A dog’s jaw muscles are among his strongest. An average-sized Golden Retriever can untie the knot in a rawhide bone (or just chew it off) in minutes. If only they’d stick to those!
The tendency to chew will vary from one breed – and one individual – to another. But most dogs love chewing and will chew on objects in and around the house. Chewing can be a very serious problem so it is important to teach your dog what things he can chew on. Keeping him focused on objects intended for him is a continuous challenge!
Why Do Dogs Chew On Things?
Chewing is natural dog behaviour. Dogs explore things through their jaws like we explore things with our hands.
Puppies chew when they are teething. During the age of 3 to 7 month the milk teeth of your pup are replaced by adult ones. Chewing is a natural way to relieve the pain and uncomfortable feeling of teething. Although this chewing phase will pass automatically, it is better to learn your puppy already what items he can chew on and what things are taboo for him.
Dogs can also be destructive because they are bored. Boredom is one of the main causes why dogs start chewing. Chewing is a form of entertainment for a dog as he can not do many other things when he is alone.
In addition to boredom, (separation) anxiety can also cause destructive chewing. If you think (seperation) anxiety or stress are causing your dogs inappropriate chewing behaviour, you need to find professional help. Thanks to their knowledge and experience, professionals can better assess the behaviour of your dog and recommend suitable professional training.
How to prevent destructive chewing?
It is important to prevent your dog chewing on inappropriate objects and to redirect your dogs natural chewing behaviour to appropriate chew toys.
In the beginning, the responsibility is completely yours. You have to “manage the environment” and “puppy proof” your house. This rule is very simple : if you don’t want it chewed, put it out of reach of your dog!