"How can we stop the chewing?" That's what one visitor wants to know as her dog chews everything and anything.
Problem: How Can We Stop the Chewing?
We adopted an Australian Cattle dog/Hound mix. Her name is Sierra and she is just over one year old. We didn't get her till just a month ago. She was adopted by a family that brought her back. She has adapted to our family very well. She is happy and excited to see each one of us come home and loves to be played with, petted, etc. She gets along great with our other dog that we also adopted, a Springer Spaniel/Poodle Mix. Her name is Baby and she is going to be 3 in January. We have a fenced in back yard. The dogs are crated when we aren't home. I wanted to give you as much background as I could.
Our problem is that Sierra loves to chew. She chews anything and everything. We give both dogs Raw Hides, Nylabones, pigs ears and other things for chewing. They both love them and will chew them until they are gone, except for the Nylabones. Sierra will chew on pencils if she can get one, bowls, cups and she even chewed a hole in our bedroom carpet overnight. We caught her the other day chewing the carpet in the hallway. We stopped her and gave her something else to chew.
My question is how do we get her to stop chewing things she isn't supposed to? Also, is there anything else out there that might keep her busy but also keep her attention longer than Rawhide and pigs ears?
We love both of our dogs, we just want to stop some bad habits. Any and all suggestions or comments will be greatly appreciated.
~~ Andy Juris
Your Aussie mix is descended from a very active breed of dog. They are very intelligent and will certainly find ways to occupy themselves, as you have already found out.
The first thing I recommend is that you puppy proof your home, just as you would for a young puppy. You need to keep all chewable items out of reach whenever practical. The more you can put away or out of reach, the easier it will be for your dog to focus on what you're trying to teach her.
Second, you're going to need to be extra vigilant for a while about her chewing activities. She needs to be stopped every time she gets hold of something inappropriate. I realize this is going to be difficult, so I suggest you recruit the rest of the household to help, and try to begin on a weekend when someone is more likely to be home. This will help you "blitzkrieg" your dog with reinforcement against random chewing. Be firm in telling her "No," take the forbidden objects away, and then redirect her to what she is allowed to have.
As an added measure, try spraying the items you can't remove (such as wires and furniture legs) with a product called Bitter Apple. You can find this in most pet supply stores.
Now, on to what you give your dog to keep her occupied longer. In our article about a Talking Dog Bone, we offer information on some talking toys that also hold treats your dog has to work at to get. These toys can really hold a dog's attention for a significant amount of time. I think your Aussie would benefit from the mental stimulation as well as the chewing satisfaction once she gets to the treats.
Have you tried a Kong dog toy yet? These toys are made from very dense rubber that is practically indestructible. You can even wedge a dog biscuit into the classic Kong to give your dog more to hold her interest.
Thanks you for your questions, and I hope that these suggestions help your current situation.
Toys for Problem Chewers
I have a eight-month-old old Boxer who will tear up my kids' toys if I let him. That's how I got him; the last owner didn't like his chewing habit. So far, he is doing very good. I keep all room doors shut and keep everything picked up. I want to buy him a toy, like his own stuffed animal, but I am scared if I give him one to play with he will think all stuffed animals are his. I went to Petsmart, but the toys there look just like my children's. If I give him these kind of toys, will he know the difference between the children's toys and his?
~~ Thanks Cassie
It sounds like you are doing everything right to teach your dog not to chew inappropriate items. You're keeping temptation picked up and out of his reach.
You really hit the nail on the head when you touched on the similarity between stuffed toys made for dogs and those made for children. Although dogs enjoy these toys immensely, it is very difficult for them to understand why some stuffed toys are okay and others are off limits. The situation becomes even more confusing for dogs with prior chewing problems.
I think you'd be better off staying away from anything that looks like your children's toys and give your dog something completely different like a Kong toy. Kongs are made from super strong rubber, and come in some very unique shapes. Dogs really seem to like them, and they can chew these toys to their heart's content without doing much damage. This should keep your dog occupied until he's finally finished with that puppy chewing stage.
Thanks for your question~~ Kelly