Animal Behavior Network

Positive Dog Parenting

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

Invest just minutes daily learning how to raise the dog of your dreams and a best friend for life!

Need Help? 

Call 1-800-372-3706
to speak to a Veterinary Behavior Technician

Paws To Speak!

Member Main Menu

Pet Forbidden Areas

Don't leave your dog
Home Alone!

Ask your veterinarian about Dog Daycare Programs

Help is at your fingertips by library, email and phone.

Click on Library Icon
to learn more

All Pets | Topics by Age | Topics by Category | All Dogs | Media Center |    Print

If this is wrong, what is right?

The key to dog proofing your home is to remove temptation while teaching the dog with lots of praise what items you are providing to satisfy this natural exploration and chewing behavior. Think of your dog asking you this question in regards to chewing, "If this is wrong, what is right?"

Any dog in the process of exploring can eat or damage inappropriate objects. Young dogs are especially curious!  If your dog is curious, allow less freedom in the house and make sure you are there to supervise all activity.

Your dog needs to learn to focus his or her active mind and desire to chew on the right things.

Why do dogs destroy household items?

Dogs are especially curious during their critical learning period from 1 month to 3 months of age. They explore the world with their mouths which can lead to destruction of household items. Dog teeth begin to fall out at 4 months of age with adult teeth replacing them in the months ahead. Teething is another reason dogs like to chew.

It's a good idea to remove children's toys from the floor, especially those that may have been touched by sticky fingers that previously had food on them.

Locate all electrical cords in your house. They are often searched for and chewed on by dogs because of their interesting consistency. Hide the electrical cords under carpeting, or place in a protective casing from a material like PVC. If this is too much trouble or not practical, coat cords with a bitter tasting material available from the pet store, or remove them if that's an option.
The overall strategy is to supervise the dog as they explore the home.  Praise the dog frequently for acting appropriately and be close by at all times to interrupt any mistakes.

It's best to remove any plants that the dog might be able to get into and put them out of the way, until the dog can be trusted not to chew or destroy them. If you are dealing with an adult dog, beware - the tail is often sweeping and may sweep materials off coffee tables and other low surfaces, so you may want to remove these items.

What if I don't want to dog proof my home?

Clear or block access to any furniture that has a leather or food-stained surface as these may attract chewing. It's generally not advised to allow dogs on furniture without permission, especially if these items have pillows or wood corners that may attract chewing.

To make furniture unattractive to the dog during this training phase, you can do a variety of strategies. Consider placing a plastic carpet runner, spike side up or placing  a stack of empty cans with pennies taped inside to create noise if disturbed. Think outside the box. What can you do that will make the couch unattractive to the dog that will not harm the dog in anyway.

The key to teaching good behavior is to think about what you want the dog to do from the dog's point of view. Ask yourself, what can I do to make it in the dog's best interest to do what I want and to learn the house rules?

Improving Relationships between People and Pets!

MyABN         Library         Contact ABN         Privacy Policy

Copyright 2001-Present All Rights Reserved Dr. Rolan and Susan Tripp | Animal Behavior Network & Affiliates