How to stop unwanted chewing

Dogs and puppies love to chew. It is a very natural behavior for them and it is also good for their teeh and gums. What is important is to make it very clear what your dog/puppy can and can’t chew. Dogs or puppies don’t chew to upset you or get you angry.The important thing is to redirect the chewing from an object they may not chew to one they are allowed to chew. If you overreact and yell or chase them it will not have right effect and they might even think it is game, so read on learn how to redirect chewing and make your puppy/dog chew the right thing.

 

stop your dog chewing
stop your dog chewing

Be gentle with very young puppies

An 8 week old puppy needs to be treated with much more tolerance then a bigger puppy or adult dog.  With very young dogs focus should be on removing non-chewable objects or placing your puppy in a safe enclosed space with lots of toys around it.

The step by step solution                                                                          

  1. When your dog starts to chew something it shouldn’t,  move her away using her collar, and do not speak.
  2. If the item is in your dogs mouth, remove it calmly and show confidence, it is important not show weakness nor to speak. You should not give her to much attention as this can distract her from what you are trying to show her.
  3. Move the away and redirect her to something that she is allowed to chew like a toy or a stick.
  4. If she leaves her toy and starts chewing something else, move her away again and give her something else to chew.
  5. Repeat this a few times and if your dog refuses to stop chewing then isolate her in a safe place.
  6. Dogs learn from consequences of their actions….Your dog will soon learn what to chew and what not to.

comic dog chewing shoe

Important concepts

  • Stay calm. Avoid speaking, looking or touching your dog. Your dog must not be destracted by your attention.
  • Stay very calm and move slowly. You must avoid getting your dog exited.
  • When possible avoid leaving items around on the floor that your dog loves to chew. It is a very simple and practical way of avoiding the problem.
  • how your dog what she can chew by giving her all her toys either by hand into her mouth with the words “This is for Jackie”. You can also put the toys in her cage.

Remember: You do not actually stop your dog from chewing, you simply redirect the chewing to something your dog is allowed to chew

The most common mistakes

  1. Forgetting to redirect the puppy and give it something else to chew
  2. Shouting at the puppy/dog because it is easier in the short term
  3. Speaking and telling her off and therefore giving her lots of attention

Also…….

  • Change your dogs toys frequently, this will prevent them from getting bored.
  • Give your dog very soft toys she can get her teeth into – not just hard plastic ones
  • Anything can work, it does not have to be an expensive toy. A wet towel or piece wood can be just as much fun.
  • For very young puppies, a safe pen area is great. It becomes their place where they can safely chew whatever they want

In order to make this method work you need to establish yourself as the packleader. This is true to all dogtraining. Your dog need to see you as its leader. When you have established yourself as your dog’s leader then using simple methods like this will be easy. You can get your dog to stop chewing your things, stop digging, pulling the leash or anything else you want your dog to stop doing or whatever you want to teach your dog.

You see you can easily change your dogs behavior when he/she CHOOSE to follow you.

  • when your dog has CHOSEN to listen you, it will obey because dogs are pack animals and they will follow their leader.
  • As soon as your dog CHOOSES to obey you, then it will change its behavior very fast simply because it is part of its natural instinct to follow the packleader.

To learn how to establish yourself as your dog’s packleader I suggest you go to this site and sign up for a Free Video Course on how to train your dog.

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You CAN have the dog of your dreams!

Comments 53

  • This is great advise my friends dog chewed his settee up when he was out

    He is a shouter but she continues to chew when he’s out.
    whats the best advice you can give me to pass on as hes never about when chewing and once he returns his dog is just laying there casually like nothing has happened

    • If his dog is only chewing when he is away then there are a few things that can be done. One thing to do is to leave several objects that the dog is allowed to chew whenever he is leaving. He clearly need to show that dog is allowed to chew these objects. Another possibility is to spray taste deterents such as bitter apple on things he does not want the dog the chew. This makes the object “less chewable” for the dog. Smaller objects such as remote controls, wallets, shoes etc are better put away when leaving the dog alone.

      Finally if nothing else works, put the dog in a crate when leaving her alone and give her several chewable toys.

