Thursday, October 30, 2008

Training Rant - Chewing

How many of you out there have a dog that chews your belongings?? How many of you think this is a bad behaviour that can be removed with training? Here's my opinion ... you don't train your dog not to chew - you teach your dog what is and is not appropriate chew toys! Most of the time, destructive chewing is caused by boredom. The big, bad, "B" word.

95% of the time, chewing is something that you can fix SO easily because it is caused by boredom and people don't even realize it! That means that if you start challenging your dog mentally and/or physically, you can usually stop the boredom chewing.

I was working in a school this week speaking with the custodian about her Dane. Her dog is 2 1/2 years old. She's had the dog since a pup. Her dog chews. Not only does she chew - but she destroys things! The latest victim of her chewing?? The livingroom couch. The lady I was speaking with had been waiting to hear from her daughter who was on a mission to find matching fabric to replace a couch cushion ... before the hubby got home!!

This dog has chewed large holes in mattresses, furniture, tables, shoes, remote controls, and pretty much anything else that she can get her large mouth around (which is a LOT!). Because she knows another Dane who has the same behaviours, she is convinced this is a breed specific trait.

I suggested that her dog is probably bored and asked how often she goes for walks (not simply putting the dog in the backyard). Of course, I got the standard answer of "we walk her ALL the time! We even take her out for runs". I spoke with her for a while giving her some ideas on what to do about the 'chewing' problem ... She wouldn't accept that she's not exercising the dog enough, so among other things, I suggested a treat ball and that she should put one of the dogs daily meals in it instead of in a bowl.

Here it is at Petsmart
And here at Petacular

Mental stimulation is more tiring than physical stimulation. As always, I will recite my favourite motto ... A Tired Dog Is A Good Dog.

What boredom busters have you used to prevent your dog from entertaining himself?

1 comment:

Floyd said...

Duncan's a chewer of the first water- He has a selection of squeaky and chew toys, including a Kong that gets stuffed, a Tug-a-jug, Nylabone Edibles and I hide some jerky in various places throughout the house so he has to find it.
On days when I can't walk him, he gets 45 minutes on the treadmill.
He's also a digger, and the "tired dog is a good dog" is very, very true.