Chewing and Digging

Author: gibbywmu
July 19, 2008

Digging

It is natural for puppies to explore their environment, however, their natural curiosity often leads to frustration on your part when they chew your favorite slippers or dig up your flower bed. While you may be tempted to punish your naughty pup, reinforcing good behavior is much more effective and will keep you and your dog happier.

Chewing
Destructive chewing may be related to anxiety. It is important to train your dog to lie on its bed or in a crate, rather than constantly at your side. Teaching your dog that he or she cannot always receive attention on demand may lessen anxiety. For dogs with separation anxiety, begin with short departures and then gradually increase the length of your time away to lessen their anxiety.

Chew treats are a great way to keep your puppy busy as well as relieve pain associated with teething. Present your puppy with a variety of treats, like lamb ears, to determine which types he likes best, but never give your dog chew toys that resemble household items that you do not want him to chew, i.e. a toy shaped like a shoe. Rotate different treats to keep your puppy’s interest and reward your puppy with praise when he chews on them.

Digging
There are many reasons why dogs dig: to cool off, search for rodents, bury and recover bones or other toys, escape confinement or just for fun. Dogs may be more prone to dig when they are left alone without another diversion. To keep your dog stimulated and occupied, provide him with chew toys and increase play and exercise time to tire him out. You may also consider getting a second dog.

You can discourage digging by changing the groundcover (replace dirt with rocks or concrete) or use remote punishment (turn on a sprinkler or toss a tin can filled with pebbles next to your pet to startle him). If your dog continues to dig, you may want to provide a digging area for him to reinforce appropriate digging.

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