Stop Your Dog’s Inappropriate Chewing Behavior

Your Labrador retriever Hunter has become a chewing fool. For several days, Hunter has been methodically gnawing on your matching upholstered couch and wing chairs. When he tires of that, he works on your antique dining set that’s a family heirloom. While you know Hunter needs to exercise his jaws and scrub his choppers, he sure doesn’t need to practice on your furniture. Before Hunter demolishes every piece of furniture in your house, you’re taking him to your veterinarian in Richmond for some behavioral counseling. Read more about some other strategies you might consider.

Use a Nasty-Tasting Chewing Deterrent

Ask your vet about a safe chewing deterrent you can spray on or near Hunter’s favorite chewable objects. Get your dog used to this foul-smelling substance by spraying some on a paper towel and permitting Hunter to lick it. He’ll probably recoil in horror, which is the best possible response. You want Hunter to connect that unpleasant experience with his chewable targets’ smell and taste.

Remove Your Dog From the Temptation

Remove industrious Hunter from the room containing his favorite chewable objects. If Hunter prefers your living room furniture, close or block off that door with a sturdy barrier. If Hunter specializes in high-end shoes, place them in an inaccessible closet. Perhaps Hunter loves a good magazine or book (or two, or five, or ten). Store your reading material out of Hunter’s jumping range. Don’t feel guilty about making Hunter mad; remember, the house belongs to you, not to your chewing-obsessed dog.

Find More Appropriate Chewable Objects

Clearly, Hunter needs some more acceptable chewable objects. Ask your vet to recommend some indestructible chew toys, and switch them often so Hunter doesn’t get bored. If Hunter can have treats, fill some treat toys with his favorite snacks or peanut butter. If Hunter likes to play tug-of-war, find a two-way pull toy that his impressive jaws can’t demolish.

Challenge Your Dog’s Body and Mind

Hunter’s clearly a smart, bored dog who needs more physical and mental exercise. Give him some much-needed structure by getting him into an obedience class (or sign him up for a refresher). Give him plenty of playtime with your family, friends, and his canine buddies. Help Hunter burn up physical energy by taking him on vigorous walks and dog park visits. If your vet approves, get Hunter into a demanding sport like flyball or agility training.

Ask your Richmond vet how to short-circuit Hunter’s chewing when he’s home alone. Consider a heavy-duty crate that contains chew toys and snacks; or secure Hunter in a small room with no chewable objects at all. Give Hunter some good exercise and attention before you depart and after you return home.

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