How to Stop Your Dog From Chewing His Dog Bed
There are several different approaches to stop your dog from chewing their dog bed.
It is essential to understand the reasons behind their action because dogs repeat behavior they find rewarding; if it's due to stress, anxiety, or boredom, you should provide alternatives such as chewing toys and interactive games to keep them entertained.
Having clear rules for your dog and consistently redirecting and reinforcing those with praise allows them to learn how to behave.
This article examines why dogs chew through their beds and gives you effective tips to prevent this behavior.
Why does my dog chew his bed?
Chewing could be a result of insufficient exercise, boredom, or stress in your dog. Just as cats scratch, chewing is part of a dog’s instinctual behavior. It is the outcome of inborn instincts going back to the time dogs hunted down prey.
Unfortunately, chewing can be life-threatening as pieces of bedding could get stuck in the dog’s throat, causing them to choke.
Around 4% of dogs need veterinary care due to chewing on inedible things.
This is why it’s imperative to understand the root causes of this behavior to learn how to prevent it.
Let’s examine them one by one
1. Following his Instincts
Dogs were hunters before being domesticated. Thus, chewing stems from the dog's past as a hunter.
When a dog shakes the stuffed toys or tears the beds into pieces, this activates their innate hunting instinct.
But, of course, you may get annoyed to see your dog ripping apart the comfy bed you carefully chose.
How Can You Channel This Instinct?
Chewing is something most dogs enjoy doing, so if yours has started to chew on inappropriate things like furniture or bed, investigate what other chewable materials are available in your home.
You should avoid shouting or punishing your dog for destroying their bed at any cause.
It’s essential to give pet-friendly materials to your dog for chewing as a way for them to release this innate treat.
Negative reinforcement is harmful and can worsen the problem as your dog won't understand why they are being punished. In addition, it may result in other destructive behavior.
Unfortunately, traditional dog beds are soft and designed for mellow pets that don’t have destructive habits. So the best thing you could do is buy a sturdy, durable bed that can withstand rough use.
Then, both you and your dog will be happy.
2. Exploring new objects
At times, a dog plays with stuff by chewing it. They want a better understanding of what it is, and they love to explore with their teeth and tongue!
Throughout their life, your dog will chew items as a way of testing them.
Maybe the dog wants to see if anything good comes out of it.
Your pup may also chew on an object for enjoyment - does it smell, look, or taste good?
If they find it amusing and no proper guidance is given, this pattern of behavior will be repeated.
How Can You Redirect This Exploration?
When you observe your adult dog chewing the bed, redirect their attention to some appropriate chew toys. You could also provide dental chew sticks.
Apart from chew toys and stuffed animals, interactive dog toys with stuffed food or treats will also help.
These toys keep your dog mentally stimulated as they work for their rewards.
3. Getting Bored
Any animal that doesn’t receive sufficient stimulation suffers boredom.
A bored animal can engage in destructive behavior.
If your dog is alone at home for long hours while you are at work, they will feel lonely and bored.
Even if you lead a busy home life that stops you from spending time with your dog, remember that they need attention and stimulation.
How Can You Prevent Boredom?
Dogs may become destructive out of boredom if they don’t receive attention or suitable toys to play with.
You could leave your dog suitable toys for engagement while you’re busy or away from home.
For example, consider buying stimulating chew toys that keep them happily occupied.
As a result, your dog won’t need to chew on the bed as a fun pastime.
4. Not Enough Exercise
Different dogs have varying levels of energy. Therefore, they need to engage in physical activity to utilize that energy somehow. If dogs don’t find a way to get enough exercise, they will likely chew on their bed.
All dogs thrive on daily exercise to get mental and physical stimulation.
For instance, high-energy breeds like Border Collies and Belgian Malinois need excessive exercise to stay healthy and stress-free.
You should only buy an active dog breed if you’re willing to take care of their physical activity needs.
