It's easy to love your canine companion. But they sure can test your patience when they chew up all the other beloved objects in your home while you're away. Before you assume that your pup simply revels in destruction, it's helpful to understand some of the behaviors and motivations behind why they chew when you're not around.
There are all sorts of specific chewing choices that could denote different messages your pup is trying to send. It could be that they're having intense separation anxiety and want to take their energy out on whatever they find most satisfying to chew. Or maybe they just have too much energy and need more exercise throughout the day to wear them out.
Understanding the signals
Understanding the two major reasons dogs chew up everything while you're away will help you fix their behavior.
Chewing is like exploring for dogs. It's an exciting way to discover the world around them.
Sometimes they miss you and love the strong stench of the objects that smell the most like you. If that scent comes in the form of your smelly leather shoe, that's even better — since, instinctually, leather reminds them of chewing on dead animals.
How to train a puppy not to chew.
If you're not a fan of constantly replacing the household items your pup chew-ses, remember that all behavior is always trainable. Our pups want to please us. Help ease any behavior or energy issues with training and exercise.
Step 1: Keep a puppy in restricted quarters when you are not around. Remove any item that would be unsafe for the puppy to chew, and every item that you don't want chewed. Puppies chew instinctively and in reaction to their growing teeth.
Step 2: Give your puppy one or two sturdy, top-quality chew toys. Play with the puppy using the chew toy to get him interested in it. Consider using a hollow toy that you can fill with peanut butter or treats.
Step 3: If the chewing strays to unacceptable items, say "no" calmly and remove the item. Give your puppy the chew toy instead and give some verbal praise.
If you'd like a few additional techniques, then scroll through our guide on training dogs not to chew on your things.
If you teach your pup to cherish their toys by making them desirable through constant play, your dog will focus more on their possessions rather than yours.
When you do catch your dog chewing, gently let her know that the behavior isn't okay. Since dogs are like little zen masters, they only live in the present moment. You can't correct behavior in the past because they won't understand the problem. If, however, you stay vigilant and always let them know what they can and cannot chew while they're actually chewing it, they'll catch on in no time.