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Top 5 Tips for Managing Chewy Dogs

Top 5 Tips for Managing Chewy Dogs

Top 5 Tips for Managing Chewy Dogs

Skirting boards, kid’s toys, shoes and more; they can all fall victim to the jaws of our canine companions. Destruction in your home brings heartbreak and tension between your family and your pet. Resolving the issue for owners and dogs alike is more complicated than just stopping the behaviour, and quick fixes rarely succeed.

Why is it so complicated? Chewing is a natural doggie pastime that is not only rooted in instinct but also provides multiple benefits to our dogs. Dental hygiene is improved, and some nutritional value can be found in certain items but most of all, chewing releases a flood of feel-good neurochemicals that help your dog feel more content and fulfilled. It reduces anxiety and provides an outlet for frustration. Chewing is a dog necessity and must be offered in some capacity to help keep your pup feeling good. So, here are our tips for managing the chewing behaviour while still needing your dog’s needs

A red merle Aussie Shepherd puppy lays on his tummy and licks dog food from a rubber toy in the shape of a drinks can. It is purple rubber. The puppy has his paw on the top of the toy, holding it while he licks the food out.
1. Rotate the Toy Collection: Think of your dog's toy box as a tool for increasing the value of toys. Dogs can get bored of their toys and if they are lying around the house, they lose the novelty factor that drives interaction and often a pup will be more likely to go for the new item that got left around (like the remote) than the old plastic bone they pass by every day. Swapping and rotating toys keeps their interest.

2. Choose Chew-Worthy Toys: Invest in top-notch chew toys that can handle the relentless gnawing. Consider toys made of natural rubber or sturdy nylon; even better if they can be used as treat dispensers or licking activities. Take it from Zenki, a spirited chewer. His favourite chew toy, the Nylon Vampire Bat, is holding up to some serious chewing. He even got a second one to bring to work with mum! The fishbone or nylon cheese are also great strong options!

Large black dog lays on his tummy, holding a strong nylon chew toy in the shape of a black bat. He is chewing intently on the toy.
3. Pup-Proof Your Home: Dogs explore the world with their mouths, and investigate objects by grabbing them with their teeth. From there, the likelihood of a chewing session increases exponentially. The best way to stop dogs rehearsing and reinforcing unwanted chewing behaviour is to properly secure the environment. If you can’t be there to watch them, then make sure you use barriers in the home to cordon off safe spaces. Until dogs can discriminate between their own chews and your belongings, you must have fair expectations and help them avoid mistakes.

4. Catch 'Em in the Act: When you spot your pup chewing on something they shouldn't, gently redirect their attention to an appropriate chew toy. Interrupting behaviour alone does not help a dog learn what you want them to do. You must take the lesson full circle with a ‘not that, this instead’ approach. Positive reinforcement is the secret sauce! ‘NO!’ is not a behaviour, it’s just an interrupter – your dog can’t learn how to ‘NO’, so always take those extra few seconds to redirect them on to something more appropriate.

A grey Staffordshire Bull Terrier is laying on the floor, licking and chewing a purple nylon dog chew in the shape of a butterfly.

5. Understand Your Dog's Frustration Levels: Every dog has their limits, just like humans. Sometimes well-meaning owners can make enrichment activities too difficult, causing the dog to resort to destructive chewing rather than licking the food out little by little. Frustration can also manifest from unmet needs for mental and physical activity. Excessive chewing is often a sign that your pup is feeling some frustration and you may need to address the activities you are offering, making them more frequent, less difficult, or more suitable for their breed, type, age, or ability.

Managing chewing habits takes patience, and remember, your pup is just trying to navigate the world in their own unique way. 🌍🐾

We have a range of chews to suit all types of chewers, but if you have questions or need more tips, feel free to reach out! We're here to help.

We would love to hear your own stories too!

*Tail Wags*
Katie & The Savvy Pet Co.

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