Dogs often display certain characteristics which are innate to them and in some cases have even been bred over hundreds of years in order to strengthen specific skills and in these cases, the instincts will be very strong within them. Unfortunately, sometimes these characteristics will appear in the form of chewing your expensive furniture but ignoring or suppressing this behaviour will only lead to a very frustrated dog that won’t stop following their instincts, but instead will simply wait until you leave the house to eat your expensive furniture.
Just to clarify, we are not talking about abnormal repetitive behaviour ( aka OCD in humans) or even separation anxiety related issue. And no, your dog isn’t asserting dominance or being stubborn. Instead, destructive behaviour might come from a lack of stimulation.
Normally, when a dog destroys a toy we get annoyed and decide either to stop buying toys altogether or we buy the most resistant toy from @kongthecompany, right? But instead of ignoring or punishing this behaviour, we should be doing the exact opposite. The idea here is to exercise these instincts with things that can be destroyed. Buying fragile toys which are easy to tear and safe to swallow is a good idea. Dissecting, sniffing, digging, chewing and chasing these toys should even be encouraged. You should also buy toys which will challenge and work your dog’s brain.
If you’re reading this and asking yourself ‘isn’t this behaviour going to get worse and more frequent if I encourage my dog to do it?’, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. This is a question I often get asked during 1-2-1 consultations. The answer is no. Your dog will simply channel the same energy into the nice and soft toy you bought him which has positive connotations of you playing with him instead of chewing your fancy sofa.
So remember, don’t ignore your dog’s destructive behaviour, he’s trying to tell you something. Learning to communicate is the key principle we teach in all our group classes in Clissold Park, from puppy training to trick training. Or, if you would prefer an approach tailored you and your dog, book your appointment for a home visit. Any doubts, send us an e-mail or take a look at all private dog training options we offer. Solve your dog’s chewing problem once for all with the certainty you’re doing the right thing.