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Three Surefire Ways to Discourage Your Dog From Chewing

Dog with E-collar


Dogs believe that their teeth are designed for chewing everything, while their owners wish they would stick to bones and the occasional stick. To a dog, teeth are a tool that can be used indiscriminately on furniture and fur alike. In the fight to prevent chewing, there are several excellent weapons in a human’s arsenal.

1.  Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the best method to stop chewers, but it is also the one that takes the most time, patience and vigilance. It also requires a bevy of strategically placed toys and bones. The goal of this technique is a simple one: direct the attention away from the object being chewed on and towards a desirable object. If Fido is chowing down on an expensive pair of sneakers, replacing the sneakers with a juicy bone will be much more effective than yelling at him, or even worse, hitting him. Over time, dogs learn that the items they find around the house are not as tasty or fun as the yummy bones and squeaky toys you provide for them. Constantly supervising your dog ensures that whenever they get the urge to chew, you will be right there to give them something appropriate instead. A little common sense also goes a long way. Don’t leave that laptop charger or those headphones in easy reach. If your dog enjoys long, snaky treats, drape cords on lamps and blinds up and away. A dog is similar in some ways to a baby, so dog-proof your house. If your dog persists in destroying furniture and footgear, try lengthening its exercise schedule.

2.  Bitter apple

Thousands of pet owners thank Connecticut pharmacist Irv Grannick from the bottom of their hearts every day, and it’s not because of some miracle medicine. Grannick invented the Holy Grail of chew deterrents in 1960 in his Greenwich pharmacy: bitter apple. The original concoction was a mishmash of the foulest, most unappetizing tastes known to dogs. And it works like a charm. Even the greediest dogs avoid bitter apple like the plague. It can be sprayed on furniture, shoes and lamp cords. Dogs with hot spots, small portions of irritated or inflamed skin that they constantly chew on, can also be doctored with bitter apple. Simply spray the bitter apple on the affected area and the dog will stop biting the tender spot. If a dog has chewed lacerations in its skin, bitter apple can used around the edges of the wound.

3.  Elizabethan collar

Unlike the first two entries in this list, the Elizabethan collar, or E-collar, is used exclusively for dogs who chew on themselves. If owners haven’t used bitter apple or the problem is too severe for its application, an E-collar can be used. E-collars are well-known in popular culture as comical items that signal a dog has been neutered or spayed. However, they are extremely useful in cases where dogs simply will not stop chewing on their fur. Pets that suffer from allergies often wear E-collars to prevent repeated gnawing on irritated skin. When the irritation subsides or the lesions heal, the collar can be taken off. The E-collar is a popular anti-chewing deterrent because it can be quickly removed at mealtimes or during walks.

Whether your dog is snacking on a pair of your favorite socks or nibbling an itchy spot on their flank, using patience, chemical aids and good old-fashioned dog cones can help alleviate their frustrations and yours.

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