In addition, did you know the right amount of exercise can help prolong your dog’s life and reduce the risk of obesity?
How Can You Prevent Lack of Exercise?
Exercise will help reduce destructive behavior. After running around and letting off energy, your dog will be tired. So they will prefer to sleep instead of chewing the furniture.
One of the best things to do is make sure your dog gets ample exercise. For example, try walking them briskly for 30 minutes in the morning and then again in the evening.
If you are busy at work or need to travel frequently, you could look into a dog walker.
Maybe you have a trusted neighbor who is happy to provide some companionship to your dog and take them for a walk.
You may also hire a professional dog walker.
5. Suffering From Separation Anxiety
All dogs require attention from their owners to stay happy. Yet, some dogs need more attention than others. When dogs stay alone for long, they suffer from separation anxiety.
According to veterinary behavioral specialists, about 20% to 40% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety.
Your dog may fear that you won’t return. As a result, they could feel insecure and doubt your love and companionship.
How Can You Prevent Separation Anxiety?
Some dog breeds suffer more from separation anxiety than others. Chewing on their beds can also be a consequence of separation anxiety.
If your pet is used to being with you for long periods, they may feel abandoned in your absence.
For example, if your dog is chewing the bed for attention when you come home from work, devote some time to them before they misbehave.
If your dog gets anxious when left alone, leave the TV turned on or some soothing music as this is good therapy for anxiety.
On the other hand, you may need to take your dog to a professional for severe cases of anxiety. They will help you by determining the cause and suggest steps to remedy it.
6. Suffering From Stress
Dogs pick up habits quickly. Hence, once there’s a slight change in their routine, they find it hard to cope up and adapt. This leads to behavioral problems such as biting or chewing their dog bed.
Your dog could be simply stressed out! Did you move around or had some guests lately? Dogs may feel a little scared to see new people and surroundings. There might be some noises that are causing them distress.
Some studies also show your pup can get stressed if they sense you’re upset.
Dogs react to stress in different ways. Some dogs bottle up their feelings while others display their stress by being destructive.
How Can You Prevent Stress?
Unfortunately, there is not always an easy solution to stress. The best way to combat stress is by figuring out the reason first. If your dog is showing extreme stress symptoms, it’s recommended to take them to a vet.
Sometimes the problem will resolve by itself. At other times, you may need to change your dog’s routine or remove the stressors.
Street noises may stress your dog out. First, try to move their bed to another room, away from the noise.
If your dog is comfortable in a travel cage, it will be calmer when left alone. Rather than being destructive, your dog can nap in the crate because they feel safe there.
Put your dog’s favorite toys in the cage to keep them happily occupied.
8. Experiencing Frustration
Some dogs vent their frustration through inappropriate behavior and chew anything around them. This is particularly common in sensitive dogs.
Some dogs get upset with negative reinforcement. For example, when you scold your dog because of their mischief, they may chew their bed. It’s not under their control because they don’t know what else to do.
Your dog may also chew stuff because of boredom and restlessness. But, on the other hand, they could get frustrated for a variety of reasons. Biting is a way for dogs to release frustration.
Maybe you had too much work to do, and you couldn’t take your dog on a walk. Or, you have a very energetic dog. Whatever the reason is, that pent-up energy needs an outlet!
How Can You Prevent Frustration?
Positive reinforcement and praise go a long way. Furthermore, consistent times for meals, play, and walks throughout the day have a calming effect on dogs.
Your dog will start to chew out of boredom as well. It is one of the most common reasons behind destructive habits. And what is better here than a soft furry bed?
Also, you must divert your dog’s attention from unwanted behavior. Instead of scolding them, do the following:
- Buy some new toys
- Spend some time outside with your dog
- Try to explain them gently with pats
In a nutshell, you shouldn’t let your dog get too bored, or else they will start chewing to pass the time.
When your dog displays destructive behavior, offer them other, safer options to chew on. Encourage them to chew on these items rather than the bed.
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