Training Dogs – Myth Four
Dogs that Chew are Either Bored or Just Being Distructive
Wrong! What do you do when you are bored and by yourself? Play computer games, watch TV, read? Dogs tend to chew, although the importance of chewing for a dog, is far more important to maintaining healthy teeth and gums than playing computer games is to maintaining our teeth and gums!
Just as your baby or toddler suffers from painful gums when teething, so do puppies, and there are special chew toys available for your puppy which can help relieve their painful gums.
Dogs are more than capable of learning what is, and what is not, ok for them to chew on once they have been trained properly. To help encourage the “right” sort of chewing, there are four steps you can take to help this:
1. Prevention: Prevention is always the best cure and new dog owners should always endeavour to turn their home into a “dog-proof” zone, at least until your dog has learned what it can, and cannot chew.
2. Stop It In Its Tracks: If you are at home with your dog when it starts to chew on anything it is important that you train it the commands for “drop” or “leave it”. You must give either of these commands whenever you see them start to chew on anything they should not be chewing on. If you have inadvertently left, or added, something in your home (from example in number 1) you must remove this item to help set up a situation where they can differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. Either of these commands will also help if you are out with your dog and they decide they want to pick up something which is either just disgusting, or inappropriate.
3. Change Your Dog’s Focus: This is when you start to teach your dog which toys are theirs, and which they are perfectly entitled to chew to bits if they want to, and which items they really shouldn’t be chewing on.
4. What a Good Dog You Are: Praise is such an overlooked part of training. Your dog wants to please you and will, more than likely grow out of the chewing phase but if it does continue, it may well be a sign of something else, perhaps nervous energy, which is simply down to lack of exercise.
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