Is your dog chewing excessively? If yes, dog bones may not be the answer. I am often asked to help with dogs that eat furniture, clothing, and often expensive household items. Typically the owner will attempt to cure the problem by stocking up on chew toys and doggie bones. It is also normal that this does not remedy the problem.
A Popular Myth
It is a pervasive myth that all dogs love bones and love to chew. For a very short period during their puppy stage, chewing is normal. But it is not normal in adult dogs. In fact, with few exceptions, excessive chewing is a symptom of stress in your dog and should be treated with a strategy to reduce stress.
In handling any dog behavioral problem, it is essential that we address the cause rather than dwell on a particular symptom.
Reducing your dog’s stress levels often involves a little detective work. First, we need to examine our interactions with our dog to determine what may be causing the anxiety. All dogs need exercise. Depending on the dog’s breed, age, and individual temperament, the amount of exercise needed will vary. If you don’t know your dog’s breed characteristics, then do some research. As an example, if you have a herding dog, like a Border Collie, and you only walk him a short distance on rare occasions, and then it doesn’t take much
deduction to assume you probably have created a stressful situation for your dog. However, each dog will have a different temperament or personality. Even if your dog was bred to be a coach potato, he still might have a need for greater activity. Try increasing your dog’s activity as the first step in reducing his stress.
Lack Of Leadership
Another common cause of stress, and ultimately a dog chewing excessively, is the lack of leadership. Often in the contemporary household, the dog is given love and affection without any corresponding rules and
boundaries. This is behavior the dog would interpret as a leadership vacuum. Dogs have not evolved to comprehend all our modern gadgetry like TV’s talking and microwaves beeping. They look to their owner for clues as to whether this array of strangeness should elicit either ignoring or fright behavior. Without a clear leader for the dog, stress is often created. Accordingly, you can reduce the dogs’ stress by using activities such as training to communicate that you are a capable leader that he can look to for guidance in our alien world.