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How to deal with a dog that chews?

Author: Marièke

When he plays, gets excited or bored, your dog chews. This article will explain this behavior and how to intervene and reduce this behavior, that can be unpleasant and destructive.

My dog chews: why?

First of all, know that it is totally normal for a puppy to chew. Generally, this behavior gradually diminishes and stops in adulthood, at about 6 to 8 months of age.

Your puppy discovers his environment

To discover his environment, the puppy uses his mouth. As you know, he tends to eat everything to test… well, it’s the same when he chews. He tests and discovers his world. That’s why the tendency to chew normally diminishes as the puppy grows older.

Your dog plays (and attracts attention)

More than that, chewing can be a game. A game that the puppy shares with his brothers and sisters at first.

And if the puppy realizes that this is a way to attract the attention of humans, he may have a tendency to direct his behavior towards them and start chewing hands or toes offered to him.

Your dog responds to a natural need

Chewing is one of the dog’s natural needs, like eating, walking or meeting other dogs to socialize. Some dogs simply need to chew more than others.

My dog chews: how can I stop this behavior?

Is your puppy over 8 months old and still chewing your hands or toes regularly? How can you stop this behavior? Here are several tips and tools.

Dog education: behaviors to adopt

Generally speaking, a dog needs consistency and coherence. If you wish to make him abandon a behavior, you must be firm and, above all, repeat the same command each time the behavior happens and you notice it.

#1 My puppy chews: the order “Leave it”

The order “Leave it” is the most appropriate order in the situation where your dog is chewing on your fingers or feet. The aim is to get him to lose interest in this “toy” and play with something else, by teaching your dog this order so that he will leave your fingers and feet alone.

#2 Responding to your dog’s need of attention

If your dog has a tendency to chew you to play and get your attention, try to play with him more often using other games like balls, knotted ropes, stuffed animals…

If he’s having fun with you before he even chews you, he’ll be full of game and may have less need to chew you to get you to play.

#3 Meeting your dog’s biting needs

If your dog feels a strong need to chew, you will not only need to teach him not to chew, but also respond to his need with toys and treats. Some toys are particularly resistant and made to satisfy this need:

  • Chewy candy
  • Kong toys to garnish with treats (kibbles…)
  • Antler or marrow bone
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