A Simple Way to Stop Your Dogs’ Destructive Chewing

stop dog chewing

Learning how to stop your dog from destructive chewing is difficult. 

Dog Bite Care

You come home, find a guilty-looking dog, teeth marks everywhere and ask yourself: How do I get my dog to stop chewing and eating everything?

But there are ways to do it.

Destructive chewing isn’t your dog chomping on its cowhide though. It is chewing that harms your home, your things, or your dog. So serious chomping — not just on its toys. Although serious to you, it might be playful for your dog. But that doesn’t stop you worrying when you have a 1 year old dog still chewing everything in sight.

But don’t worry, we’ll take you through the steps to save their teeth and your home. To teach you how to stop a dog from chewing on wood trim, shoes, remotes, anything you find them gnawing on.

How to stop any dog from destructive chewing

First thing is to remember dog chewing is normal—especially from puppies. It can be enjoyable for them. Try to not get angry and punish your dog for doing it. Still, when it becomes destructive, it needs to stop. And to stop the problem, you need to learn why it’s happening.

Find out why they’re chewing on everything

So why does my dog chew things when I leave the house?

Well, dogs gnaw destructively for many reasons. Three common ones are:

1. They’re a puppy

When do puppies stop chewing everything? Well, a puppies’ chewing phase is from 0-6 months old. Why? Because their adult teeth are coming in and, just like for people, it hurts. So to distract themselves from the pain, they bite things.

They should grow out of this, so if they’re a pup, wait it out.

2. Under exercised

If your dog is not getting enough exercise, it might chew to channel its energy. Depending on the dog’s size and breed, they could need 120+ minutes of exercise a day. If they don’t, they get agitated and gnaw on things. So remember to take them on their walks.

3. Feeling bored, lonely, or anxious.

A common reason for destructive chewing is separation anxiety.

If your dog gets anxious (or bored), it’s soothing to gnaw on something. For curing dog separation anxiety quickly, try conditioning them with rewards (like food) to enjoy after you leave. Don’t leave dogs on their own for too long as well. And give them things to play with when you’re not at home.

Ideally, you don’t want to keep them in a dog separation anxiety crate for too long—it’s not fair to keep your dog locked up all day. And different dogs react differently towards being in them.

So look at the reason why your dog is chewing destructively. If you find the cause, you can fix the problem. Once you’ve done this, you can try other methods.

Sort out your house

Get your house in order. Look for the things your dog is eating and put them in places they can’t reach. Because if they can’t find them, they can’t get them.

Things to watch for:

  • Glasses
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Letters
  • Shoes
  • Phones
  • Remote controls

Dog-proof everything. If you start early enough, they might never get into the habit of eating anything at all. And as they say, prevention is better than a cure.

But look at fixed items around your house too—like curtains, skirting boards and carpets. If you’ve ever wondered what to spray on carpet to keep dogs from chewing it, you could use some safe chewing deterrents for dogs. Make sure they’re safe but remember—this is only a deterrent. It won’t fix the root cause of the issue.

After you sort out the house, you need to set some house rules.

Set clear rules of what to (and not to) chew 

Dogs need to know exactly what is and is not okay to chew. So don’t give your dog anything to play with that’s yours, like old towels, shoes, or clothes. It’s confusing for them. They can’t tell the difference between your new high-heels and the old pair of sneakers you just gave them.

Make it clear when they’re eating something they’re not supposed to be. To make things even clearer for them, you can keep their dog-chews in a toy box. When they want to bite on something, they know where to go. So you just need to fill the box with toys.

Give your dog different toys to chew 

Once you’ve stopped giving them old shoes, you can give them their own things to bite on.

Remember: there’s nothing wrong with chewing—it’s what the dog chews on that’s important. And most dogs need to nibble, especially if they’re young dogs (under 3 years) or puppies (under 1).

So get them dog-chews, tennis balls, dog-proof soft toys. Keep things interesting with different toys they can play with and appropriately eat. They can use their energy on those things instead.

Train your dog: Use positive reinforcement

See your dog gnawing again? Stop them with a loud noise. Clap or call their name.

Then immediately give them something they should be chomping on instead—a toy, cowhide, or a ball. When they do this, give them a treat and shower them with praise. Make them feel good for gnawing on the right thing.

Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective dog training methods. It increased guide dog pass rates 62.5% in 2005 when The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association fully embraced it.

That’s powerful. And the best proven and known way to stop your dog from destructive chewing. But don’t just use positivity on your dog: use it on yourself too. Remember to stay positive throughout the process, because with time and effective training, any dog can be trained to stop gnawing destructively.

Take home message

Learning how to stop your dog from destructive chewing is a process. Give your dog space and time to learn it. But once you’ve found out why they’re doing it, sorted your house, set house rules, and trained them correctly, you’ll never need to replace ruined shoes again.

For more guides on dog training techniques and how to deal with problems on dog behavior (like chewing), check out Secrets to Dog Training. It’s the complete guide for dog ownership and is designed to speed up your dog’s learning.


Importance of Dog Training