December 4, 2011
Chewing is a normal dog behavior, and as you’ll see from this list, chewing is driven by many things. It’s important to understand why your dog chews. You may or may not know, you have a huge influence of what a dog chews on and how long the chewing lasts. You can keep destructive chewing to a minimum with proper exercise, training and redirection techniques.
1. Testing: What else are the items around your home for anyway? it’s a table to you, but to your dog, it’s wood. Throughout your dog’s life they may test items by chewing them to see if something good comes of it.
2. Teething: Around 2 months old when their milk (puppy) teeth are coming in, and between 4-6 months (start of the destructive stage) as the milk teeth fall out and are replaced by the adult teeth. Puppies must instinctively chew to help their teeth go through this process. It also helps relieve tenderness of the teeth and gums.
3. Keeps gums & teeth, clean & strong: Humans brush, dogs chew.
4. Responsibility: As your puppy goes through the teenage months, approximately 6 months to a year, they must chew because instinct tell them they may need to go hunt for food, protect family members or themselves.
5. Exercises jaw muscles: We go to the gym, dogs chew. Around 7-8 months old is the height of the “destructive stage” for chewing. Chewing can last for months, even years, if modification or redirection techniques aren’t used.
6. Anxiety, tension or comfort: Chewing helps relieve a dog of tension or anxiety. Some dogs carry items in their mouth to help comfort them.
7. Boredom: A lonely or bored dog will be more destructive and chew for longer periods of time.
8. Practice: Instinct tells them to practice. OR practice with you; if you get them fixated on their toys using play or praise, this will increase the chewing on the items you want them to chew
9. Smells good, tastes good, feels good, or they may just be hungry and want to chew on something.
10. An obsession: Dogs can develop obsessive chewing disorders .
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