Dog Problems.


CHEWING – destructively.

by Dennis Fisher.

This article is one of a great many articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects concerning different  dogs, such as obedience training, breeding, showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects.  All these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites.   Visit the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog enthusiasts, or  if you interested in a breed   other than German Shepherd Dogs.


Dogs can be very destructive – especially pups – and this usually happens when you are not around.  It is quite common for people to leave  a dog in the home alone, while they you go out, and then come back to find that he has chewed your favorite chair or you most expensive rug.


Why do dogs  often do this?     This can happen to an older dog as well as a pup.  Obviously with a pup that in the process of teething this sort of behavior is more understandable, but why should an older dog do this?


The most probable reason is boredom. If you must leave an adult  dog alone  or a pup in the house while you away it is advisable to leave the dog with a chewable item that will keep it occupied while you are away.  There are plenty of these available in pet stores.   You could also consider giving the dog a very large knuckle bone.   Dogs can busy themselves for hours chewing on a large bone.

What should you do  if you return home to find that your dog has damaged a piece of furniture?   Even though you will  obviously  be very upset when you catch sight of the  damage and your immediate reaction would be scold the dog very harshly and even hit the animal, try your best  to keep your temper.


Your dog is obviously going to be very pleased to see you and will wag its tail furiously; and action like this on your part can only be counter-productive.


First pat  the dog in your normal  , manner. Then wait a while, giving the impression that you had only just noticed the damage.


Then take the dog to damaged article; point to it and reprimand him with a very firm “No!”.


If it is a small item it may be possible to use the particular item to reprimand  him.   Obviously you must not actually hit the dog with the damaged article, but try and make it clear that  this is the offense you are angry about.


It is a different matter if you actually catch your dog in the act of damaging something.  Then you can be  much firmer in your reprimand.  The  dog will have less difficulty associating its  unacceptable behavior with the article it has damaged.


It is possible that you may have the opportunity to catch the dog while it is engaged in chewing destructively. 


The fact that the dog has done it on a previous occasion suggests that it might do it again.


You may pretend to go out; wait a short while and then return to find the dog in the process of repeating its destructive behavior. This gives you an excellent opportunity to reprimand the dog far more effectively.  It is then highly unlikely that it will do so again.


It goes without saying that you should take every precaution to see that the dog – and certainly a puppy -  does not damage itself in biting something harmful while you are away.  Make sure that electric wires are placed in an inaccessible place.


There are a number of others ways you can avoid this problem of destructive chewing.

In addition to being bored while you are away, the dog might need exercise.  Make a point of exercising the dog vigorously before you go out.  After vigorous excise the dog will be more relaxed and more likely to sleep peacefully for the entire period that you are away.


The destructive behavior that we are referring is out-of the ordinary behavior - actions that one does not normally associate  with your animal.


If the animal is a very highly-strung animal and is prone to a condition called separation anxiety then it would not be a good idea in the first place to think of leaving your dog alone in your home.


There are also chemical sprays, with a very bitter taste, that one can use to spray on items you wouldn’t like your dog to touch.  This can be a very effective method of avoiding the problem of having to repair or replace a valuable item.