How Do I Stop My Dog from Shredding?
A multi-faceted approach is best to stop your dog from shredding. This includes dog-proofing your home, providing appropriate chew toys, and ensuring he gets plenty of exercise. You'll also want to rule out medical conditions and anxiety, which can often be a cause for shredding or other destructive behaviors.
"Ugh! Having a dog is as much work as having a baby!" Lots of pet owners have said that, and in some small ways it's true. Sure, you don't have to fight for a spot at the best day care, but, if your dog is engaging in destructive chewing, you do have to spend just as much time dog-proofing your home as you would baby-proofing your home.
Keep things out of reach as much as possible and cover furniture with mats. If the chewing is out of control, you may need to crate your dog or confine him to one room with no valuables inside while you're away.
Appropriate Chew Toys
Dogs need variety, so buy several chew toys of various sizes and textures to keep your dog interested. Anytime you see him shredding something, give a firm "No!" command and offer one of his toys as an alternative. Also, when you see him chewing on his toys, be sure to offer praise.
Lots of Exercise
Some dogs need more exercise than others. If your dog always seems to be bursting at the seams with energy, you may have found the cause of his destructive chewing. Add more brisk walks or an extra run each day. If you can't, it may be worth the investment to hire a daily dog walker or to send him to a doggy day care where he can get plenty of time to run around.
Ruling Out Anxiety
If the chewing only happens while you're away or is accompanied by other signs of anxiety such as incessant barking, excessive licking to the point of creating bald spots, or constant escape attempts, talk to your vet. If the anxiety is mild, you may be able to manage it without medication. If it's moderate to severe, medication may be needed to bring it under control.
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