  • What a great post for those that suffer badly with having their stuff chewed or wrecked from a chewing dog. We had a pyrenean mountain dog which hated to be left and he did more than chew! We came back from shopping one day and we thought we’d been burgled. The whole of the carpet from the lounge to the dining room had been turned upside down. A dozen eggs from the kitchen were strewn all over the room. The toothpaste from the bathroom had been squeezed out everywhere. The music system was pulled off the shelf and was in kitform on the floor. All items from the kitchen tops were on the floor, most broken and a bottle of jif kitchen cleaner was emptied out onto the overturned carpet. The curtains were all off their rails. It was carnage.
    He was a great dog but we couldn’t leave him. We should have bought him a crate but I fear he would be strong enough to get out of one. Are you doing a post on separation anxiety? Great article. Ches

    • Hi and thanks for your comment. Yes I will soon do and article on separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is often the cause of chewing and destructive behavior. And again it comes down to the fact that the dog owner has to be the leader of pack. When a dog sees itself as the packleader he will be anxious for the rest of the family as he thinks he needs to keep an eye on them and protect them. If he is then separated from them he can not do that.

      If your dog sees you as the leader he will simply follow you and do as he is told.

      Cheers Jojo

  • I learned some interesting things from this post.
    The natural reaction is to yell and try stop the dog by telling it to stop. But this method makes sense.
    Having something your dog can chew is probably the most important advice.
    Thanks for this post.
    Keeping our furry friends happy is the ultimate goal. But having shoes to wear is also on my list of priorities.

    • Hi, thank you for commenting. Yelling hardly ever works when you want to stop your dog from doing something. The best way is to show them that you are unhappy with what they are doing (without yelling) and show them how to do it instead.

  • These are wonderful ideas! I don’t have a puppy, but I watch a friends dog frequently and she is a puppy who loves to chew. I am going to use your suggestions and hopefully direct her chewing to something she can chew on. Thank goodness she does listen to me … more so than her owners. So we have that established already 🙂

    • Dogs really do Need to chew, it is all natural to them and it is good for their teeth and gums as well but of course you need to teach them what they can chew and what they can’t, If your friends dog listens more to you than her owners then your friend needs to show her dog that she is the packleader otherwise it will be very hard to train her. Her is my post on how to become the packleader: http://dogtrainingeasily.com/?s=how+to+become+the+packleader

  • I think this was a very well written article and is informative. You hit on all the points I would expect (being a dog owner and lover myself) so well done! However, not knowing how you plan to monetize your site I can’t get a read on what it is you are selling or how you plan to make money off of it so really I can only comment on the content of your post! If the give-away is designed to increase site traffic then you should dedicate more space and text to that topic.

    • If you check the affiliate links on this page they will take you to the online dog trainer. This is Clickbank product aiming to teach you how to train your dog using a number of instructive videos, like the shown on this page. There is also a members forum at the Online Dogtrainer where you can ask questions and the get answer by the dog trainer Doggy Dan. What do you suggest I should add to to this post?

      Thank you for your input.

      Jojo

  • These are all great tips on stopping your dog from chewing on items it shouldn’t. I think one of the main problems this might not work for people, like you mentioned, is that people don’t give the dog another object instead, to change its focus on what it is allowed to chew. Im not sure if I can follow these tips for the problem I have having with my dog, but I will ask you anyway. She chews her paws and it is super annoying! I am not sure if it is a bad habit or a compulsive behaviour, but would following these tips help her stop it? Thanks

    • This method might work for your dog. It depends why she is chewing her paws. Try this method and if it does not work, there are a few other things to consider. For example skin irritation. Dry skin can make a dogs paws itchy. Small wounds or warts on the paws can have the same effect. Is she anxious or nervous? This might also cause a dog to bite her paws (sort of like we humans chew our nails). Allergy could also be the cause of chewing. Like you say it can also be bad habit or compulsary behavior. Check these things out and if you do not manage to stop it then maybe you should consider consulting a veterinarian.

      If there is anything else I can help you with, do not hesitate to ask.

      Good luck

      Jojo

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the info. I’ve been struggling with this for a while but I’ve finally started to get the results I wanted.

    My biggest mistake at first I think was just talking to much which you have reiterated here. I like to think of it like a mother of a puppy. When a puppy does something that it’s mother doesn’t like, the mother calmly grabs the puppy by the neck and directs it somewhere else.

    That is how puppies learn and that’s exactly how I’ve been trying to behave. Especially when the puppy doesn’t know any verbal commands yet.

    Thanks again and I’m going to take you up on those free videos.

    Robert

    • Thank you for your comments. You are absolutely right. We humans tend to forget that dogs are dogs and humans are humans. Dogs does not speak our language so we need to make them understand using other methods (at least until they know the command you are teaching them). Your example of the mother and the puppy is spot on, so this is the method we need to copy. Giving a dog too much attention when it has done something wrong distracts it and prevents from understanding what it should be doing instead.

