View Full Version : Help me help my dog stop chewing up stuff

Mike Tempel
02-24-2005, 7:04 PM
My dog - truly a mutt - likes to eat sawdust and chew on cutoffs. Mostly he likes red oak but since he will chew on just about anything I don't know if it is his favorite or not. He really likes the burnt pieces that come off a drill bit and the thin cutoffs from the tablesaw. If I let him, he will chew them down to splinters. I know this can't be good for him but we have come to be kinda buddies. He likes to lay in the shop while I work and will vacuum the floor of sawdust if you are not watching him. I know this can't be good for him but in the past year I have found all sorts of stuff in his poop in the yard - from birdseed, bits of fabric and stuffing from his toys, even some unidentifiable pieces of plastic sheeting. How do you get a dog to stop chewing up stuff?? :confused: :confused: :confused: ?? He has turned a cedar glider into not much more than a ripped up splinter in about a year. Everyone said he would out grow it but he is about a year and a half old now and shows no sign of slowing or stopping his chewing. I have tried the no chew sprays, cayenne pepper, hot sauces, chew toys galore, all to no avail. If he doesn't stop it he will have to go - he has even chewed up wood on the corners of my garage, shed and door trim on the house's back door.
We have been thinking of getting a pool and if we do I won't be able to afford to repair or replace expensive pool equipment that he chews up. Any ideas or am I going to be forced to get rid of my dog? Any takers for a new shop buddy??????:o :o :o

Greg Heppeard
02-24-2005, 7:28 PM
Is he an only dog??? This might be the problem. I had the same problem with a lab mix, the we got her a runnin buddy and things calmed down a little...I still find her chewing branches off the tree occassionally but it's not really a problem now. The wood hasn't hurt her, but any plastic your dog eats can get stuck and then it's surgery and big bucks to fix it.

Jeff Sudmeier
02-24-2005, 7:37 PM
What cures chewing for dogs, at least for me, is to give them something they want to chew on MORE than what they shouldn't be. Then once you control what they chew on you can regulate it. Symba used to chew up everything, found some bones he REALLY loves and let him have all he wants. Then when he quit chewing on other things, we gave him the chew bones for rewards.

Doug Shepard
02-24-2005, 7:38 PM
I'm sure there are exceptions, but no dog I've run into will have anything to do with citris flavors. I can offer my dog her favorite treats and if I happened to have peeled an orange or sectioned a grapefruit right before that, she won't have anything to do with it. Apparently even just the small amount on my hands that got transferred to her treat is enough to put her off. I'm not suggesting you coat your home and possesions with orange juice, but if your dog hates it too, you might try putting some on wood scraps and slowly training him that wood tastes like @##@.

Michael Ballent
02-24-2005, 10:30 PM
If you happen to have the National Geographic channel on satellite or cable, try to watch a show called the Dog Whisperer. Basically the show boils down that most issues with dogs are that they are in charge of you (alpha dog) instead of you. You need to walk the dog but make sure that the dog does not get in front of you as you walk him/her. Your dog needs to remain in a calm submissive state so that they know that you are the boss. I do not know if there is a book associated with the show on TV, but it is amazing what you can do once you are the alpha :D As they say in the show, "I rehabilitate dogs, I train people"

Mike Evertsen
02-25-2005, 1:22 AM
have you had his teeth checked? maybe they hurt? I've lucky my dog hasn't done much chewing. but he does like sticks that are in the yard.

Mike Tempel
02-25-2005, 8:40 AM
Yes, he is an only dog and he can get lonely as I work 12 hour shifts half a month and have half off. My daughter will occassionally go out and take him for a walk but not as often as we would like since she gets home late sometimes too. We have given him so many treats and toys to chew on it borders on the thousands. And yes we have thought about a second dog for him to play with but I was afraid I would just double my troubles. As for the citrus thing I will give it a shot but if he ate a bottle of cayenne pepper in a week sprinkled over things I didn't want him to chew I don't know if an orange will do more than wet his appetite.

Thanks for all the suggestions and please keep 'em coming.

Rob Bourgeois
02-25-2005, 8:47 AM
Get him a buddy they will chew on each other more than the other stuff. ( voice of experince here)Also he will grow out of it, it took mine a full 2 years.

Attention is what the dog needs or somethign to keep them busy. Think of a toddler without toys and that is what you have with your dog. Sure the chew toys are great but they just teach the dog to chew. Good luck and dont get rid or your buddy...my 2 dogs hate the shop but have been know to run in and grab a small cutoff for playing keep away from each other.

