Inappropriate chewing can be corrected with a combination of positive reinforcement and negative punishment, but the matter takes on a little more urgency with wall chewing. Cure this problem by training your dog to favor a variety of appropriate chewing targets while also creating an aversion to chewing the wall.
Finding the Cause
If your dog is between 4 and 6 months of age, it’s likely that the wall chewing is a result of teething. At this life stage, dogs find it almost impossible to resist the urge to chew and will sink their teeth into anything. The wall may appeal to your dog due to it being hard. If he’s not teething, boredom is the most probable cause of chewing. This is especially likely if he only eats holes in your wall when left alone.
Put down a selection of chew toys in an area where Lucky will spot them. Praise Lucky as soon as shows even the slightest interest in one of the chew toys. The aim here is to get Lucky to build positive associations with the new chew toys. With sufficient repetition, Lucky will begin to think “hey, when I go near this chew toy, I get lots of praise. I’m going to that again.”
Play with Lucky, take the chews and put them near his mouth. Give him lots of fuss and praise. The trick is to make Lucky fall in love with having these objects in his mouth.
Remove the chew toys and take Lucky for a walk after ten minutes of chewing. Don’t leave the chews around for Lucky’s permanent access as it’s important to establish a routine for chewing. You must be seen as the controller of the chew toys. Taking Lucky for a walk provides a reward, removes some of his excess energy and establishes a clear distinction between “chew time” and “not chew time.”
Observe Lucky from a distance to make sure he doesn’t go near the walls. If he does, distract him by calling his name. Give Lucky an hour or two to relax.
Put the leash on Lucky and walk him around the house. Give him lots of verbal praise. Take toward the wall that he likes to chew. If he so much as sniffs at his favorite spot, cease the praise and use the leash to guide him away. With sufficient repetition, Lucky will learn that the positive feeling of praise is ended when he goes near the wall. Over time, this will create an aversion to the wall. When correcting inappropriate chewing, you typically remove the forbidden object from the dog’s mouth. With wall chewing, you instead of have to remove the dog’s mouth from the object by gently pulling the leash.
By Simon Foden
About the Author
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.