Why Does My Dog Chew Everything?

Why does your dog chew everything?  There isn’t a single answer to that question.  Dogs chew for a variety of reasons.  Some just seem have an an inborn need to chew. They find it pleasurable.  Others seem to chew only if they are bored.

Is there a difference between “Chewing” and “Destructive Chewing”?  I suppose it’s up to the beholder.  When you get right down to it, chewing is destructive by its very nature!

Your dog has strong jaws full of sharp, pointy teeth.  Puppies especially have very sharp teeth, and a strong chewing instinct.  Just about anything your dog starts to chew on is probably going to show the effects of it inside of a minute.

As a point of clarification, when we say “destructive chewing” we usually mean “inappropriate chewing”.  You know, chewing up your possessions, your furniture, your shoes, as opposed to chewing on designated toys and dog chews.

3 Main Reasons Dogs Chew

There are three main reasons why dogs chew:

  • Chewing is a natural desire. It’s fun, it passes the time, and it’s a self-rewarding, self-reinforcing activity.  As example would be chewing on something that tastes good.
  • Chewing is an outlet — especially for a nervous, bored, or lonely dog. The repetitive act of chewing is actually quite soothing to your dog.  It’s the doggie equivalent of comfort food.
  • Chewing burns up nervous energy and gives your dog something to do. This is especially true in the case of dogs who don’t get enough exercise.

How To Stop the Chewing of Household Items

So, how do you keep your dog from chewing up your prized possessions?   The secret to that burning question is in the list of reasons why your dog chews in the first place!  Here are three tips:

  • Give your dog something tasty to chew on.
  • Make sure your dog has other activities, or playmates, to help prevent boredom.  Dogs will usually chew when they are left alone, or when you are sleeping or otherwise ignoring them.
  • See to it that your dog gets plenty of exercise to burn off that energy.  If your dog is exercised properly, chances are he will be tired and ready for a nap rather than ready to chew up everything in sight!

Act Early to Stop Puppy Chewing

Of course, one final word of advice:  If you can’t lock your prized possessions safely away from your dog, then confine your dog when you cannot watch her.  It isn’t good for you, your things, or your dog to launch into punishment mode when the situation could have — and should have — been avoided in the first place.

In order to stay on friendly terms with “man’s best friend” take the upper hand early on.  Your dog looks to you for guidance and leadership.  Preventing your dog from chewing up your things in the first place is your best bet.  It’s easier to prevent the habit in the first place than it is to break it later.