Dogs are curious creatures, and one way they like to explore the world is by putting things in their mouth. If your pup is using the TV remote as a dog toy, dogproof your home and start some training to stop the destructive chewing.
Dangers of a dog biting a remote control
It is normal to be angry or upset if you come home to find that your dog chewed the remote control, but your pup didn't eat the remote to make you angry. Chewing is normal behavior for dogs, so you need to teach your dog what things are appropriate for him to chew.
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In the meantime, make sure your dog is not suffering any ill effects from chewing the remote. Whenever a dog eats something that is not food, there is the risk that it can block the gastrointestinal tract if the fragment is large enough.
There are additional dangers if your dog ate the battery from the remote. Alkaline batteries can cause ulcers and burn the tissue in your pup's intestines, while lithium batteries emit an electric current that can burn and perforate the tissue in your dog's esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. Be sure to take your pup to the vet right away if your dog chewed the remote and you think he may have eaten a battery or chunks of remote control.
Dogproof your home
Since training takes time and there isn't a dog-proof remote cover you can rely on, it is important to keep remotes out of your dog's reach. Put them on a tall shelf or in a drawer. Check your home for other dangerous items your pup may turn to when the remotes are taken away. Make sure electrical cords are tucked away and things like food, plants, and medications are out of reach.
Provide safe alternatives for your dog to chew instead. Consider putting a small amount of your dog's food or a couple of treats in a puzzle feeder or Kong toy. This not only lets her chew safely but also engages her brain to keep her entertained. If chewing is a big problem, consider crate training your dog when you aren't home to supervise her.
Addressing causes of destructive chewing
While chewing is a perfectly normal behavior for dogs of all ages and especially for teething puppies, there are situations where an underlying cause may need to be addressed. Boredom is a common reason your dog may use a remote as a chew toy. Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise and playtime with you every day.
Another reason your dog may be biting the remote is separation anxiety. Chewing may be a way your pup is trying to relieve that stress. Exercise can help with this as well as using a puzzle toy when you leave the home to keep your dog's mind engaged.
Train your dog with obedience commands
When you are at home supervising your dog, teaching some basic commands can help you teach your dog to stop eating the remote control and other inappropriate items. Throughout the training process, use positive reinforcement. Don't punish your dog for chewing on the remote. Instead, firmly say "no" or "uh-oh." Then, take the remote and give your dog an appropriate chew toy instead. Praise him lavishly when he chews on the toy you want him to be using.
Another option is to teach your dog the "leave it" command. This way, you can call your dog off the remote control from across the room. Start the training session by putting a toy on the ground near your dog. Say "leave it" and when your dog looks away from the toy to look at you, offer him a treat. Use a leash at first, but when your dog starts to understand the command, you can do this off-leash.
- Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: Ask the Vet: If Your Dog Eats the Remote, Get To the Vet at Once
- American Kennel Club: Puppy-Proofing Tips for Your Home And Yard
- Carolina Veterinary Specialists: How To Stop a Dog From Chewing
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Destructive Chewing
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Dog Behavior Problems - Stealing and Stay Away