Puppies tend to exhibit what we would consider to be destructive behaviors, and biting and chewing are examples. But those who are getting used to having a dog in their home need to remember that these behaviors are similar to those exhibited by toddlers and are just the puppy’s way of exploring the world. So, while toddlers tend to grab everything with their hands, puppies use their mouths.
Something else to be aware of is that puppies have very sharp teeth from the age of about six weeks until their adult teeth come in, and they can do quite a bit of damage when they are chewing things. The good news is that most dogs will have lost all their deciduous teeth (the equivalent of human baby teeth), by the age of six months. Generally, they do not feel the need to chew everything at this stage. However, some dogs will continue to chew everything they have access to, and this includes more than just their toys. So, what causes this and is there anything you can do about it?
What Causes Dogs to Chew?
It is important to remember that chewing is normal for dogs. This is something that they do to keep their jaws and teeth healthy. It is also a way for them to relieve any boredom they might be experiencing; this is where destructive chewing could become a problem.
The good folk at Voyager Harness say that some dogs will chew when they are left alone. The stress of being separated from their owners can result in a variety of behaviors that could include continuous barking, pacing, whining, and chewing. It is not unusual for owners to come home and find that their pet has chewed through everything they could get their teeth on, including shoes, remote controls, and even their own dog harness or leash.
There are numerous ways to deal with dog separation anxiety. Special chew toys are available that are made from stiff rubber and that can be filled with treats such as dry kibble or doggy peanut butter. This will give your dog something to do while you are away as well as something suitable to chew on too.
Some dogs learn to chew in order to get a treat. This is a mistake that many people make when they get a puppy. The puppy chews because his teeth are sore and chewing relieves the pain. Unless he is taught what he can and cannot chew, everything is fair game. Some owners will try to distract their pet from chewing something that he should not by giving him a treat to chew on instead. So the dog learns that by chewing a chair leg or a remote control, for example, he will soon get a tasty treat to nibble on. It would be better for the owner to give the dog a chew toy rather than a treat.
If your dog is a chewer, it is best to find ways to manage this. Never give your dog an old shoe to chew on and then expect him to be able to tell the difference between the old shoe and a new one. Make sure that your dog is not left to his own devices for lengthy periods of time and that there are no objects near to him that he might decide to chew out of boredom.
Remember, chewing is a normal behavior for dogs, but it is your responsibility to ensure that he learns what he can chew and what he cannot from a very young age.
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