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Destructive Chewing

Boy, do I have a lot of stories about dogs chewing up stuff.

I'll start with Pete. Pete was my very first dog. I got him from the household I rented a room from during a summer job in Albuquerque. At the end of the summer, when we returned to Tucson, he was about 2 months old. Me - being a know nothing dog owner at the time - gave Pete an old shoe to chew on. I quickly learned that dogs cannot tell the difference between and old shoe and a new shoe. He chewed up a set of shoes that were brand new. This makes perfect sense now, but at the time it was not obvious. My place also became less cluttered. Fewer things were left lying around on the floor. Wires and such were moved to higher ground too.

Then there was Katie who took a book off the bottom shelf of a bookcase and chewed it up. It was a library book and cost me 50 bucks.

Pete or Phoenix chewed the seat of my bicycle. I left my bike lying on the ground near my truck while I was off skydiving.

I could go on and on, but you should get the idea that if you leave things out and the puppy or dog is unattended, they might chew it up.

Younger dogs chew more than older dogs. Once my dogs were two years old or more, there was [almost] never a problem with them chewing.

When I moved from northern California to southern California, RePete, about 3 years old at the time, chewed a speaker wire in her new home. I think she was adjusting to her new dog roommate, as well as the new location. At least it was my stereo system and not my roommate's.

Basically, the idea is that pups need something to chew on. You have to provide acceptable things to chew on and remove all the unacceptable chew items.

If you have to leave a puppy alone, then use the old standby bathroom confinement or a crate. Do not leave a puppy alone in your house. They will chew on chair legs, wires, remotes, books, shoes. They will find something to destroy. Give them a rawhide chew to keep them busy. Cutsey toys tend to break apart and could cause choking problems for your puppy. It is not good to punish a puppy that chews something. You need to replace the no-chew object with an acceptable alternative. Puppies need to chew. Let them and give them something ok to chew on.

I have one really funny story about Pete. I left him in my apartment while I went off to class. One day I came home and the entire living room was TP-ed. It was like a frat joke. He found the TP and ran around the living room with it. It was really funny. It also made me realize that I had to find a home with a yard. Apartments are not dog friendly.

I have a 'take one for the team' method that I am using with Max. I have a couple of objects I leave out on purpose for her to start (or attempt) to chew on. When I catch her chewing these items, I say 'NO!' and then give her a chew stick. These items are expendable. If they do get chewed it's no big deal. This is only in place when I am able to monitor Max.

I read on some web site that you could also paint anything and everything you do not want chewed with Tabasco sauce. I suppose that probably will work, but is it a realistic thing to do? I don't know about you, but I am not going to paint lamp wires or furniture legs with Tabasco sauce. I'd probably have an ant problem, if I did that.

There are also some sprays based with Citronella that are supposed to keep dogs away from objects. I have tried these before and they only work for a few hours. I live in a dry climate, so maybe that has something to do with it. A few well timed 'No!'s can be just as effective.

Hemet Animal Rescue
PO Box 2581
Hemet, CA 92546