How can I stop my beloved pooch from destroying my shoes, clothes, furniture and whatever else I have that’s dear to me?
Dogs love to chew! There’s no getting around it. They need to chew. It’s as important to them to chew as we need to touch things with our fingers. Dogs teeth are designed for chewing. It’s an inherent trait left over from their days in the wild. Puppies need to chew when they are teething, and adult dogs chew for a variety of reasons.
How often has your dog put a playful, teething love-bite on your wrist, your fingertips, your sleeves, when they were just puppies and getting to know you. They’re trying to eat you up, why, because they adore you so much. This is a behavior that needs to be “nipped” in the bud. But how can we stop them when we’re not around and have left them alone in the house with our things? We can easily train them out of these behaviors, saying “Down!” or “Off!” They are quick to understand, especially if we are firm.
For the fact is, it’s your scent which attracts them to your shoes and clothes and favorite things. If they’re anxious, bored or missing you, they will console themselves with the next best thing unless you train them to chew something else. This is where chew-toys come in.
It is very important when training a pet that you never make a plaything out of an old shoe you’ve discarded. They can’t tell the difference between those and the good shoes you’re trying to preserve. What you need to do is make it clear that their toys are for chewing, nothing else.
As pet psychologist Dr. William Fortney puts it: “Make those toys you want your dog to chew (your pooch should have a number of them) as appealing as possible. If he seems to be going exclusively for things with your scent on them, put chew toys in the laundry hamper for a day or two before giving them to your dog. Rubbing something tasty on the outside of rubber balls or other toys or stuffing treats inside of hollow toys can encourage the dog to select those items to chew on his own. In general, be sure you’re giving him the message clearly from the beginning.
Our pets are clever, but they need our direction and leadership. We have to simplify our thinking and to think a little bit like they do. They are always so happy to behave the way we like and they will do anything to please you. If we just remember to teach ourselves how to tell them!