How To Stop Dog From Chewing Their Bed - In 3 Simple To Follow Steps
Is your dog destroying their bed?
If your pup is making you invest in a new bed several times a year, especially if it's one of the best dog bed options, you might have a problem on your hands. To know how to stop a dog from chewing on their bed, you need to understand why they do it.
In today’s article, we’ll explore the reasons behind that bed-destroying behaviour, and exactly what you should do to stop it.
Why Does My Dog Chew Their Bed?
Not all dogs chew on their beds for the same reasons. Because of that, understanding why they’re chewing will make it easier to stop that nasty habit. Here are some of the reasons why your dog could be acting out:
This is one of the most common reasons for dogs chewing on their bed. If your pup isn’t accustomed to staying alone for long periods of time, they might chew to calm themselves. If your dog chews the bed in their crate, they could suffer from anxiety.
In those cases, your best bet is to slowly train them to be more comfortable on their own. You can do this by crate training them: that way your dog will think of their crate as a safe place where they can play and sleep, you'll definitely want to make the space comfortable with a dog crate bed, just make sure you choose one with tough materials.
“Separation anxiety can cause your dog stress and unhappiness. To avoid it, train them to stay at home starting a few minutes at a time.”
If you don’t want to lock your dog in a crate for several hours, you can also leave them on a secure room with a baby gate. This will limit their roaming around the house and they’ll feel less stressed because they have more space to move.
Whatever the method you choose, it’s important to start doing exercises where the dog spends progressively more time alone. The first day, you can do 1 minute, the next day 5 and so on. You should bump the time up only when your dog stays calm for the entire duration of the exercise.
Some dogs are very sensitive and might need to start with you going in the next room instead of leaving the house. Others might be fine for short periods of time but need training to stay alone for several hours. Think about your dog’s needs and train accordingly.
PRO TIP: If you work out away from home and your dog will be alone for several hours every day, keep this in mind before adopting a new pup. Try to time the adoption with a vacation, summer break or some downtime at work. That way, you’ll have time to train them to stay at home without feeling stressed.
Are you wondering how to stop your puppy from chewing the dog bed? If they are between 3 and 7 months, they’re probably teething. Just like babies, when your puppy is changing teeth their gums itch. For around two months, your little one will want to chew on anything to feel better.
In those cases, you just need to offer a nicer chewing alternative. There are freezable toys that will alleviate the itch, or you can also offer tug-type ropes to help their gums. Just offer the toy when you see them start to chew their bed.
Sometimes dogs chew on their beds because they want food. To know if this is the reason, try to think if there’s a pattern to when your dog chews on their bed.
If your dog only chews around mealtime, and never after eating, hunger might be the cause. To fix this, try breaking up their daily food into several portions instead of one single meal.
Dogs that don’t exercise or play often enough will usually develop unwanted behaviours. This can be anything from barking all day, to overeating and chewing on their bed.
You can usually blame boredom if your four-legged friend doesn’t go on walks and also has other destroying tendencies.
In general, this is one of the easiest causes to treat. You should take your dog on longer, more frequent walks and also offer mental stimulation. The latter can be in the form of extra training: teaching your dog new tricks, or enrolling in obedience or agility classes.
Stress and frustration
For many rescue dogs, chewing on their beds might be a way to express frustration. This is common among dogs that are locked up in a kennel for most of their day, as well as dogs that haven’t learned to reign in their excitement.
In this case, owners should take the time to understand the reason for that frustration. Is it that they want to play? Extra attention? Food? Whatever that is, offer it before they get frustrated, and train them to ask nicely.
For example, a dog that chews on the bed when their owners get home as a way to control their barking, might do well with a new routine. Maybe you train them to sit quietly when someone enters the house. This will redirect their energy and keep their bed safe.
Compulsive behaviours (fabric sucking)
Dogs, like humans and other animals, can develop compulsions. This is especially common among dogs that have lived traumas like abandonment or violence, as well as puppies that lost their moms when they were very young.
In those cases, sucking can become a way to self-soothe, but also a compulsive behaviour. Dogs with compulsive behaviours don’t know how to stop even if they hurt themselves. That’s why a puppy that compulsively sucks on fabric will stay hours doing it, and even make their gums raw.
If you think your dog might have compulsive behaviours, it’s important to talk to your vet. They will be able to assess your pup and also prescribe special meds if needed. For many dogs with compulsion and trauma, meds are the only way to make training easier.
