Destructive Chewing


Completed desired behavior:: A dog that chews only on appropriate items even though she has access to inappropriate items as well.


A little preparation makes this goal easy to accomplish. For the first week after your new adult dog comes home, or until 16 weeks of age if you have a new puppy, do not allow the dog access to anything inappropriate for chewing except during these training situations.


To set up first trial, give your dog a toy filled with FORSTA treats and allow her to work on it for a few minutes. Walk over and hand your dog another treat as you take the treat-filled toy away. As your dog watches from behind a gate or on a leash, drop the FORSTA-filled toy and two or three inappropriate items on the floor. You might use a remote, a balled-up pair of socks, and a pillow. Allow the dog to enter the area, sniff the objects, and find the treat-filled toy. If the dog picks up another item, encourage her to bring it to you. Present her with a treat, and take the object from her once she opens her mouth to take the treat.


Dogs under 16 weeks will explore everything with their mouths with equal satisfaction. Be prepared for that. Continue doing this in different rooms of the house with different objects. Eventually work up to two or three rooms with a treat-filled toy hidden among objects in each one. You can also hide a variety of other treats among the items, such as bully sticks, pig ears, or kangaroo jerky. If ever your dog picks up an inappropriate object, call her back to you with the promise of a treat and offer her the treat in exchange for the object. It’s critical to successful training that the dog doesn’t have the option to explore objects without the availability of an appropriate one.


Eventually, as your dog gains practice and maturity, you can simply put out a treat-filled toy daily and they will happily wait for the next treat filled toy to arrive the next day.


(Or they may possibly bring you inappropriate items in exchange for treats, which is the best some adolescents are capable of. The alternative however is grabbing things, running off with them, and destroying them. I find it rather cute when my dog brings me things, whatever they are.)