Dogs like to chew, that is why the pet stores are full of chew toys and other items for them to exercise this need. Puppies are even worse because they usually teethe around 6 months causing them to chew on any and everything.
Dogs especially like things with human scent and shoes and underwear are favorite items and very bad for your dog if they eat them (think major vet bills). Older dogs may be simply bored or worse may have separation anxiety. Dogs live in the now so if they look guilty when you come home and they have chewed a book, for example, it's because they sense your anger or frustration— they will not associate you shaking the chewed item at them and shouting with the earlier activity of them having had a lovely chew!
What you should not do:
1. Do not blame the puppy/dog if you left your glasses out (or shoes, etc.) and they now have tooth marks or are ripped to shreds: blame yourself for not putting the item away.
2. Don't shout or hit the dog! This accomplishes nothing but making your dog fearful and anxious and more likely to chew again.
What you should do:
1.Tidy up and put out of reach items when the dog is loose and especially when left alone.
2. If the problem suddenly started get your dog checked by a veterinarian in case it has a tooth problem or another health issue.
3. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.
4. Provide age appropriate chew toys (a puppy's needs will be diferent from older dogs)
5. Consider interactive dogs puzzles (there are many different types) in which dry food is hidden.
6. Teach you dog to TRADE so they happily give up an item when caught with it rather than you chase them over the house which just becomes a fun game (for the dog!).
7. Consider crate training or restricting your dog to a smaller area of the house when you are out.
What are appropriate chew toys?
There are many but a few of my favorites are:
1. Kongs™ stuffed with peanut butter and frozen over night (these come in puppy, regular and extreme types and variety of sizes)
2. Antlers— deer, moose and elk (sustainable, odor free and long lasting)
3. Kong Wobblers™ you fill these with dog kibble and the dog has to figure how to get food out—not so much a chew toy but wonderful fun for your dog!
IMPORTANT: Do not leave dogs with hide bones or other items that may be swallowed when alone.
If your dog is chewing (furniture, dry wall, doors, etc) call an expert right away for immediate help —dogs are not usually destructive in a major way and seprartion anxiety cases need special help.
Remember if you dog chews on your glasses, slap yourself and give your dog a nice Kong™ toy!
And call an expert who can help you solve your dogs chewing problems.
Elaine Rinicker, ABC-Certified Dog Trainer
Dog training and problem solving through positive interaction and consistency for happy owners and their furry friends.
813 817 9891