How to Prevent Your Dog From Chewing Your Furniture
This article comes from freelance writer Jane Sandwood.
Approximately 68% of all households in the USA owned pets in 2017. In these households, 89.7 million dogs were living as pets during the same year. While the benefits of having a dog as a pet are immeasurable, our favorite canine companions often have their own special quirks which can test the patience of even the most compassionate dog lover. On such a habit that has had many a pet owner at their wit’s end is the chewing of furniture and other household objects.
Your favorite handcrafted bed, sofa or table has very little protection from an overly-zealous dog with a passion for chewing. More than likely you have already had to part with a few badly-chewed possessions. Dogs aren’t very picky when it comes to off-limit chewing but wood seems to be an all-time favorite. Frequent chewing can be damaging to all household items, especially furniture and can cause damage to your dog’s teeth, gums and tongue. By following a few guidelines and making the effort to train your dog properly you will be able to prolong the life-expectancy of your favorite pieces of furniture significantly.
Dogs have an inborn desire to chew. In the wild, dogs chew on sticks to fulfill that need. In your house, they might substitute the sticks with the leg of a bed, table or couch. Dogs chew to ease the teething process, to strengthen their jaws and to clean their teeth. Dogs may also chew if they are bored, hungry or suffering from separation anxiety while you are away. Your dog won’t know what he is and isn’t allowed to do unless you teach him. It is therefore imperative that you are clear about what he is allowed to chew as soon as you start training.
Never offer an old blanket or garment to your dog to chew on. A dog can’t differentiate between what is old and what is new. Instead, put out dog-friendly toys which can help deter your pup from chewing on furniture. If your pup is teething, consider giving him a cold or frozen toy to help soothe his irritated gums. If your dog is prone to chewing your furniture spend more time with him. Take the time to play with him, making sure he gets enough exercise and stimulation. If you catch your sneaky mutt in the act, use a vocal command such as ‘uh oh’ or ‘no chewing’ and immediately give him his permitted chew toys. Praise him when he is chewing his own toys and give him a small reward to reinforce the positive efforts of chewing something other than your brand new couch or bed.
There are a number of liquid deterrents available on the market that may cause your beloved canine to reconsider his chewing habits. These deterrents shouldn’t be used in place of proper training but rather as a way to supplement them. Spray a small amount of the bitters on a piece of cotton and let your dog take it with his mouth. If he spits it out immediately you can spray it liberally on your furniture to deter him from chewing there. It is recommended to always test the deterrent on an unseen part of your furniture to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage.
The most important thing to remember when training your dog is to remain firm yet gentle at all times. Consider seeking help from your vet if you feel like no progress is being made through your training. He might recommend the services of a dog behaviorist to help you break your dog’s chewing habits and remember to be patient.