Dan Gill
02-25-2005, 8:52 AM
Try bitter apple spray on the stuff you want to keep him from chewing. I really don't mind my dogs chewing on cutoffs. It's the things I want to keep that bother me. Really, the adult dogs don't do that - just the puppy. Chew toys that they really like to chew on help a lot.

Glenn Clabo
02-25-2005, 9:07 AM
I have 2 Labs...chewing is based a number of things. We had a real problem with our youngest one at first...used to find our shoes and chew them up when we were out. Now she just finds our shoes and sleeps with them. Here is what our vet recommends...and I can say it works. I think he got it online...

There are various reasons for destructive chewing. Pups need to chew when they are teething between the age of four to six months. They are like babies putting everything in their mouths. This is a pleasurable and necessary experience for them and must be handled properly or a chewing habit may be carried into adulthood. The best way to handle this problem is to soak several old wash rags in water, squeeze them out, and put them in the freezer. Whenever you catch your pup chewing, give him one of these frozen wash rags. The coldness will soothe his swollen gums.
Older dogs usually chew to release tension. There are several things you can do to help your dog feel more at ease. Try to avoid emotionally charged departures. When you leave, just say, "Good-bye, see you later." The greater fuss you make, the more anxiety you create. Establish your leadership through training. Dogs are more secure knowing they have a leader. Do not give in to his demand for excessive attention when you are home. The more you give, the more he will want and, when you are not there, he will be frustrated. Do not isolate your dog as punishment for chewing. This will create more tension and lead to more chewing. Do not physically punish him for chewing. He is chewing to relieve tension, and punishment creates more tension, hence, more chewing. Instead, give him plenty of exercise before leaving him home alone. Exercise works the same way for dogs as it does for humans. It relieves tension.

If your dog insists on chewing, there are some things you can do to slow down the habit and redirect the chewing to permissible objects. Do not play tug-of-war games. This stimulates the oral/mouthing response. Get him a toy-box and fill it with permissible chew toys-nylon bones, racquet balls, rubber rings, and nylon rope. Do not put any personal belongings in this box such as old slippers, knotted socks, or any leather or fabric items. Whenever he chews on a personal belonging, say, "NO CHEW!" and lead him over to his toy-box, give him one of his chew toys and say, "CHEW," followed by "Good Dog!" This will teach him that he can chew but only if the item comes out of his toy box. If he has a personal item in his mouth, do not pull it out. Instead, distract him with one of his toys or a food tidbit. If this does not work, blow a whistle, pop a balloon, or blow a horn. A loud noise will cause him to release. Physical punishment for having this forbidden item in his mouth will only serve to reinforce this behavior. In other words, the chewing will continue and will, in all probability, increase in frequency.

The key factor in anything that you do is to establish a bond with your dog. It is essential that you spend time training him. Part of any good training program includes breaks for playtime. And, of course, lots and lots of daily exercise is absolutely necessary for reducing the stress of being left alone for long periods of time.

Follow this advice and you will establish a bond with your dog wherein he will see you as his leader and he will always try to please you.

Mike Tempel
02-25-2005, 10:06 AM
Glenn, thanks for the information. It seems that although we have tried what the good Dr. has said I don't believe we have tried hard enough. We, like most families, are very busy but it seems as if that excuse won't hold water - we need to spend more time with him even if we have to make more time. I know in my heart it is simply a training issue that we didn't take care of right off the bat.

Mark J Bachler
02-25-2005, 3:03 PM
Maybe you could teach it to crap Part. Bd.

James Carmichael
02-25-2005, 3:24 PM
How old? And what's his ancestry (breedwise)? If he's under 2, he may well grow out of it. If he's older than that and/or descended from a sporting breed, it's likely neurotic chewing out of boredom. As Greg suggested, a companion dog would likely help. If he's out of a sporting breed, he's got a lot of energy and an instinct that tells him to run and explore, so he needs to get out and run, not just a casual walk, but someplace with room to explore and burn up some of that energy.

FYI, I spent many adventurous summers as a kid with family friends who had a beachfront house in La Porte (don't know if it was La Porte proper, but that was their mailing address). Fresh crab, shrimp, and whatever else we could pull out of the Gulf, 5-times a day. If your dog has much Lab in him, take him for a swim! My Brittany used to love the water.