If you have just brought home a rescue dog, you are probably well aware of the wonderful changes he has created in your life. From inspiring you to be more active in providing unconditional love and companionship, there is little not to love about a dog… unless yours is one of a small percentage that loves nothing more than chewing on while away the hours. If chewing is an issue in your home, fear not; this is a temporary issue that is easy to solve; all it takes is a little time and patience.
Is Spot Having Fun?
Dogs have a huge amount of energy to expand, especially if they are young and active. It is a myth that dogs need just one long walk a day; they should actually have many opportunities to get outside and smell the fresh air, socialize with other dogs and humans, and run freely, taking part in activities that will get their heart racing and help them build muscular strength.
Games like fetch and dog frisbee are firm favorites for most pooches. If you are not into running or you are recovering from an injury, there is no reason why Spot has to miss out. There are affordable, fun devices that literally shoot your dog’s ball for meters ahead; your dog will quickly learn to fetch the ball and stick it back into the device for a lot more action (warning: your dog could do this for hours!).
Older dogs need exercise too since they are more prone to obesity and joint problems. Ensure they enjoy nice long walks, making sure they are not overtired.
The Importance of Training
Next to exercise, training is the next most important consideration for stopping your dog from chewing on woodwork, sandals, or soft furnishings. Whenever you see him start to gnaw, make a loud noise (some people fill a jar with stones or use a small horn). Say ‘No!’ firmly and immediately give him a safe chewy toy as a replacement. He will then understand which items are okay to go for, and which aren’t.
Making a Healthy Deterrent Spray
Feel free to get creative at home; for instance, if you have a treasured piece of furniture you are worried about when you’re not at home, consider sectioning off the house with a baby gate (make sure Spot isn’t a jumper, though).
You can also make a deterrent spray which will fill your house with natural fragrance yet taste bitter for your dog. A good spray comprises water mixed with around 10 drops each of various essential oils, including rosemary, clove, and peppermint. Make sure you only used therapeutic grade oils, which will not harm Spot in any way.
Keeping your woodwork and another furniture in perfect condition involves training, exercise (which you can take part in alongside your dog), and creativity at home. If you find that your dog is very distressed and howls, urinates frequently in the home or has other indicators that it may be something more serious, he may have separation anxiety. In this case, desensitization therapy (leaving your home for a few seconds then longer, progressively) will help your dog understand that when you leave, you will also come back. If the problem persists, see your vet, who may recommend a behavioral specialist.
Article by: Jane Anderson, a freelance writer, editor and dog owner.
Photo by : Shannon Richards