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Most of us know that puppies chew up stuff. This common problem is annoying, expensive, and potentially even dangerous.
Just because it’s normal for puppies to chew doesn’t mean all is lost. In today’s Ask A Behavior Consultant, we’re covering how to deal with dogs that chew up everything.
“My 11 month old Chihuahua mix has a habit of getting into things and chewing them up. For example; the window sill, a rope elephant, electrical cords, shoes, socks, and toilet paper!”
– Sincerely, Chewy Chihuahua
If you’re dealing with a dog who chews up the house, be sure to check out the following resources from Journey Dog Training:
- My dog chews on stuff when he’s home alone
- My dog eats everything
- Stop your dog from stealing food and digging in the trash
- Kong fillers other than peanut butter
- Our email and text support subscription packages.
- Our 15-minute and one-hour phone consultations or video training sessions.
How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing Up the House
Luckily, many dogs chew less and less as they get older. But we can’t just wait out the problem. At 11 months old, this pup should be old enough to not be chewing everything up!
We can use tools like Bitter Apple Spray to help us with dogs that chew up stuff. However, this is only a deterrent. It doesn’t really change the underlying behavior – it just makes your dog stop chewing on the stuff that smells or tastes bad!
Here’s how to stop a dog from chewing up the house.
- Put stuff out of reach. If your dog can’t reach it, she can’t chew it. This might mean a big clean-up effort, daily pick-ups before work, or putting your dog in an exercise pen when you can’t be watching. Honestly, many people just do this step and that’s it! There’s nothing wrong with that.
- Give your dog something better to chew on. Many dogs chew just as a way to pass time. If your dog has some puzzle toys or hard chewies that taste amazing to chew on instead, she’s unlikely to go for the less-tempting things like paper and cords.
- Let your dog shred an old phone book or tear apart a cereal box to find treats! Letting her express her natural behavior in a controlled way is one of the best ways to solve this problem.
- Redirect her if you catch her chewing. In theory, your dog can’t chew on anything that’s off-limits because it’s out of reach (because you followed the advice I gave in #1). But mistakes happen.
- If you see your pup chewing on something unwanted, call her over to you for a treat. Don’t chase her down (which can be scary or turn into a game of keep-away, neither of which is good). Instead, call her over and toss a treat. She’ll go get the treat, and you’ll retrieve the item. Then give her a puzzle toy to work on instead.
If you’re concerned that your dog’s chewing behavior seems extreme or extra-hard to fix, talk to a vet who’s savvy about behavior and GI health.
Sometimes, excessive chewing is actually a sign of an upset stomach, GI issues, diet imbalance, or serious underlying stress.
For most dogs, these three steps are all you need!
Kayla founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant who’s worked with hundreds of private clients, thousands of shelter dogs, and dozens of working detection dogs. Kayla’s dog and cat behavior advice has been featured in NPR, the Chicago Tribune, and Pet MD. She’s an avid adventurer who is currently doing #vanlife on the Pan-American Highway with her two border collies and a cat. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams. You can get 1:1 advice with a Journey Dog Training team member here.
My dog has caused thousands of dollars in damage on seven separate occasions chewing through drywall because of thunder, fireworks and a neighborhood drug bust where flasbang devices were use. Thunderstorms are no match for Walter
July 4th and New Years are hell at my house. Worse yet I live in Tucson in the monsoon season. When it says 20% chance of rain it just means its a crap shoot whether a storm is coming or not. I dont want to sedate my dog for three months of every year. I also don’t want to put him down. Where can I go that has no thunder and no fireworks. EVER
Hi Bibi, there are some neighborhoods that have lots of noise ordinances and very few storms. If you’re actually considering moving, somewhere like that may be a good choice. Have you talked to your vet about medications that reduce anxiety without changing your dog’s personality? They can be extremely helpful.