Chewing is no joke. It may be one of the single most annoying things that a dog does, and if it’s not curbed or redirected quickly, you can end up with some pretty expensive collateral damage.
Keep in mind that chewing is normal, and necessary, for dogs.
Puppies chew to explore their world and ease pain from teething.
Older dogs’ chewing is necessary for good dental health. Some dogs chew due to stress or anxiety.
No matter the reason, if your dog has focused his chewing energy on your furniture, it needs to be stopped, and fast, especially when it comes to your expensive furniture!
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How to train your dog to stop chewing your furniture
If you’ve got a furniture chewer, give these tips a try and save yourself the pain and aggravation of having to repair or replace items in the future.
- Proper exercise is critical. Destructive chewing often occurs when a dog is bored. Always check with your vet before increasing your dog’s exercise level; if you’re in the clear, healthy dogs typically need at least 30 minutes of exercise twice a day. Time outside is great, but even playing fetch inside the house with a favorite toy will get your dog moving. Tire out your dog with exercise, and you’ll have many fewer issues with her chewing items she shouldn’t.
- Offer appropriate bones & chew toys. Since some amount of chewing is beneficial for dogs, make sure you give them appropriate toys on which to chew. Dental bones are great – this one made by Hartz is my dogs’ favorite, but there are lots of great options. Plush chew toys are also a good bet for puppies or older dogs who may have more sensitive teeth. The key with chew toys is redirection. As soon as you see your dog headed for the furniture, firmly say no, and give him the toy he is allowed to chew. Many dogs, after only a few redirections, will get the hang of it.
- Invest in anti-chew spray. Just like the unpleasant tasting nail polish that deters nail biting, anti-chew spray’s bitter taste will discourage your dog from chewing on whatever item has been sprayed. Do be careful with the spray on wood items that may be damaged by water.
- Go the cheaper route with petroleum jelly & cayenne pepper. When I was a kid, we had two puppies at the same time, and they both liked to chew furniture. My grandfather suggested that we put a very small amount of petroleum jelly on the items the dogs were chewing and then cover the petroleum jelly with cayenne pepper. It worked like a charm – the chewing stopped almost immediately. Pro tip – make sure the water bowl is full and accessible!
- Crate train. Until you are confident that your dog’s chewing is only focused on appropriate items, you might want to crate train for when you leave the house or are unavailable to keep a close eye on her. Many dogs take so well to crate training that they choose to go in their crates on their own as their own personal sanctuary!
Don’t leave chewing to chance. You don’t need to wait for your dog to destroy something to encourage good chewing habits. Give these tips a try – you, and your furniture, will be glad you did!