Does Your Dog Have a Gnawing Habit?
Posted on June 13, 2019 by paigepesko
Though we don’t do it ourselves, gnawing is a completely normal activity for canines. This is especially true for young puppies. One way that dogs explore the world is by chewing on different objects they find, just as a human might pick up and feel the texture of an object. Young dogs also do this as a way to reduce pain of incoming teeth.
In addition to being a way for dogs to explore the world, gnawing and chewing is also a normal grooming habit for maintaining a strong jaw and clean teeth. However, gnawing becomes a problem when it happens to shoes, chairs, or dog beds. In fact, in some instances, dogs will chew to relieve anxiety, frustration, or boredom. These are the instances of chewing and gnawing that can be trained out of a dog, or relieved by proper care of your pup.
When it comes to beds, this can be particularly tough. It may be a good idea to get a chew proof crate bed or indestructible dog kennel beds in order to help keep your own sanity! Bedding being chewed on can be a difficult habit to break for a number of reasons, which we will review later (so consider getting a tough dog crate bed), unless you want your dog to forever take up the space in your own bed as over 40% of U.S. dog owners have to put up with!.
Why Dogs Gnaw
Here are some of the most common reasons a dog will gnaw or chew on something:
Scientific Testing: Ok maybe scientific is a bit of a strong word, but often dogs will chew on something as a simple test to see if anything good comes out of it. Does it taste good? Does it want to play now? Did it make my teeth feel good? Did I get attention? These are all things the dog might be looking for as it explores new things to chew on.
Exercise Jaw Muscles and Clean Teeth: As mentioned above, this is a very common reason that dogs gnaw. Much like you brush your teeth after a meal and then floss, a dog will chew and gnaw to keep clean teeth.
Boredom: This is one of the causes of destructive chewing, especially among puppies. Without a tough dog crate bed, many new dog owners come home from work only to see that the entire bed inside a dogs crate has been torn apart like a stuffed animal! This can be a sign of boredom, especially if the dog isn’t exercised enough.
Anxiety or Frustration: Dog anxiety is a real thing. Anxiety can either be from separation or from an actual scare (like fireworks). Chewing is a way dogs cope with anxiety or tension. Fourth of July can be an especially scary time for young pups. Without a tough dog crate bed, it is almost guaranteed a dog owner will come home to a torn up bed after the fireworks.
Breaking Destructive Chewing Cycles
Though it can be hard if you start late, breaking a dog’s destructive chewing habits isn’t impossible. It does require thought, patience, and positive reinforcement. Remember, there are many different reasons that dogs chew, so rather than punishing, try to think through the situation.
Also, it is always easier to replace than remove. Doing things like spraying a tough dog crate bed can help reduce chewing because it will make the bed bitter and sour to the taste, however that won’t fix the root of the issue. Just because the bed is sprayed, doesn’t mean the dog doesn’t want to chew. Make sure there are toys, bones, or other items that the pup knows it is allowed to chew on. When the dog is anxious, frustrated, or bored, make sure those items are easily accessible. This will form a strong positive association with these new toys that will ensure proper chewing behavior and keep your dog’s teeth and jaws clean and strong.
Additionally, make sure your dog is getting appropriate exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog. Just like humans, dogs are meant to run and jump and move. This releases happy hormones in the dog’s brain and helps dogs relax when at home. Get your dog out to play.