Many owners ask, “How do I stop my dog from chewing on things when they are home alone?” This is an issue we correct on a daily basis at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia.
First, you must realize some of the main reasons that dogs do chew or destroy things:
–Separation Anxiety (click for the blog)
-Not Mature Enough (See our Puppy Training Blogs)
One of the most common problems I find when dealing with our clients in our dog obedience program in Northern Virginia is that many people try to leave their dogs out and free in the house way too early. Meaning, they are leaving their 5-7 month old dog out while they are gone at work for 8+ hours and expect them not to get into anything. Doing this, is pretty much setting yourself and your dog up for failure, as I ask, “Would you leave your 5=year old home alone and expect that he/she would not get into anything? If not, why would you with your puppy?”
In my blog on Crate Training Your Dog, I say a good general recommendation is the dogs should be crated or in a safe/controlled environment when home alone until around the age of 1.5 years old. Again, this is a “general” assessment, some dogs may need a little less and some dogs may need a little more.
Second, my famous quote from my book, “Raising the Perfect Dog: The Secrets of Law Enforcement K9 Trainers,” is “If you do not give your dog a job to do, they will become self-employed, a self-employed dog will always cost the owner money.” Essentially, what that simply means is that a bored dog is a destructive dog. If your dog is destroying a lot of things, you could have a lot of pent up energy from lack of physical and/or mental stimulation. So, get your dog proper exercise on a daily basis as well as doing things that are mentally stimulating (obedience, nose detection, etc).
Third, is Separation Anxiety, which I cover in-depth in my blog on Dealing With Separation Anxiety in Dogs.
Fourth is lack of viable options to play with. Anytime you remove something that your puppy (or dog) shouldn’t play with (i.e., shoe, sock, etc) you should always give a firm “No,” and immediately replace it with something that they can play with. This is how your dog learns what is his and what’s acceptable and what’s not his and what’s not acceptable. So, ensure you have toys scattered throughout the house that give them options of things that they can play with.
If your dog has taken interest in a particular object, you can always get sour apple bitter spray from any major dog retail store. This is a bitter tasting spray that can be sprayed on any object; therefore, when your dog goes to chew on that object, they associate it with tasting horrible.
Lastly, obedience training. I always say obedience training in its’ self fixes numerous issues in dogs. I always say, “I have never seen an amazingly obedient dog with a lot of behavioral issues.” So, look into getting your dog into an official obedience training program like ours in Northern Virginia.