The two most challenging aspects of raising a puppy are avoiding the need to chew and eat anything. According to Smartlypet.com, there are a few unique tricks you can use to stop this type of annoying behavior. By analyzing the root of the problem and addressing it with consistent training, you can quickly reduce constant gnawing.
How to Analyze Chewing and Eating Behaviors
There are many parallels you can draw between puppies and babies, especially in early behavior. Like children, puppies need to explore the world with their mouths, which can often lead to destructive behavior.
Although it is natural, it needs to be dealt with early. Otherwise, your dog may continue to chew and eat anything into his adult years.
Destructive and Normal Chewing
The first step is to distinguish between destructive and normal chewing. For example, if your dog is constantly chewing his favorite toy, this is nothing to worry about. It gets harder when they start chewing on items like furniture and clothes.
When you discover that your dog’s behavior is destructive chewing, it can be caused by a few issues. These problems include:
- Boredom: Dogs that are not regularly entertained tend to entertain themselves with mismatched behavior.
- Lack of education: Puppies that are not taught what to chew or not will chew on everything.
- Fear: When dogs panic or fear external stimuli, they try to calm their nerves by chewing constantly.
- Distractibility: Like boredom, when owners don’t pay enough attention to their dogs, they try to dispel carelessness with negative behavior.
- Separation Anxiety: Pets who are seriously concerned about separation from their owners may experience constant chewing and gnawing.
- Compulsive behavior: Sometimes dogs that are weaned too early can develop compulsive chewing behaviors.
- Hunger: If a dog is on a restrictive diet, it will try to get food from other objects that smell like food.
In some cases, you may need help from an animal behavior specialist or trainer. For example, separation anxiety typically requires professional advice and training to reduce behavior. A few of the other causes such as boredom and lack of education can be addressed at home.
What Causes Disruptive Eating Behaviors?
Like chewing, dogs can tend to eat anything and everything. Often times it relates to something they smell on objects, even if they are inanimate. A few of the most common destructive eating behaviors can be the result of:
In more severe cases, pica may be the result of your dog eating everything. Like the human form of the condition, pica is an obsessive urge to eat inanimate objects such as dirt, sand, and rocks.
One of the most important symptoms of this disorder is malnutrition in the dog’s diet. If you suspect your dog’s condition, consult your veterinarian.
The Quest for Nutrition
Another important contribution to destructive eating is your dog’s quest for extra nutrition. This is one of the top reasons why dogs eat waste from cows, horses, and even cats. When they smell the waste of other animals, they also sense the food left behind in their feces.
You may also notice that your pets are attracted to garden mulch, lawns, and dirt. All of these elements have a mushroom-like earthy scent, which can be appealing to their senses. However, it is very important to monitor your dog’s grazing behavior outside, as many items such as mushrooms can be poisonous.
How to Avoid Destructive Chewing and Eating
Dealing with destructive chewing is a task that will take a lot of time and effort from both you and your pet. Fortunately, there are a lot of helpful dog training tips you can use to prevent gnawing.
Promote Chewable Toys
One of the top recommendations is to introduce chewable toys that your dog is allowed to play with. This technique is a great way to teach them what they can and cannot chew on and to protect your personal belongings. It can be helpful to rummage around a few toys a week so your pet never loses interest in chew toys.
An important tip to introduce chewable toys is to make sure they don’t look like regular household items. For example, if your dog likes to chew on socks, it’s best to avoid sock-like toys as this will encourage their behavior.
House Dog Protection
When working on your dog’s chewing behavior, it’s a good idea to consider protection against the dog. You want to limit your dog’s access to potential dangers from which they can get their teeth. For example, you’ll want to remove toxic plants, electrical wires, cleaners, and chemicals.
The last thing any pet parent wants is to have their pets accidentally chew dangerous and toxic substances. If you’re bringing a new puppy home, it might be a good idea to block access to certain rooms, such as the bathroom and kitchen. This step can make it easier to check items that they have access to at home.
Maintain Continuous Audit
Bringing a new puppy home takes a lot of time, especially if they tend to chew and eat anything. Maintaining constant control can help you reinforce positive behavior and eliminate negative behavior. It’s also a great way to ensure your pets don’t get into anything that isn’t allowed, like toxic plants.
Pet parents strongly recommend that you find a specific area of your home and make it safe for your pet. You can use playgrounds and indoor fences to provide them with a puppy-approved space where they can play with their favorite toys.
As they explore the rest of the house, you’ll want to track their behavior to find items they are curious about. This process will give you a good idea of the specific triggers in your home.
Improving Mental and Physical Exercise
As mentioned, chewing is an important sign of attention deficit or boredom from your dog. Ensuring your pet gets the proper amount of mental and physical exercise is especially important for intelligent breeds.
Although your pets can entertain themselves for short periods of time, they will need human stimulation. You’ll want to determine the total amount of exercise they need based on their breed, health, and age. Whether you want to take them out or buy puzzle toys for them to find, there are plenty of exercise options.
There are many ways to prevent your dog from constantly chewing and eating all your personal items. You’ll find this easier with training, healthy exercise levels, and a variety of approved chew toys. If the problem has gotten beyond your control, consider hiring an animal behavior expert to help.