CLIPSTERS & CO ADVICE - How can I train my dog to stop chewING the furniture?
(2 minute read)
Dogs have a natural tendency to chew, especially as puppies. It’s important, however, to train them not to chew on inappropriate items such as furniture, shoes or precious heirlooms. Chewing is an inherited instinct and a key part of how a dog understands and interacts with the world around them. As such, it shouldn’t be discouraged completely. Instead, it should be managed. With training and genetle encouragement you can stop them chewing the furniture and get them to focus on something healthier (and less expensive).
Here are some tips on how to train a dog not to chew the wrong things:
- Provide appropriate chew toys: make sure your dog has access to an assortment of good quality chew toys. For example, rubber toys (try to find natural rubber and sustainable options), rope toys, and our conch shell toy. This will give them an outlet for their chewing needs. A good toy should be durable, tacticle, and resistant to splintering or fracturing. Be aware, though, that nothing is completely indestructable. Keep an eye on your dog’s toys. If they show signs of damage in a way that suggests they could splinter or break into small pieces, remove the toy immediately.
- Supervise your dog: keep an eye on your dog, especially when they are in a new environment or around new objects. If you see them chewing on something they shouldn’t, redirect them to a toy.
- Use positive reinforcement: when your dog chews on an appropriate item, praise and reward them with a treat and/or verbal praise. This will reinforce the behavior you want to see. It’s also a part of a wider training regime. Punishing your dog, or trying to bribe them with a treat will have limited, or even negative, long-term effects.
- Block access to inappropriate items: try to block your dog’s access to items they shouldn’t chew on. Use baby or puppy gates, or simply close doors to rooms where those items are located. Give them alternative rooms to play, eat or sleep in.
- Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation: make sure your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and anxiety. Destructive chewing is often a sign of frustration or boredom. Keep them engaged. Vary the toys, treats and exercise routes you use. If you need to leave your dog alone for a period, make sure they have access to toys, food, water and space. You can even experiment with games, snuffle mats, hidden treats, and automated food dispensers.
- Train your dog to “leave it”: teach your dog the “leave it” command. This will help them understand that they should not chew on certain objects. To do this, hold a treat in your hand and say “leave it.” When your dog ignores the treat, reward them with a different treat and/or praise. Like all training, this takes time and patience but you will start to see results if you persist.
Remember that any training takes time, and it’s important to be consistent with your training efforts. Dogs are individuals, and it can be important to understand why they might be chewing things. If you’re having difficulty, consider working with a professional dog trainer to develop an effective plan for your individual dog.
If you have any experience of unwanted chewing or have any tips for controlling it, why not comment below.