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Breed & Health Resources

Three Tips to Cure a Dog's Chewing


Embrace received an email from a caring pet parent about her dog's destructive chewing. With permission, we wanted to share it with you because as it has some helpful info on how to control chewing behavior:

While the pet owner's dog may appear well balanced and a model citizen now, this was not always the case. Those folks who knew her when the dog was an adolescent heard all of the stories about the mixed breed: part lab, part spawn of satan. It became a routine occurrence for people to offer her their sofas and mattresses before hauling them to the lawn, saying “I know your dog chews up furniture, so we thought you’d want a backup for next time.”

The pet owner's dog destroyed 2 mattresses and 3 couches before he was 2 ½ years old, among other things. No book, furniture, or undergarment was safe. To make it worse, crating him only drove him to become more destructive.

It took a lot of research, a lot of investigation, and a lot of trial and error with their mixed up mutt, but they have finally curbed his manic destruction, and he’s been a Recovering Chewer for 3 years now. Different methods work for different models, but here are three tips that they've called their cure for their dog’s chewing:

1. Bitter Apple Spray

Bitter Apple Spray is safe for use on furniture, walls, clothing, carpets - whatever your dog wants to rip to bits. The spray tastes like it sounds, and no sane dog would continue to chew after a sample of that. It’s available at your pet store, and also works to help deter dogs from licking at hot spots, or surgery sites.

2. Keep Your Comings and Goings Low Key.

When you leave your dog, don’t fuss, don’t whine, don’t baby them. As a matter of fact, make it a point to ignore them for about 20 minutes before you leave the house. When you come home, instead of a dramatic return, just let them outside, and when they’ve calmed down, you can acknowledge them with a polite, “hello, fido.” Don’t make a big deal out of it, and it’s likely they won’t either.

3. The More Exercise the Better 

A tired dog is a happy dog. It sounds so simple, but it’s probably the most important factor in improving a dog’s behavior. 30-60 minutes each day of walking, running, swimming, or agility training will keep a dog from releasing his energy and frustration at the expense of your belongings. I hate to say it, but just playing a game of fetch isn’t going to cut it for most dogs, and just letting your dog outside to roam the yard isn’t going to do it either. Keep your dog’s mind and body active during exercise time, and his mind and body will be too tired to raise a ruckus when he’s left unsupervised. Even my ‘middle aged’ dog needs his fast-paced mile walk every night.

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