Are you someone who likes to touch every piece of clothing in the store while you shop? Many of us unknowingly stick out our hand as we walk past a rack of clothes, stroking the sleeve of each garment.
Why do we do this? What is it about touching new things that lures us in? There may not be one answer that explains everyone’s unique curiosities. In general though, we try to understand the world through touch.
Well, your puppy has the same curiosity. She has the same instinct to make sense of her environment and the things that surround her.
But your puppy won’t feel compelled to extend a paw and feel every texture and surface that intrigues her. Dogs use their mouths to explore the world. Every item, big or small, deserves a sniff, lick, and a gnaw. Or in some cases, a lot of gnawing.
Even the best dog trainer in the world would not succeed in getting your dog to stop chewing. It is too instinctual and mentally stimulating for a dog to chew. Healthy dogs chew…a lot. Especially puppies.
Give your dog plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Sports and brain games are an excellent way to keep your dog engaged in something positive. Bored dogs are more likely to be destructive chewers because they have an excess of pent-up energy.
Crate train your dog. This gives him far fewer opportunities to chew up your stuff. By containing him in a crate with an appropriate chew toy, he will stay entertained and out of trouble.
Give your dog appropriate things to chew on! Between toys, bones and other natural chews, your dog should always have something nearby to gnaw on.
Which chews to avoid:
Raw hides are one of the worst things you can give your dog to chew on. They are highly processed and treated with a variety of toxic chemicals. Watch this video about the production of rawhides (beware if you’re squeamish): https://youtu.be/Oc265q0ZRss
Synthetic chews are typically made of nylon or plastic. Considering many dogs swallow parts of their chews, I advise you against giving these to your dog. There are so many natural alternatives worth checking out.
Natural chews should be at least the size of your dog’s head. Small tendons, ears, snouts, etc. pose a greater choking risk.