A common question we get at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia is, “How Can I Stop My Dog From Chewing Everything?”
The first thing I have to get you to realize is that your puppy is not doing this out of malice intent. I hear all of the time, “I cannot believe he chewed through the cord of my flat screen TV.” Keep in mind, your dog does not know that it’s a 65″ flat screen TV cord that he chewed through, he thought, “Here is a rope to chew on…” So, for your sanity and your puppy’s well-being, keep that simple fact in mind.
The good news is, there are a lot of things you can do to mitigate this behavior:
1. “Puppy Proof” your house! It’s always funny to me that when people have a baby, they go through all of these lengths in order to baby-proof the house. This is done so the baby doesn’t hurt himself or get into something they shouldn’t. However, nobody does this for their new puppies! So, “puppy proof” your house! If your pup is in a room, put up all the shoes, cords, etc.
2. In my book, “Raising the Perfect Dog: Secrets of Law Enforcement K9 Trainers,” I recommend that the average dog should be in the crate when not directly being supervised until about 1.5 years old. It drives me crazy when I hear (weekly), “When I got home, my dog had destroyed my couch!” I always say, “How old is your dog?” They usually respond with something like, “6-months old…” What do you expect?! Would you leave your 2-year old home alone and expect them not to get into anything? No. I say “average” dog because some dogs can be faster than this, and some slower (just like kids).
3. You have to teach your pup what is his and what isn’t his. This is done be exchanging/redirecting. Anytime your dog has something that he shouldn’t (shoe, cord, sock, etc), tell them “No” and remove it and then exchange it with something that they CAN have. This is how the dogs learn what is theirs and what is not. Often times, owners say, “NO” and just remove the object and that’s it. So, the dog never really learns what they CAN play with.
4. Obedience Training: This is probably one of the most important and effective things you can do in order to get your dog on the right path. As I say, “I have never seen a with zero obedience training that was an angel in the house.” This gives them confidence, correction, discipline, structure, and pack leadership.
5. Mental and Physical Stimulation: Remember, “A bored dog is a destructive dog.” If you do not give your dog a job to do, they will become self-employed. A self-employed dog will always cost you money.” Work with your dog on obedience, detection, protection, exercise them, etc. All of these things will greatly reduce your dog getting into trouble around the house.
If you follow these easy principles and steps, you should notice a great reduction in your dog’s chewing/destroying behavior.