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How to Prevent Your Dog Chewing Your Clothes and Furniture

Is there anything worse than coming home and finding your clothing or your furniture chewed to a slimy mess by your dog, if only because they were bored?

It's infuriating and what's even worse is that your dog almost never knows what they did wrong.

Sure, there are some cases where a dog can recognize that they destroyed something you care about, but in most instances of chewing, it has very little to do with malice and much more with a lack of boundaries and a desire to be closer to you.

The Motive Behind Chewing

Dogs chew no matter what. They are born with the urge to chew and it's simply a matter of where and what they chew. That said, they will chew on your possessions for a variety of reasons.

To start with, it could be that you encouraged that behaviour when they were little. A lot of owners will witness their puppies teething and get them the nearest thing to chew - often an old shirt or shoe.

The problem being of course that, by giving them those old pieces of clothing, you've just taught your dog that it's okay to chew on your possessions when they need a good gnaw. It's impossible to go back in time and stop a dog from chewing on your stuff, but it can be stopped once it becomes a problem.

Another common chewing issue is that your dog simply misses you and goes to the nearest thing they can find to remind them of you - an object that smells very much like you. Other dogs simply enjoy chewing on things, destroying them in a fun, playful manner, trying to stay occupied.

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Stopping that Chewing Behaviour

There are many ways to limit chewing behaviour. To start with, you can limit your dog's access to the parts of your home. Don't allow them into your bedroom when you're gone, or if you have to, crate train your puppies and put them in a crate when you're gone.

If this is not an option, you need to lay down the law and show them that your possessions are not chew things. You can spray on bitter apple or cayenne pepper to deter the activity, as well as providing a replacement chew in the form of a Kong toy or a rawhide.

You can also consider watching your dog while you are at home to undermine the behaviour. Keep a close eye on what they play with and how they play. If you encourage play with their own toys and discourage it with your possessions, they will learn pretty fast that there are
boundaries they should not pass.

Most of all set those boundaries and stick to them. That means not letting them on your furniture without permission, not allowing them into certain rooms, and setting out a number of command words that they can quickly and easily recognize in a pinch.

Dogs are creatures of habit. If you create a habitual environment for them, they will quickly adapt to it and stop their destructive behaviours. But, you need to be as consistent as you expect them to be. 

Your dog is going to chew on things no matter what you do. It's impossible to stop them and if you try, you'll only confuse them. But, you can very easily get them to stop puppy chewing problems on things that are actually important to you.

With careful attention and a big dose of exercise, no dog needs to turn into a piranha in your closet, destroying everything you've ever put on.

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