Chewing isn’t uncommon in dogs, but it can be damaging. If your dog chews on furniture, there’s a chance that they could injure themselves, as well as cause harm to your property. If a puppy chews a wooden table leg, for example, they could ingest splinters that go on to harm their stomach or intestines.
Due to this, it’s important to train your dog not to chew on unsuitable objects as swiftly as possible. However, before you can do this, you’ll need to get to the root of the problem and identify the cause of your dog’s destructive chewing. To get started, take a look at these common reasons why dogs chew furniture and find out what to do about them:
1. Unresolved Pain
When dogs exhibit destructive behavior, such as chewing, it can be because they’re experiencing pain. While dogs can’t tell you when they’re uncomfortable, their behavior can give you clues to what they’re experiencing. Puppies might chew on furniture when their adult teeth are growing, for example, suggests The Spruce Pets. In the same way that infants experience teething pain, puppies can be noticeably uncomfortable when their adult teeth come through their gums. For young dogs, teething toys and chews can provide relief and give your dog something appropriate to chew on.
However, in older dogs, chewing can be a sign of an unresolved or unidentified health issue.
This is particularly likely if an older dog suddenly takes up the habit of destructive chewing.
A trip to the vet can help diagnose any issues and enable you to obtain appropriate medical treatment for your pet.
If unresolved pain is the cause of their unwanted behavior, you’ll find that your dog stops chewing on furniture once they’re feeling better.
It’s important to note that a dog in pain may also be sleeping more than normal in the day because they’re up more at night.
If you ask why my dog sleeps so much, consider the possibility of an underlying cause.
The linked blog post from Native Pet also looks at other reasons why a dog may sleep more than normal
If you have an older dog, you may find the probiotic supplements and nutritious food formulas from Native Pet help to perk him up to no end.
2. Discomfort and Itching
Skin problems and allergies can leave anyone feeling uncomfortable, including your dog.
As well as itching or chewing on their paws, dogs will sometimes chew furniture or exhibit other destructive behavior when they’re frustrated by ongoing discomfort.
Once you know what your dog is allergic to, you’ll be able to take steps to remedy their symptoms.
With hypoallergenic food and supplements, you can boost your dog’s defenses and incorporate a natural antihistamine into their diet.
By eliminating the allergen and treating your dog’s symptoms, you’ll increase their comfort and optimize their well-being.
In turn, this can stop destructive behavior and safeguard your furniture!
3. Separation Anxiety
If your dog tends to chew on furniture when you’re out of the house or when he is left in a separate room, separation anxiety could trigger their behavior.
Dogs are social animals, and many dislikes being left alone, which is why they ‘act out’ in ways you don’t want them to.
It is possible to resolve separation issues, but it can take time to get your dog used to being on its own says WebMD Pets.
Instead of trying to leave your dog alone for an hour, for example, begin by simply leaving the room for a minute or two.
Once your dog gets used to this, you can gradually increase the amount of time you’re away for.
However, it is important to remember that dogs need stimulation and company and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time, regardless of whether they exhibit destructive behavior or not.
Generally, dogs shouldn’t spend more than six to eight hours alone.
If you’re going to be away for this length of time, arrange for a dog walker or trusted friend to spend time with your dog in your absence.
Alternatively, consider enrolling your pup in doggy daycare so that they can get the companionship they need.
Even when you’re at home or in the same room as your dog, you’ll need to interact with them regularly to stop them from getting bored.
When your pet gets bored, they’re far more likely to display unwanted behaviors, like chewing the furniture.
Sometimes, this is because they know it will get your attention as you’ll intervene to try and get them to stop chewing.
By keeping your dog busy and rewarding them for positive behavior, you can prevent them from getting bored and, therefore, put a stop to destructive chewing.
Teaching your dog new tricks, playing games, and using boredom-busting toys, like treat dispensers, can be an effective way to keep your pet mentally stimulated and entertained.
4. Limited Exercise
If you don’t allow your dog to burn off excess energy, it increases the risk of unwanted behavior at home.
As well as being good for your pup’s physical health, regular exercise is essential for your dog’s emotional well-being too.
While most people realize that they’ll need to walk a dog every day, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of exercise a dog needs.
Generally, adult dogs require around 30-60 minutes of exercise each day, although their exact needs vary depending on their breed and age. (dogtime.com has an article on dog exercise needs).
For example, border Collies and Australian Shepherds typically need more exercise than a Bichon Frise or Bulldog.
If a busy schedule means you’re struggling to give your dog enough exercise, be sure to find alternatives.
Hiring a dog walker could be a viable option, while an automatic ball launcher can be a great way to ensure your dog gets more exercise in the backyard.
Discouraging Destructive Chewing
When your dog’s chewing everything in sight, it can be highly frustrating to see your home being damaged.
However, knowing how to discourage unwanted behavior is essential for dog owners.
Shouting or punishing your dog isn’t an effective way to change their behavior.
It’s more likely to instill fear or provoke a bite response.
In addition to this, letting yourself get angry about the situation may affect your relationship with your pet.
Instead, focusing on rewarding good behavior and teaching your dog how to behave appropriately shares Dog Trust.
When your dog responds to a ‘no’ or ‘stop’ command, for example, reward them with a treat or a game with their favorite toy.
When To Start Training Your Dog
If you get your dog when they’re still a puppy, you can begin training them straight away.
However, short sessions of just five to ten minutes are usually sufficient.
Incorporate numerous sessions throughout the day and reward your pup as they learn how to behave.
Although patience and perseverance will be enough to train most dogs, there is always help available if you’re struggling to put a stop to destructive chewing.
By taking your dog to puppy classes or working with a behaviorist, for example, you can change your pet’s behavior and ensure that they’re happy and content.