How do I Stop my Dog from Chewing Everything?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

When dogs are young, usually under a year old, it's fairly normal for them to engage in significant chewing. Beyond this age, and usually at about six months, puppies can begin to be taught how not to chew on everything in sight. This an important behavior to teach for the safety of any items in home people hold dear, and also for the sake of the dog, who could accidentally chew or choke on dangerous items.

Giving a dog plenty of exercise will help reduce negative chewing behavior.
Giving a dog plenty of exercise will help reduce negative chewing behavior.

Dog chewing may continue well after the first year for a variety of reasons — usually boredom or a lack of exercise. Tired dogs don’t chew, so it’s important to make sure a dog has adequate exercise each day. A couple hours of walking, or an hour in the dog park may be a terrific way to cut down on chewing behavior, because the dog will typically prefer to sleep at home instead of attacking a shoe or a couch to relieve boredom and excess energy.

Providing supervision and correcting the dog for unacceptable chewing may help stop the behavior.
Providing supervision and correcting the dog for unacceptable chewing may help stop the behavior.

The real key to stop your dog from chewing, in addition to getting the dog plenty of exercise, is to provide constant supervision. It can be assumed that a dog wandering away from its owner is likely to find something to chew on. Keep the dog on a leash when out, and keep a close eye on the dog when at home. This gives owners the chance to provide quick correction if the dog begins to chew on anything.

Providing a dog with acceptable chew toys may help reduce bad chewing habits.
Providing a dog with acceptable chew toys may help reduce bad chewing habits.

Corrections can be varied. They can include a quick snap of the leash and the word “No!” Alternately, dogs may hate the sound of pennies in a can and the can may be shaken each time chewing begins. Some people prefer a squirt of water aimed at the dog. Unacceptable corrections include screaming at the dog or hitting it, as this may stress the dog into more chewing behavior.

A crate is a safe place to keep a dog when an owner can't watch it.
A crate is a safe place to keep a dog when an owner can't watch it.

The other half of this equation is giving the dog acceptable things to chew. Have a few designated chewing toys, which should never be old clothes, shoes or anything formerly belonging to the owner. Any time chewing behavior occurs, perform the correction, give the dog the designated toy, and if the dog takes it, also treat the dog or give praise. This way, a dog can quickly learn that there is a difference in the home between acceptable and unacceptable chewing items.

It can take a few months to completely eliminate dog chewing, and it is wise to have a space for a dog that is safe when the owner can’t watch it. Crates are excellent for this purpose, and also bear in mind that it’s dangerous for the dog to be in areas of the home where it could chew on anything that is unsafe. Make sure to get things like electrical wiring off the floor, and try not to leave socks or shoes around that the dog might find attractive. Outdoors, be sure any plants that might be chewed are non-toxic, since poisoning can be a concern.

Usually, with attention, correction, substitution, and exercise, most dogs will end chewing behavior. If it continues, consider consulting a dog trainer or dog behaviorist for more tips. Most people can resolve these bad habits with a little time and attention, however.

Significant chewing occurs in puppies under a year old.
Significant chewing occurs in puppies under a year old.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


@literally45-- Are chewing paws treats shaped like paws to treat chewing?

I'm looking for something like that because my dog has a paw chewing problem. She chews on her own paws, it's terrible.


My dog doesn't chew on everything, but he loves shoes. He's destroyed four of my shoes until now. I have tried giving him other stuff to chew on. I've tried yelling at him and telling him that this is not acceptable. But he continues!

He doesn't chew anything else. If I keep my shoes out, he directly goes for the shoes. What can I do about this?


From my experience with my own dogs, puppies tend to chew on things when they're teething because their gums hurt and itch. Babies do the same when they're teething. So when puppies are chewing on things to relieve these symptoms, I don't think they should be yelled at. Because this is not a behavioral problem, it's a physical need. Only if the dog continues to do this after teething is over should disciplinary methods be tried.

The puppy chewing problem can easily be solved by giving chewing toys and hard snacks that will massage the gums. I've used dog chewing paws and dog chewing furniture with success.


I have found that the best way to keep my dog from chewing on things was to get him another puppy to play with! Dogs would much rather chew on each other than chew on furniture. It's way more entertaining to chew on something that moves around and chews back than to demolish an inanimate object.


The only way for me to stop my dog from chewing things was to put him in a room at night with nothing to chew. He stayed outside in the daytime, so as long as I kept important things out of the way, he was all right.

He would find a log to chew on if he tired of his toys, but I made sure to have plenty of toys there to entertain him. This was especially important in the house at night. I had to remove everything from the room except the toys.


@cloudel – That's one of the techniques that my trainer recommended. I took my eight month old puppy in for dog training because of chewing, and it made all the difference.

She taught me that the main thing I needed to do was come across as the dominant one. My dog had been viewing me as submissive, because I failed to take charge. Taking charge did not involve violence or meanness, though.

One of the first exercises we did involved me holding my dog until she ceased to struggle. I folded my body down over hers until she kept still, and then I let her go. This gave me control, and she started listening when I would tell her not to chew.


It's really important to stop your dog from chewing when you become its favorite chew toy. My dog would chew on his toys when I wasn't around, but as soon as I came into the picture, he would quickly abandon his toy in favor of my arm.

Puppies don't yet have a sense of how to bite gently, so they put all they have into their play. Puppy teeth are sharp, so that, combined with the intense pressure they exert, makes for a painful bite.

So, what I tried was gently grasping his nose while folding the loose tissue of his lips into his mouth. This meant that whenever he bent down, he would first bite himself. This worked as long as I kept doing it over and over.


Bhutan- I am going to try that with my dog. I have to stop my dog from chewing things up in my home. I was also thinking of dog training. The local Pet’s Mart offers obedience classes for dogs and I was thinking of signing him up for those.


I love the idea of shaking pennies to distract the dog from chewing. I had never thought of that.

What I usually do to get my dog to stop chew on things is, I get him a chew toy and some chewing treats.

Pet Supermarket has one product called the Kong Stuff which is a chew toy made of rubber on the outside that contains a tasty treat in the middle. The dog can smell the treat but it takes him a while to access it.

This is a great treat because it keeps the dog entertained for a long time which helps with dog chewing problems.

Post your comments
Forgot password?