Suzan J. Dexter, AKC Registered Canine Good Citizen Evaluator # 8219, Professional Member APDT #73757, Therapy Dog trainer and evaluator #051659, Professional Member ADOA, Founder & President RDOA, Professional Canine Behavioral Therapist, Canine Massage & Accupuncture Therapist, Emergency & Surgical Vet. Tech., working in the Veteriary field for 30 years, my partner is a licensed Veterinarian and available for consult, I am also very familiar with pharmacutical intervention when needed in conjuction with behavioral therapy.
Hi, My name is Suzan and I am a canine behavioral therapist, I'm happy to answer any behavioral questions you might have and can help you with any problems you are having with your dog, I would appreciate any donation you could make (typically my behavioral therapy costs starts at $30.00 an hour) I am able to consult over the phone for $9.00 per 1/2 hour. For Email consultations a min. donation of $9.00 would be much appreciated, it goes for a very good cause to help with our rescues-medical care, behavioral therapy, spay/neutering, microchip ID implants so the poor things will never end up in a shelter again, as well as finding the perfect homes for them after they have undergone behavioral therapy and basic obedience training, as well as worming and all vaccinations. It costs a lot of money per rescue dog that I take in, I keep them in my home rather than at our kennels at our animal hospital since they need to get used to living in a home and used to typical home noises. So your donations go to a great cause as well as helping your dog!!! Please email your behavioral questions to: email@example.com
Dog and Puppy Chewing
Canine Behavior Specialist: Suzan Dexter
Chewing, ripping, shredding, tearing up and generally destroying stuff is as normal for dogs as tail-wagging. If you have a dog, expect chewing. Provide plenty of toys and teach him how to use them or he will destructively chew anything available, such as your furniture, carpet, clothing or shoes.
Dogs do not chew and destroy your house and belongings because they are angry, jealous or spiteful. They do it because they are dogs. They may be lonely, bored, frustrated or anxious, but they are not malicious, vindictive or petty. Active dogs can become restless when left alone for long periods. If you always come home at a certain time, but are late one day, your dog may become anxious. He does not punish you for being late by destructive chewing. The dog’s chewing is a form of occupational therapy to relieve stress and release energy. If you come home and find that your dog has destroyed something, do not punish him.
Passive Training to Prevent Chewing Problems
Until your dog can be trusted not to destroy your home and yard, do not give him free, unsupervised run of your house. Give him a pleasant area or room of his own where he can enjoy himself and relax when you are not home or are unable to supervise him. Literally litter his room with a wide variety of toys. Since he will have no other choice of things to chew, he will learn to chew and play with his own toys. Make the toys enticing. Soak rawhide and long marrow bones in different flavored soups. Let them dry and give a different flavor to the dog each time you leave him alone. Sterilized marrow bones and rubber toys can be stuffed with liver treats or cheese. The dog will be entertained for hours trying to extricate the treats from the toy. Bury these toys in the dog’s digging pit.
Active Training to Prevent Destructive Chewing
When you are home, take time to teach your dog to play with her toys and to seek them out whenever she feels like chewing. Always lavish your dog with praise every time you see her playing with or chewing on one of her toys. Teach your dog to “find” her toys. Scatter several toys in different rooms throughout the house. Tell her to “find it,” then immediately lead her from room to room encouraging her to pick up a toy when she sees one. When she does so, reward with praise, affection, play and even a food treat, then continue the game.
Most destructive chewing occurs just before the owner returns home. The dog is anxiously anticipating the owner’s return and this energy is released by chewing. You can prevent your dog from indiscriminately chewing whatever is handy and instead chew her own toys. Whenever you return home, insist that your dog greet you with a toy in her mouth. At first you will have to help her by telling her to “find” her toy. Do not give your usual homecoming greeting until she has a toy firmly in her mouth. Within a few days, your dog will realize that you never say hello unless she has a toy in her mouth. Now when your dog starts anticipating your return, she will automatically begin looking for a toy with which to gain your greeting and approval when you do return. If a toy is already in her mouth, she will be likely to chew on it, rather than on the furniture, to release tension.
If you catch your dog in the act of chewing a forbidden item, you can sternly scold her with a verbal warning. Immediately direct your dog to one of her own toys and praise her for chewing it. This will teach your dog not to chew forbidden items when you are present, but it probably will not discourage the dog from investigating these items when you are not there. The only way to prevent your dog from chewing these things is to make them inherently unattractive. There are many products in pet stores that are designed to apply to furniture, etc that are safe but repulsive to dogs. Why chew on something that is boring, distasteful or unpleasant when there are plenty of fun, exciting and tasty things to chew on?
Common Sense and Chewing
By far the simplest way to keep your dog from chewing on forbidden items is to prevent access to them. Put your shoes in the closet and shut the door. Place the trash outside. Keep doors closed; keep valuables out of reach. Praise and reward your dog profusely for chewing her own toys.
Most people will always say “No!” to a pup caught chewing on a chair leg or other unacceptable item, however they do not show the puppy what is acceptable to chew on, I always recommend to my puppy people when they catch the puppy chewing on something unacceptable to give them an acceptable chew toy immediately following the “No!” or loud noise to stop the puppies chewing and startle them to stop then to immediately give them a chew toy, Durable Nylabones, Sterilized beef bones (the ONLY safe real bone), or a rubber Kong type toy are all great chew toys for teething puppies who NEED to chew! As soon as the puppy takes the acceptable thing in his/her mouth then make a huge deal out of it, praising the puppy and saying how good they are! Praise should always be giving in high tones, verbal warnings always given in low “growly” tones as mimicking the mother’s warning growls when they puppy is out of line, dogs respond far more to the tone of your voice than the actual words!
Cold raw carrots are also wonderful for teething puppies as are ice cubes. Also filling the sterilized beef bone or Kong type toy with peanut butter and freeze, makes a wonderful chew for teething puppies as it satisfies their need to chew as well as soothing sore gums during the teething process, in large breed dogs they will be teething for a min. of 12 months, the last of the teething process (12-14 months depending on the breed) is the hardest and most painful as the molars set into the jaw bone. As with all chews supervision is always advised.