Dogs don’t chew your carpet, shred your couch or tear things up because they are mean, malicious or angry, it’s just that they are – DOGS. When dogs are left alone for too long the temptation to chew your belongings is higher.
Dogs that feel neglected, lonely, bored or anxious are more likely to search and find an outlet for his feelings. Punishing the dog is ineffective, prevention is the key.
As long as you cannot trust your dog 100%, don’t let him roam the house freely in your absence. Limit him to one room or fence of part of a room and create a cozy space for him. Give him a variety of toys, preferably chew toys.
One of the greatest toys to keep your dog busy are the hard-rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats. We have some reviews on our sister site PetStuffReviews. The dog will be busy and happy for hours and won’t even notice that you are gone.
Your active involvement in preventing excessive chewing
Plat with your dog when you are home and have some time. Offer rawhides, rubber bones, anything the animals enjoys to chew on and praise him. You can also play a hide-and-seek game with your dog. Distribute several toys around the house and tell your dog to find them.
Should your animal not respond, wrap a little bit of cheese, meat, or a treat around. The smell will make it easier for the dog to find the toys. Don’t forget to praise again for a job well done! Beware that eating grass is not considered normal dog behavior, read more here.
Most dogs have an inner clock that tells them exactly when the owner is supposed to be back home. In case of delay some dogs experience anxiety and will start chewing on things they normally won’t touch in your presence. Besides the fact that it is a good idea to give your key to a trusted person that could look after the animal in case you are significantly delayed, you could teach your dog to greet you with a toy.
This is a rather time-consuming task, but worth the effort if you have a job that requires a longer stay quite often. When you come home, ask your dog immediately to look for a toy (start with the favorite, even if it’s not a chew toy). Read also this post about digging.
When the dog has found and brought you the toy, cheerfully say hello to him. Don’t greet or pet your animal immediately upon your arrival, wait until he found a toy. Be patient, sooner or later he will get the drift that there is no belly-rub unless he greets you with a toy in his mouth.
The result of this training is that your dog will start looking for a toy to greet you as soon as his inner clock tells him that it is time for your arrival. He will be less likely start chewing your furniture when you are late, rather keeping busy with the toy.
It’s not a fool-proof method, but the success rate is high.
One more note to leaving a key with a trusted neighbor. If you have the chance, please do so. Houses can burn, flood, there could be an earthquake – anything can happen while you are gone. A key with a neighbor to rescue your dog in case of an emergency significantly increases the chance of your animal surviving catastrophic events. Think about it!
If you catch your dog chewing on something he is not supposed to, don’t punish the animal! Take away the forbidden item, accompanied by a firm and loud “no”, and replace it immediately with a chew toy. Don’t tempt your animal by leaving shoes, belts, trash, etc. accessible. Take it away and store these things securely.
Another way to prevent your dog from chewing forbidden things is to make them really unattractive. One of the most efficient products that are designed to apply to furniture, computer cables, etc that are safe but repulsive to dogs is the Grannick’s Bitter Apple® Spray.
Your dog will try it only once, believe me! I had a Rottweiler that fell in love with the legs of my dining table. A treatment with Grannick’s Bitter Apple® Spray absolutely did the trick and within a day the dog did not even get close to the table anymore. Why chew on something that is boring, distasteful or unpleasant when there are plenty of fun, exciting and tasty things to chew on?