.


If you get chewing issues even while you are home. The best advice is consistency. Every time your dog picks up a “no-no” toy replace with a good toy and praise. This works a whole lot better than yelling or scaring your dog. Punishment with dogs only makes them nervous and more apt to do their bad behavior in secret, which just makes it worse. Keep your dogs confidence high and your relationship will prosper.


I will restate: Every behavior that continues fills a need. So to stop the behavior you need to understand what need it fills. The key to understanding your chewer is to understand why they do it, and above all patience. They don't speak human, and it takes a lot of practice to speak dog. Learning to communicate with your pooch will help your behavior issues of any kind and make your furry family a happy family.