Be gentle! A few training books are still on the market that advocate inhumane methods for stopping destructive behaviors, such as putting duct tape around a pet’s mouth or physically hitting a dog. Needless to say, there is no excuse for such corrections. Not only are they extremely unfair, they’re ineffective. The use of proper management (for instance, crating a dog when he is not under your direct supervision), along with proper exercise, takes care of 99 percent of destructive behavior problems.
1. Rule out medical problems. The first step is to make sure that your puppy does not have any serious medical problems. Nutritional deficiencies caused by poor diet and/or intestinal parasitism can lead to pica which may be misconstrued as inappropriate chewing. Gastrointestinal problems may cause nausea which can trigger chewing as a coping mechanism. Therefore it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical condition that may be causing or contributing to the dog chewing.
Remember that there is no one chew that is right for every dog. For overweight dogs or those with sensitive stomachs, it may be best to stick with non-edible chew toys. For healthy but selective dogs, you might need to try a few different types of chews before you discover what works best for your dog. Overall healthy and non-discerning dogs will probably enjoy a little bit of everything. Just make sure no treat or chew makes up more than about 10 percent of your dog's diet.
To cut the barking, teach your dog a new habit. Pick a spot within sight of the door. Then teach her to lie down and stay when you say, "Go to your spot." That will help her stay calm and give her something to do while she waits to be greeted. Have a friend with a treat come to the door, but only open it when your dog is quiet. Do this enough and she’ll learn to chill out if she wants that treat.
So long as they’re not too flimsy, rubber chew toys often represent the safest options for many dogs. The best rubber chew toys are those that are firm enough to stand up to serious chewing, yet have enough “give” so they don’t cause tooth damage. Just make sure that the size of the toy is appropriate for your dog—the better toys come with a handy “size guide” on their packaging or on their website. Giving your dog a toy that's too small could lead to choking, while too large could lead to excessive strain and damage to their jaw and chewing muscles.
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The physical causes may need addressed by your vet. Your dog may need a dental cleaning or have a gum issue. The psychological causes may need addressed by a behaviorist if the above remedies do not seem to work. A dog behaviorist may help you learn tecniques to better train your dog and may recommend some medications. Do not try to address behavior issues on your own. For instance, if you tell an anxious dog to stop chewing furniture it may start chewing it’s own paws or chasing its tail instead.
If your dog gets upset when you leave, teach her that you'll always come back. At first, leave her alone for just 5 or 10 minutes. Stay away a little longer each time. Give her a chew toy and leave on the radio or TV. Be calm when you go and return so she knows that being alone is OK. Crate training can prevent this problem with some dogs. But it might not work with an anxious older dog. Ask your vet for advice.
4. Discourage inappropriate chewing. By following step two you will have already minimized the amount of mischief your young dog can get into. If you do find your dog chewing on something inappropriate correct the dog by taking the object away and scolding him. Direct his attentions to an appropriate chew object and give praise when he chews on said object. Gradually, your dog will learn what objects are his and which are not. Sometimes it can be difficult to discourage chewing if the pattern is already established. Taste deterrents such as bitter apple can applied to the object, the noxious taste will hopefully deter the determined chewer and he will learn to leave the object alone.
Other animal parts: These may be good or bad depending on the source. When in doubt, ask your vet about the safety of a chew. As a general rule, safer animal part chews include aortas, tendon, gullet, and tripe. Ears are more controversial as they are closer to rawhide as far as digestibility goes (plus, pig ears especially tend to contain a lot of fat). Some animal horns will soften when chewed and fray into small pieces that are digestible, but these should be used with caution.
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