How to Stop my Dog from Chewing my Shoes
Chewing is a normal behavior in dogs, whether it’s the phase that they go through at around 3 to 6 months old, or the chewing that all dogs must engage in to maintain strong and healthy jaws. Dogs also chew to relieve anxiety, stress or through boredom, and this is where the problems begin to arise.
After a couple of months of joining Doggy Dans Dog Training resource website The Online Dog Trainer we have learned a lot and will continue to share the journey here and what we learned with our readers (check out this site.)
So how can you stop your dog from chewing your shoes while you are gone?
Issues stemming from anxiety and being left alone for too long can be easily dealt with by re-thinking how long leave your dog alone, leaving them with a friend of relative, or hiring a dog sitter to give them company when you cannot.
This may not always be possible, but there are ways to treat the anxiety itself in order to prevent chewing. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you can use counterconditioning to teach your dog to associate it’s fear – being home alone – with something positive, like tasty food. If he is no longer anxious to be on his own, then destructive behaviours like shoe-chewing should stop.
We also have the inevitable teething phase between 3 to 6 months of age, where puppies are likely to want to chew things to relieve the pain of their teeth coming through. It is crucial at this point that you teach them what is okay to chew and what is not, so that they learn the correct boundaries, and learn when to stop.
Getting this right at the start can save a lot of problems later on. To prevent your dog from chewing up your personal items, make sure they have plenty of alternatives. Provide them with lots of chew toys, doggy bones and even frozen items that they can chew as this will help relieve the pain. If you catch them chewing things that they should not be, sternly tell them no, and offer them one of these alternatives.
Other ways to manage chewing problems while training is still in progress include removing the temptation. If there are no shoes easily accessible, then your dog is far less likely to chew them. Keep such items out of reach until your dog is fully trained or counter conditioned. It’s a work in progres just like when we have to teach our dogs not to eat their blooming poop.
As mentioned, they should have plenty of their own chew toys and edible chews in place. If you can’t keep everything out of reach, you can use a chewing detergent spray. Try this on your dog by offering them some tissue with the spray. They should make the connection between the smell and the taste, and not want to put anything their mouth that smells like the spray after their initial experience. This can help protect your furniture or things that can’t be moved out of reach.
In any case, it is very important never to scold your dog for something he did if it was in the past. Dogs cannot make the connection between the punishment and a past action so will become confused and not understand what it is they did wrong. The only way to get dogs out of shoe-chewing habits is by positive reinforcement. Never forget this!
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