  • Hi Jojo,

    What a nice article, I really enjoyed the reading!
    I have two big dogs, and they chewed all my shoes:(
    I didn’t know what to do anymore with this problem until I came across your website. The suggestions you have given are just what I was looking for!
    I really thank you for this. It will help me a lot:)
    I have bookmarked your website so I can use it as a guideline later. I am sure I will find other useful articles!
    Thank you!

    • Hi Daniella,

      thank you for your kind words. I am really happy you enjoyed the article and I am pretty sure you can solve your dog’s chewing problem by following the method showed by doggy dan in the video (and in my article). More posts are added all the time and if you need any help feel free to contact me and I will do what I can to help.

      All the best and good luck.

      Jojo

  • This is a very helpful website concerning how to be patient with animals. I am an animal lover and I agree with having your dog respect you and look at you as the leader of the pack. It helps for the dog to realize where his or her place is and who is the boss. Puppies will always need to chew more than an older dog because until they lose their baby teeth and yes baby teeth this will be a concern. As adult hood approaches chewing does seem to tapper off but some dogs not always the case. Some might do it out of boredom or stress this is something you have to solve and be patient. Great information for someone who is just starting to train their little puppy.

    • Thank you, dogs will always chew, it is part of their nature, it is just a question of redirecting their attention to something they are allowed to chew. To do this you need to have yourself established as the packleader otherwise they will not listen to you. Like you say, a dog who knows who is the leader will be much calmer and relaxed and is far less likely to do silly things.

      As for puppies they need to chew more and care must be taken when they are teething as want to chew and bite everything they get hold of.

  • This is how we trained our Chocolate lab. It was such an easy transition. We simply took away what he wasn’t allowed to chew and replaced it with his Kong. We then engaged with him and played with him and his toy. He realised he was allowed to nurture his normal need to chew but he had his own chew toys. Super cool to see happen. We have never had him chew on something we didn’t want in the house after he learned what was his and what wasn’t. Love your teaching!

    • Well done, seems like you know how to put this in to practice. Many people struggle a lot with dogs chewing up all of their belongings but just like you found out, it is an issue rather simple to deal with. Just show the dog what i may chew and what it may not chew.

  • My dog always seems to be chewing his way through his toys. I love what you have put here. Our dog actually belongs to our young daughter, but he seems to listen more to me and my husband. So I will definitely be putting these direct commands into effect. Once he finds a toy he likes, he won’t stop until all the cotton in the toy has been eroded into bits.

    • Yes this is really the way to stop him from chewing valuable things. To give him things he is allowed to chew and redirect his attention from what he is not allowed to chew to his chewable toys. If the dog listens more to you and your husband then your daughter have some work to do. She has to establish herself as the packleader of her dog. Once she has done that, the dog will listen. Here is the link to a post I wrote on how to becme the packleader:

      http://dogtrainingeasily.com/?s=how+to+become+the+packleader#

  • This is very good advice for dog owners, I used to own a basset hound. She didn’t chew on everything, the problem I had with her is that I couldn’t house break her. No matter what I did, she just didn’t want to poop outside.
    Thank you for your review, I will keep it in mind next time we get a dog.

    • You are welcome. Chewing, housebreaking, pulling the leash, all sort of dog problems can be solved. You just need to find out why your dog does what he/she does and then use a few simple techniques to solve the problem. It is not difficult once you know how but there are a few things to learn and to keep in mind. How to become the packleader is one of them. This is because a dog will not listen to you unless it sees you as its leader. Then you also need to find a way to communicate with your dog. Dogs do not speak our language so we must find ways to make the dog understand what we want. Finally dogs are canine, humans are humans. An act that means something to us might mean something completely different to a dog. Therefore it is important to learn how dogs think and function.

      I hope this makes sense.

      Cheers,

      Joakim

  • VERY good information! I keep a lot of chew sticks on hand for my two little guys. It keeps them happy, and they don’t’ chew on anything else….usually. You have great tips and I do most of them. Its interesting you mention the towels or wood. I also take care of dogs in my home, so I see a lot of different toys owners bring for their pets. I have one regular that likes to play on a rag with a knot in it. Doesn’t want fancy toys, just his knotted rag.

    • Thank you. Often, a rag or a stick will work as well or even better than a fancy toy. Also, using fancy toys for chewing can turn out expensive as some dogs “chew them up” quickly.

