You love your new puppy's sweet face, silky fur, and playful nature, but his habit of chewing your favorite pumps or the dining room chair legs? Not so much. Indeed, a dog chewing on baseboards is enough to send you screaming into the night, but it's important to be understanding and know that puppies and older dogs chew for specific reasons. Once you're determined why your little guy is gnawing away, you can address the behavior as well as offer chew deterrents for dogs.
Why dogs chew on baseboards
There are a number of reasons dogs love to gnaw on everything in sight:
- Teething. Just like babies, puppies cut adult teeth, which can cause teething pain. To ease the discomfort, they'll chew baseboards, shoes, your iPhone, and more.
- It's natural. As descendants of wolves, chewing is an innate activity for dogs, and this practice may continue into adulthood if your puppy isn't trained to chew on something else.
- Pure joy. A dog chewing on a baseboard is probably in a blissful state since gnawing is fun. Your leather boots may also have a delicious odor, making them an appealing chew item.
- Boredom. Left alone at home, a puppy will find things to do, including chew on your baseboards. Plus, if there aren't any proper chew deterrents for dogs in the house, your pup may turn to your couch legs (they're low to the ground — right at his level).
- Stress. Dogs experience separation anxiety when their owners are not around, which means yours might take out his stressful feelings on the TV remote.
Chew deterrents for dogs
The process of preventing your dog from chewing on baseboards is multi-pronged, requiring a consistent, committed effort to teach your dog what's OK to chew and what isn't.
- Offer praise. Keep a close eye on your dog so you can catch her chewing on the right thing and then praise her while doling out a treat or two.
- Crate training. If you can't supervise your dog, you might hire a dog walker to check in on her or place her in a safe spot, like her crate, for a short amount of time. Dogs come to love their crates as their own special dens, especially when there's water and favorite toys inside.
- Distraction. If she does bite the baseboards, distract her with chew deterrents for dogs every time. Pull out a few new playthings to entice her, and if your puppy is teething, offer a frozen ring to numb her mouth.
- Regular playtime. Walks in the park, a run on the beach, and lots of opportunity to race around the yard while playing fetch can stave off boredom and help tucker out your dog. The goal is a tired dog who is content to snooze on her mat and not chew your shoes.
Best chew toys for dogs
The best chew toys for dogs are ones that attract your pup and satisfy his need to gnaw. For some animals, this may mean squeaky snakes or fluffy toys in the shape of a squirrel or parrot. For others, chew toys that are basically indestructible fit the bill (think rubber items, like Kong toys or thick rope playthings for games of tug-o-war). Chew toys for dogs that are filled with something yummy, like a piece of cheese or peanut butter, are even better.
Use positive reinforcement
As mad as you might be when you discover your dog chewing on baseboards, never be tempted to yell, punish, or harm your pet in order to teach her a lesson. Positive reinforcement, which involves tasty treats, fun toys to play with, and loads of praise, is the preferred method of training when you're striving to instruct your pet.