Most of the time, it is perfectly natural for dogs and puppies to chew on things. It provides teething relief (for puppies), helps with boredom, anxiety, frustration, and helps your dog to develop a stronger jaw. It is also a great activity for helping your German Shepherd’s teeth stay clean!
However, there are times when your German Shepherd might be chewing for a different reason, and causing destruction in the process. There are several probable causes for destructive chewing, and today we are going to take a look at some of them, as well as steps that you can take to stop the chewing from occurring.
Separation Anxiety is a common cause of destructive chewing. When a dog who does not like to be left alone is put in a situation where there is no one else around, it can cause a great deal of stress. Many German Shepherds will chew to relieve that stress, and often they will exhibit other signs, such as barking. You can combat this by spending more time with your German Shepherd, or even doing something simple such as leaving on the television or radio while you are gone.
Hunger or lack of nutrition is another cause of destructive chewing, and this occurs when dogs are looking for food because they aren’t getting enough to eat or enough nutrition from their current diet. If you think this is the case, try giving your pet an extra serving of food each day, or consult your veterinarian about vitamin supplements.
Boredom is a big cause of destructive chewing – since a German Shepherd is an intelligent breed, he or she is going to need a lot of mental stimulation to remain happy. Purchase toys that will make your dog think – such as a Kong treat dispenser or a similar toy. These types of toys are designed to make your dog use their intelligence to receive a treat from the inside. It will keep them occupied and help keep their minds active.
Frustration is common, especially if a dog is not getting enough attention from their human. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, it can contribute to frustration and stress, which in turn will cause them to take their frustrations out in other ways. Spending more time with your dog, taking him or her out more, and playing fun games together can alleviate the stress your pet might be feeling.
Teething. Younger dogs and puppies have teething pain, just like babies. When they are getting new teeth in, it can help to chew on things to ease the pain. If this is the case, provide your puppy with things that are safe to chew, such as toys geared especially for teething puppies, or toys with pouches that can have an ice cube safely secured inside.
Whatever the cause of your puppy’s destructive chewing, it can usually be examined and treated easily, with a little bit of love and guidance from you. Remember never to yell at or hit your dog if you find damage he or she did hours ago – your dog will not be able to realize that the reason you are scolding him or her is from the chewing. Also, do not muzzle your dog or tie your dog’s mouth shut – this is inhumane and not the way to deal with the problem. You need to determine the cause of the problem and then work to solve it, and the chewing should begin to be resolved.