  • Great advice about chew problems. So many dog owners don’t understand how to manage this behaviour.
    Its almost like the owner needs to be trained first before the dog has a chance to learn correct behaviour

    I used to have a totem tennis game set up in the puppy play pen. It gave them something to chew and chase when I wasn’t around to play with them.
    Dogs love to behave well for their owners.

    • Good points. When I got a German Shepherd (see about me page) years I sure could have used some training. Owners need to be trained on how to train their dogs. If a dog does not understand his/her masters command then how can we expect it to change its behavior.

      The totem tennis game seems like a good idea, i am sure a puppy can get a real good workout that way. I will share your tips with others.

      Thank you!

      Jojo

  • This is rally great advice! I wish I had seen this when my dod was a puppy! My dog chewed *everything* when he was a pup – one time he even ate 1/2 a bag of wood stove pellets while we were out. This was terrible for his stomach (as you might imagine). HIs chewing was so bad that his baby teeth were all gnarled and sticking out at off angles! Thankfully he outgrew this phase and only chews on his toys now.

    I will pass this site on to a friend of mine who just got a puppy. So far, he hasn’t had any chewing mishaps though 🙂

    • Thank you, yes unwanted chewing is a very common problem especially when puppies are teething. How did you stop your dog from chewing? Or did he just stop as he grew older? If he only chews his toys now then this an example of redirecting the chewing onto something he is allowed to chew, such as his toys.

  • Great article about how to stop unwanted chewing by dogs. My best friend has two dogs and while they don’t necessarily chew on a lot of things, what does tend to happen when they are by themselves is that they like to get into a small trash can, take stuff out of it and chew on them.

    I will definitely show them this and the video on there so that they can learn easy ways to get them stop chewing on unwanted things from the trash (moving the trashcan does help too, lol!)

    • Dogs often do things like this when they are left alone. They get bored and tries to find something to play with. Like you say moving the trash can and leaving a toy for them to play with might do the trick.

  • Great article from Healthy Happy Dog website. You’re correct on many points and I love how you give step-by-step instructions to follow so the experience is a natural progression of what is acceptable and not acceptable. I think there are a couple of other points to make here and that is 1) puppies chew because it is their natural instinct to do so but they also do it because they are teething. 2) Dogs need lots of different toys to chew on. Many different sizes, flavors, colors, shapes, or textures. Like children they get bored after awhile with the same toys. Great post and I plan to visit your site often as it has lot’s of great articles. Thanks for letting me visit!

    • Thank you for adding your input to this article. It is a natural instinct for a dog or puppy to chew but sometimes we humans tend to forget that and all we think of is the destruction it is causing. Dogs come from another world but they live in ours and sometimes this creates problems. The solution is often the one presented here, you find another alternative for your dog, something it can chew, bite or play with. Puppies teething reminds me a lot of babies getting their first teeth. The main difference here being the strength of a puppy’s jaw and their sharp teeth, but otherwise they are babies and need to be treated as such.

      More articles are coming soon and you are welcome to visit or to write to me any time you like

      Jojo

  • Wonderful advice given about how to prevent unwanted chewing. I love the stay calm advice, even though it might be something precious to you. I was wondering does taking a dog for a walk decrease the amount of chewing or does it have no effect on the bad behavior? I was thinking that walking the dog might burn off excessive energy and elevate chewing. Thanks!

    • Well, exercising can decrease the amount of chewing because just like you say, burning off excessive energy will make a dog calmer and therefore less inclined to destructive behavior. So exercise and walking is certainly part of the solution but your dog must also learn that it can not chew certain things and if you give your dog an alternative object to chew on and are able to teach him/her what he/she is not allowed to chew then you have a complete solution to your problem.

  • Loved this article on how to redirect your puppies and dogs away from what they shouldn’t chew, to what is acceptable for them to actually chew! I appreciate how you laid out the steps for what we, as dog owners, should do to redirect our pet’s attention to the more appropriate chew toys. I tend to lose patience much of the time! Thank you for reaffirming that we should stay calm, and let our dogs know that we are in control! Wonderful information-thank you!
    Blessings:)
    Suzi

    • You are welcome, I am happy you liked the article. No doubt patience is important when training a dog. Just think of children, they do require a lot of patience. Then think of a puppy, another creature all together who has strong instincts telling it what to do and on top of that, might have problems understanding what you mean when you are giving it instructions. No wonder you loose patience some time.

      Dogs really do tend to mirror our feelings. So when you feel calm, confident and reassured, your dog will feel the same way.

