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Positive Chewing

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 Dog Behavior Library
Destructive Chewing

What Is It?
Chewing on any inappropriate or forbidden item such as shoes, plants, furniture, toys, etc.

What Causes It?
Many dogs destructively chew out of boredom or stress (anxiety).  Chewing is a natural dog behavior. Dogs can be redirected to appropriate chewing of their own items.

Who Does It?
Some breeds have tendency to chew more than others. All puppies chew to some extent. 

When Does It Happen?
Puppies explore the world more, and teething occurs between four and six months. If chewing occurs due to separation anxiety, it usually takes place shortly after the owner leaves.

Where Does It Happen?
Any dog will tend to return to the same items or spot that attracted them in the first place.

To reduce destructive chewing, increase daily exercise, training, supervision, and indoor companionship.

How Can I Stop It?

First, remove or reduce the basic cause, then redirect the dog to acceptable chewing.

  • Don't allow any unsupervised access to unacceptable chew items, until chew trained. Teach "Contented Confinement" by providing chews while confined. Praise and encourage chewing on approved items.
    When not confined, initially follow dog and interrupt and scold inappropriate chewing.
    If not accepting chews, begin with very edible (Greenies), then work up the hardness scale to Veggie Chews, Pig Ears, Rawhide, and finally Nylon. Monitor teeth for clean surfaces, or unusual wear.

  • Make dog's bone more desirable:
    · Identify his favorite types.
    · Apply peanut butter, or liverwurst, to the bone. Hollow bones work well.
    · Praise any interest the dog shows in chew toy or bone.
    · Place it in his mouth and praise him.
    · Require the dog to have his bone in his mouth before you will greet him.
    Commercial taste deterrents are also available to make objects undesirable.

  • Here are some SAFETY TIPS from IAMS for you and your dog to keep chew treats and chew toys a safe and healthy activity:

    Tip #1: There is some risk of digestive tract obstruction with ANY type of chew treat or chew toy. Safety is always a concern when a dog chews. Many natural objects such as sticks, rocks, bones and other assorted objects can get stuck in their throats or intestines. As a dog owner, you are ultimately responsible for monitoring your dog closely to make certain that the chew treat is chewed well.

    Tip #2: Chew treats and chew toys should be sized appropriately for your dog. In other words, your dog should not be given a chew treat/toy that could be swallowed whole. Packages should indicate the appropriate size dog for the chew treat/toy. If in doubt, ask your retailer or contact the manufacturer.

    Tip #3: Observe your dog playing with the chew toy or eating the chew treat. With the chew treat your dog should gnaw on it with the side teeth and swallow pieces of the edible chew. Since dogs don't have the same crushing molars that humans have, they will slice off pieces with the side teeth. Many dogs will hold the treat in their paws or simply move it from side to side in their mouth as they chew off small pieces.

    Tip #4: If your dog has a history of ingesting foreign objects such as rocks, sticks or toys, you may not want to give him or her chew treats/toys at all. Try edible biscuits instead.

    Tip #5: Watch for choking, excessive drooling, vomiting, poor appetite, lethargy or abnormal bowel movements. If you notice any of these signs, seek veterinary care sooner rather than later!

    Tip #6: When in doubt about what is appropriate for your dog, contact your veterinarian. He or she can offer professional advice.

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