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Chewing is a normal behavior for puppies but becomes undesirable destructive behavior when it is directed towards inappropriate objects such as your shoes, furniture, or even your hands and feet.

Destructive chewing behavior has many potential causes, a careful analysis of the dog’s history and environment is necessary to help identify the cause of the problem so that effective behavior modification techniques can be recommended.

With a commitment and patience you will get your dog’s destructive chewing under control. Remember that often all it takes is a little more stimulation before you leave them, a space that sets them up for success, investment in some toys they can chew, and positive reinforcement when you’re around.

Reasons For Destructive Chewing in Dogs

Dogs chew for a variety of reasons:

  • A puppy may chew because of teething
  • It can occur out of boredom or because of instinct
  • It may be a result of anxiety if your dog is uncomfortable with the surroundings or because of being left alone

Tips To Help You Manage Destructive Chewing in Dogs

Avoid Punishment

Avoid punishing your dog. Scolding or pulling things out of your dog’s mouth can cause behavior issues to develop.

Positive reinforcement of good behaviour works better than punishment of the wrong behaviour.

Talk To Your Vet

Occasionally, chewing or tearing things up can be a symptom of a more serious problem, such as separation anxiety. This can happen when dogs feel extremely anxious about being left alone without their humans.

There are other medical conditions that can cause dogs to feel compelled to chew. In fact, pica is a condition where dogs feel the need to eat non-food items, and pica can also be a symptom of underlying medical issues.

That’s why it’s so important to talk to your vet. They can diagnose your dog’s condition, prescribe treatment, and even give advice about correcting unwanted behaviors.


Just as homes must be “baby-proofed” for new babies, they must be “dog-proofed” for new puppies. Before bringing a dog home, be sure you have put away or removed any chewable items that could be destroyed. Move shoes, clothing, books, and knick-knacks to closed containers, closets, or high shelves. If you’re particularly concerned about a favorite table or chair, sprays are available that can help repel dogs—but it’s best not to rely on dog repellants for items of value.


Crating your dog is the most expedient way to keep her out of trouble. It’s also great for house-training and down time. Don’t abuse this however. If your pup needs to be alone for more than a few hours at a time, it’s best to create a larger restricted area, or “safe” room around the crate.

If your dog is crate trained, you may also crate him for short periods of time.

Dog Toys

Provide your dog with plenty of his own toys and inedible chew bones. Pay attention to the types of toys that keep him chewing for long periods of time and continue to offer those. It’s ideal to introduce something new or rotate your dog’s chew toys every couple of days so that he doesn’t get bored with the same old toys.

Spend Time with your Dog

Spend time with your dog. They’ll feel part of the family and you can observe and correct any destructive chewing behavior. If the destructive chewing only happens when your dog is alone, it may be a sign of separation anxiety or boredom.

Obedience Training

Take your dog to an obedience class to teach him important commands, like “leave it.” Classes may have the added benefit of reducing destructive behavior because they will help your dog burn off excess energy. You can also do basic training at home, using clicker training


If your dog is bored, they’ll find something to do to amuse themselves. On the other hand, a tired dog is a good dog, so make sure they get lots of physical and mental activity. The amount of exercise should be based on their age, health and breed characteristics. While daily walks and other outdoor time are crucial to their well-being, letting your dog sniff will be more enriching than trying to power walk two miles without stopping.

Be Patient

It is most important that you be patient with your dog while it is learning not to be destructive. This can be a slow process and may take several months or more. Some dogs have more anxiety and reluctance to learn new behaviors and may need long term medication and training until they feel confident on their own.


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