      Kindest regards,

      Jojo

  • When your dog starts chewing something why is it important not to speak? Do you lose control of your puppy or dog by shouting at them? What do you do about a dog that chews on furniture not toys? How do you handle a dog chewing and it’s not your dog for some reason like it’s your girlfriend’s dog or friends dog?

    • The reason why it is soo important not to speak is that your dog will be distracted if you speak or shout at them. Of course when you stop them from chewing something they are not allowed to chew you have to firmly say no, but this is it. Simply lead them away and show them what they are allowed to chew and praise them when the chew the right thing. If a dog chews furniture you just use the same technique, Firmly say no, lead them away and give them something they are allowed to chew.

      If it is not your own dog, then you still have to show this dog that you rank higher than him or her. If a dog consider you to be higher in the hierarchy he or she will listen to you. If they don’t, they will propably ignore you.

  • Wow. I’m really impressed with the information given here. Growing up with our dogs (three dachshunds), we often just used the “growl back and get after them” method and it really only worked short term. We didn’t have any issues with chewing because my mom only gave them things they were able to chew on, but we did have issues with asserting dominance. Do you have a way to do that without having a “growling and staring” contest after they’ve acted up? I knew that you have to be seen as the leader, but what is the best way to do that?

    • The best way to show your dog that you are the leader is to act like one. This means you have to lead and your dog will follow you. This means for example that you and your family eat before your dog. When you leave your house, you go first and your dog follow you. The same goes when walking. Your dog should walk beside you and not be allowed to pull and drag you all over the place. Dogs are sort of wired like this: If they have any doubts about who is the leader then they will take that role. Therefore you must make it very clear that you are the leader of the pack. Here is an article I wrote about being the “Packleader”.

      How to Become The Packleader of My Dog

  • Thanks for your advice. We have two dogs, one is very well behaved and responds to us.
    The other is a little bit of a rascal, and takes a lot more effort to control. Although we could hire him out as a sock finder lol. He loves bringing me my socks.
    I’ve found your posts to be very helpful for us!
    Much appreciation
    Craig

    • I am glad you like my posts. More are coming soon and if there is anything I can do to help just drop me a line and I will do what I can to help you.

      Jojo

  • Hi! This is great information to know for any dog owner! I have a Golden Retriever who does indeed LOVE to chew . . . especially paper . . . even paper that happens to be a $20 bill that I just earned. Huh. 😛

    Keep the information coming as it’s very helpful!

    • Yeah dogs like to chew almost everything and they can’t see what is valuable or not. You can however to teach them what they are allow to chew and what they may not chew.

      More information is coming, thanks for your input.

      Jojo

  • Once my dog chewed up the whole shoes in my shoe case and I had to take him to the dentist! thanks for the great advice for keeping him busy. A must see site for the pet owners. may be you can write more about preventive measures for other issues relating dogs too. I would love to follow up on that.

    • Hi there and thanks for the idea,

      Preventive measures for avoiding this kind of thing would be a good subject for a post. However it must then be several posts covering several different subjects and situations.

      Cheers,

      Jojo

  • Very interesting article – thanks for this.

    I remember we had one dog, this was many years back, who became addicted to chewing her own paws. It was something that occurred gradually during her adulthood. She was quite a nervous dog and chewing her paws seemed to relieve the nervousness – in the same way that a human might smoke a cigarette.

    Unfortunately, her paws ended up becoming very raw and painful, and there was always the risk of infection. We never did quite ween her off the habit.

    • Hi, I am glad you liked the article.

      The dog you had, who was chewing its paws reminds of people who constantly bite their nails (often when they are nervous) It is a compulsive behavior which sometimes can be difficult to get rid off.

      You say, your dog was quite nervous and that she probably chewed her paws because of that. In this case, the best cure might have been to try deal with her nervousity. If you can figure out why a dog is nervous (it could be a number of things, fear, separation anxiety etc) then you might be able to stop the paw chewing and maybe redirect the chewing to something else, like in the video.

      Cheers,

      Jojo

  • I love this article and I liked the way you mentioned not to shout at the dog which is a common mistake that most people make. I stayed at a womans house quite recently whos dogs kept chewing her sofa and she would scream at it. I will definitely be showing this to her to help her out a bit.

    • You are absolutely right, Screaming at a dog will only get it exited and it will certainly not listen to you. When correcting a dog, it is necessary to have a firm voice but there is no point in shouting. Many people just do not know how dogs function and they get frustrated and scream at their dogs. 

      I am certain this could help the woman you are mentioning and if more help is needed then feel free to contact me and I will do what I can to help.

      Jojo

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