By Marika S. Bell, Director of Behavior & Training
Think of all the things your dog is not allowed to chew – chair legs, cell phones, TV remotes, your children’s toys – the list goes on and on. We expect our pooches to know the difference between what is and isn’t okay to chew, but how do they learn the difference?
We have to teach them. Teaching a dog to distinguish between every item they could be tempted to chew on would take years, so to save time, here are three tips for preventing unwanted chewing and encouraging appropriate chewing.
- Manage the
Put away things you don’t want your dog to chew on. Dogs can’t be expected to pick out their toy from a pile of kid’s toys. Supervise new dogs or puppies, especially when learning house rules, to prevent bad habits in the first place.
- Get Them Hooked on Food Stuffed Toys
Introduce your puppy or new dog to a Kong, or similar heavy rubber toy, stuffed with tasty treats. Use many different treats to keep things interesting. You can use dog food, dog roll, or small pieces of cheese. Sometimes I add boiled chicken breast or freeze dried liver. Give these toys to your dog whenever you leave them alone or when you want to be left alone.
TIP: If your dog is on a diet, use half their meal ration instead of treats.
- Trading Up
In dog world, if something is in your mouth, it is yours. Dogs need to learn “drop-it” reliably in order to understand that they should give you their hard sought prize (TV remote excavated from the couch cushions). Otherwise, it’s chase time!
If your new dog just found your cell phone on a chair at perfect doggie-nose-level, pretend you don’t care about the phone, offer a dog biscuit as a trade, and say “drop-it” as they loosen their jaw to drop the phone and take the treat. Praise away! Praise is a powerful motivational tool, and the treat will only reinforce how wonderful it is to give you things.
- Stress-Free Car Rides
- Happy Traveling
- Proper Crate Training
- Bringing Home Your New Dog
- Click and Treat - The Key to Successful Dog Training
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