How to Stop Your Dog Chewing
Chewing is natural behaviour for a dog. It stimulates them mentally and physically and it's good for their teeth.
So, you don't want to stop your dog chewing, but you do want to stop him chewing the wrong things.
There are a number of things you can do to stop a dog from chewing your precious belongings. You want to protect your property but also stop your dog from swallowing something harmful.
The obvious first thing to do is to remove temptation. When you leave home, or even go to bed, isolate your dog from things he can damage. Put him in a crate or confine him to a part of the house behind baby gates. When you're at home with your dog try not to leave shoes, wallets or other chewy items lying around.
Make sure your dog gets enough mental and physical stimulation. He should have regular daily walks, preferably through different areas where he can explore.
Observe your dog closely. When you think is about to start chewing something forbidded, substitute a chewy toy. In other words, redirect the behaviour. Think carefully about what you give him to chew. You definitely don't want to give him an old shoe or sock. This will just encourage him to chew the very things he should not be chewing. Do not give your dog plush toys unless they have been specifically designed for this purpose.
Direct his attention to something he can chew
If you give your dog bones to chew, be very careful about the types of bones you choose. Raw bones are better than cooked bones but even these need to be given with careful supervision. Do not leave uncooked bones lying around your house. They can spread harmful bacteria. Confine the bones to an area which is easily cleaned.
There is a huge variety of chewy toys for dogs. You should buy a few of these and rotate them for variety. Puzzle toys like the Kong are considered to be some of the best toys to stop your dog from getting bored. Don't leave the toys lying around when your dog is not using them. This will help maintain the dogs interest each time he sees them. It is worth paying a bit extra to get really good quality toys so that your dog can't bite bits off and swallow them.
If you catch your dog in the act of chewing something he shouldn't, discipline him. Don’t use physical punishment or any form of cruelty. You may be angry, but don’t take you anger out on the dog. It is no good trying to discipline the dog after the act. He will not understand what he is being disciplined for.
Teaching your dog the drop command is very useful. If you catch him chewing something, you don't want to engage in a tug of war to get that thing away from him. He would just view that as a game.
In summary, a dog that gets plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation is much less likely to exhibit destructive behaviour. As with all dog training, patience and repetition are the keys to success.