Heather pack

Heather suggests finding the reason for chewing and digging with dogs.  Heather Szasz/Provided

Dog owners get very frustrated when dogs are chewing on inappropriate items and destroying the garden. Here are some reasons why they chew and dig and some actions you can take to eliminate these issues.

Chewing begins in puppyhood, this is the way they discover the world with their teeth. They are testing items for taste, feel, is it edible? When teething, chewing helps relieve the pain. You must have eyes in the back of your head with a puppy, that they are not stealing your shoes, chewing on your furniture, socks etc. Therefore, having a puppy kenneled when you are at work or any time you cannot supervise will stop your puppy from developing a habit of chewing on anything inappropriate.

Always have appropriate chewing toys. Kongs, Nylabones, or Teething Rings. Make sure you monitor their chewing, so you know that what you have provided is working well for your puppy.

Teeth cleaning, so important to keep those teeth from decaying due to food deposits. Provide appropriate chewing items. Bully Sticks, Antlers, Buffalo Horns.

Separation Anxiety is a major factor in chewing. If you cannot leave your dog at home kenneled, as he will try to get out of the kennel and then chew on the contents of your house.

I suggest a doggie daycare for your dog. If he is not social with other dogs, maybe a friend or family member can take the dog while you are at work. There are also natural remedies that can be used to help the dog relax when alone. I have found that in extreme cases, another dog was the solution.

Chewing releases endorphins in the brain, making the dog feel better. So, they are not chewing your house to make you mad, but to help them feel better.

Is your dog anxious? There are many causes of anxiety, bad diet, negative home environment, lack of exercise, not gelling with other dogs in the household, etc. I would find a solution for your dog by using a professional dog trainer and or a behaviorist vet to help you determine what the underlying cause of the anxiety is.

Digging. Is it because your dog is bored? I suggest you do not let your dog out in the yard alone, play fetch, create an agility yard, play find it with food, tug, or use a flirt pole for dogs who have a good prey drive. This is a fun way to play with your dog’s natural instinct. Make sure you watch videos on how to use the flirt pole correctly.

Is it natural for the breed, they must dig? Terriers, Beagles, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, are natural hunters. So, keep these breeds entertained outside to prevent the digging.

Do you have an escape artist? All dogs need exercising with walking on a regular basis. Some breeds like Husky, Australian Cattle/Shepherds, Border Collies, Weimaraner, and Ridgebacks, these dogs need to constantly be walked, run, or run alongside a bicycle with a proper attachment.

Others like to swim, which is a great form of exercise.

Or is your dog trying to get cool? Dogs with thick coats, such as a Husky will dig for the cooler earth.

Always look at the cause of the chewing and digging and respond with what is appropriate. They want to please us and are unable to tell us what is going on in their world. I hope that this information will help you have a happy/healthy dog.