View Full Version : Chewing problem

28th October 2007, 12:14 PM
Hi can anyone tell me what is the best thing to do for this problem?

Harvey is now 6 months old and only last night started to chew on my dining room table legs. I have a kitchen dinner and we sittting playing a game at the table with the children and heard this knawing sound and looked to see Harvey under the table have a go at the table legs. He also did it again this morning whilst I was reading the paper. The table is also only 6 months old so obviously not happy about this as he has already caused damage to 2 legs of the chairs.

He is prpbably doing it as we are all doing something else and not paying him attention but how do I stop it? Is there anything I can do to protect the chair legs?

28th October 2007, 11:47 PM
It's his age, and lack of something else he prefers to chew on, not the fact that you were doing something else -- and the best approach is prevention -- don't give him access. That means not letting him run around on his own where he isn't in arm's reach, or keeping him totally out of that room, for example, or using an xpen or some barrier to keep him away from the table if you can;t have him at arm's reach when in that room. Another option but less effective is you can buy special sprays that taste bitter to dogs to put on furniture and sometimes these work -- but they never worked for mine when they were in a mild chewing phase. Also disrupt the unwanted chewing by distracting him and immediately offer him an acceptable chew toy that he likes and praise when he shifts his attention to that. This phase as their adult teeth develop and their jaws develop tends to last til they are about a year old and some dogs remain chewers all their lives. So you want a mix of training/redirecting, and prevention in the first place so chewing table legs doesn't become a habit. Habits are much harder to break than simply preventing access in the first place.

He is entering a prime period for you to be watching him and training to shape and reward the behaviour you DO want -- not punishing that which you DON'T want. :) That said, most of us who got dogs as puppies have furniture with some scars and have lost some shoes, wallets, belts or other chewable items. It's part of having a dog -- along with hair tumbleweeds, the occasional indoor accident, etc. In general do not keep ANYTHING on the floor or within reach that you aren't willing to have destroyed and emphasise this to the kids. He cannot distinguish between toys you keep around for him to play with and a nice sock or pricey leather shoe or a child's favourite stuffed toy or action figure-- it's all the same to him right now! Small children's toys can be ingested and cause serious to life-threatening harm, too so it is really important to not have anything like this on the floor.

29th October 2007, 12:06 AM
We bought the bitter sprays and they really didn't work either.

Last winter I was out shoveling snow and I could see my two precious pups looking at me through the glass door....I felt like I was watching them. What I couldn't see was Molly gnawing at the door casing :( (I know...I should have put them in their kennel)

It does seem to me that the only time I have seen them chewing on things they shouldn't was when they were stressed....and (knock on wood) those chewing incidents happened before they were a year old.

29th October 2007, 11:03 AM
At 6 months, it sounds like teething--we're going through it now with Asta at 5 months. Like Karlin said, redirect his attention.

We've taken advantage of the opportunity to do toothbrushing with one of those fingertip toothbrushes. Asta loves the scratching of the toothbrush against her gums and goes bonkers when we take it out. Of course, she also chews on the plastic part of the toothbrush itself (goes through them at an alarming rate, and we chuck them when they get too chewed up) but it's a small price to pay. It gets her used the brush in her mouth, and although it's not organised toothbrushing per se, we'll get there when she's older and mellower--she's used to both the toothbrush and our fingers in her mouth. It gets the dirt out of her mouth from garden digging, and lets her be comforted when the teething is making her so miserable by being held in our laps and cooed at while she teethes. Her bite inhibition has gotten good enough that we can put our fingers in her mouth and massage her gums, which also gives her a lot of relief.

We also have a large cardboard grocery box that she is allowed to destroy at will. When she starts on a chair leg, we take her over to the box and she immediately starts tearing away. We've wedged it under the coffeetable so that it doesn't move around and she can get a good grip on it. When that goes, we'll get a new one. She now often goes to the box as a first choice because she knows that she won't get pulled off and moved.

We also have a "chewing tower" under the kitchen table. My husband wedges two rawhide sticks into a heavy block of wood and we move her to that when we're eating dinner and she starts in on the table legs. We really don't want her to eat too much rawhide, so we trim them with a scissor as she softens them up and replace them pretty regularly. She doesn't mind the soft part being trimmed off because it seems that what she really wants is the hard stuff to chew on.

That said, we do have a telephone table that will never be the same....

29th October 2007, 04:07 PM
Ellie is almost 1 now, but when she was at the chewing age, I put some pebbles in a plastic cup with a lid, and when she started to do anything she shouldn't be doing , I just shook the cup and then distracted her with a toy . She also had a bad habit of jumping at the television whenever she saw a dog etc......so I waited until she was just about to jump and then shook the cup.......Now she just sits near to the TV, and never jumps :)
I don't know if what I have done is correct or not, but it worked for Ellie......

29th October 2007, 05:06 PM
I like that idea of the block of wood! Where is the rawhide wedged in?

29th October 2007, 06:37 PM
Where is the rawhide wedged in?

He drilled a hole.

29th October 2007, 10:03 PM
Molly is a chewer too... She's 11 months old (today!) and I'm sure hoping she grows out of it. The bitter tasting spray didn't help at all.

However, I will say that there were certain things she would go to chew on a regular basis and I told her "leave it", followed by the awful gutteral "ar, ar" noise, and that seems to have worked. But geez! I'll have to do that for everything in the house!

Anyway, one of the things Molly loves to chew on is cardboard boxes, and I'd gladly give her one if that would keep her from chewing up the rest of the house, but... is that a good idea? She'd probably eventually devour the entire thing. Some of it would be in shreds on the floor, but a lot of it would end up in her tummy. Wouldn't that cause digestive problems?

And what about sticks? When we go on walks, she always brings in a stick to chew on and I always take them away from her once we get inside. But I've noticed some people don't seem to think it's a problem for a dog to chew on sticks. Won't they get splinters and other such problems in the throat/tummy!?

Thanks for your opinions. :)