How To Stop A Dog From Chewing Up Their Bed
Once your dog keeps chewing on their bed constantly, it becomes a habit. In fact, constant chewing will destroy their bed and also get it nasty! Cleaning a dog bed can be tiresome, so it’s better to avoid the chewing altogether. In order to break this habit, you need to re-train them to chew something else.
What you need:
Now that you’re ready to start, here’s our simple guide:
1. Watch your dog
The first step is knowing your dog: what they chew, and when they do it. That way you’ll understand their telltale signs, preferences and for how long they want to chew their bed.
2. Get a proper chewing toy (or more)
Now that you know what your dog is chewing, it’s time to pick toys that you’ll let them chew on. This is key: you can’t eliminate bad behaviour without offering a better option. In the beginning, pick up an assortment of toys. Your dog will usually have a couple of favourites among those. It’s important to offer attractive toys that your dog will enjoy chewing. Then, once you need more, try to pick new toys similar to the ones they liked the best.
PRO TIP: Choose a toy that mimics the bed you want them to stop chewing on. For example, if they only chew on the plastic side of the bed, pick a firm toy. If they’d rather chew on the canvas part, try a stuffed toy or another type of canvas toy.
3. When your dog chews their bed, interrupt them
Now that you have the new toys, keep an eye on your dog but don’t offer the new toys yet. Once you see them chewing on their bed, call their name. If you see they’re focused on you, praise them and offer the new toy.
4. Redirect their behaviour
Substituting the bed with an approved toy is called redirection. This is an easy technique based on consistency. Every time they try to chew their bed, get their attention and offer the toy instead. You should do this always or it won’t work. If you have more people in the house, instruct them to do the same.
5. Praise them for chewing their toy
Thanks to the redirection, your dog will quickly understand that chewing on the toy is allowed. Now you want them to see that you enjoy it when they chew on their toy. That way, they’ll do it more often and it will become a new habit.
Every time you see your dog chewing on their toy (even if it’s not the exact toy you used to train them with), praise them and give them attention. This will reinforce that chewing on toys is allowed, but chewing on beds isn’t.
PRO TIP: Once your dog makes the connection that chewing toys is good and chewing beds is bad, you can start telling them “no” with a firm voice every time they want to chew the bed. In those cases, one correction will suffice. After you tell them no, offer the toy instead.
Expert Tricks To Control Destructive Chewing In Dogs
PRO TIP: If you and your dog aren’t used to heavy exercise, don’t start with long, intense workouts. This can be harmful to their health! Try shorter walks around the block and gradually boost the intensity and length.
My Dog Is Chewing Their Bed: What NOT To Do
Don’t punish your dog
Negative punishment like yelling, hitting or slapping, is never effective to manage your dog’s behaviour. As we already covered, most of the reasons that lead your dog to chew their bed are beyond their control or directly your fault as an owner (i.e.. Lack of exercise).
“Never physically punish a dog for chewing their bed. This will only cause anxiety and stress.”
PRO TIP: Avoid muzzling your dog to prevent chewing. Although muzzling can be done safely, it will do nothing to prevent chewing once the muzzle is off and your dog will associate negative emotions with the muzzle.
Don’t take it personal
Have you ever thought “I think my dog chew that out of spite”? Well, that’s never the case. Your dog isn’t anxious “out of spite” and them chewing your laptop’s cables wasn’t because “they knew those were important”. If your dog chews something you didn’t want to, it’s on you as the owner because you didn’t puppy-proof your home.
Just like with kids, dogs can and will get into anything they have access to. To prevent this, make sure any dangerous or valuable items are stored out of their reach. This is especially important if you’ll be leaving your dog at home by themselves. If you can’t make sure you’ve picked up everything, keep your dog on a secure space closed by a baby gate or in a spacious crate.
PRO TIP: If you’ll be putting your dog on their crate for long periods of time (1+ hours) it’s very important to provide plenty of exercise and positive attention through playtime once you get home. If not, your bored pup will misbehave every time you leave the house.
Don’t chase them
If your dog is chewing something they shouldn’t or that could be dangerous to their health, your first instinct might be to chase after them. However, this could be counter effective: your pup will either get scared or think you want to play. In both cases, they won’t release the item. A better way is to offer a replacement object, like a toy. Praise them once they let go.
PRO TIP: While you offer a chewable toy, use a command in a firm voice. This can be anything, but it should be short and easy to remember. “Release” should work well. Eventually, your dog will associate the word with “letting go”. That way, you’ll be able to use it even when you don’t have a toy to offer.
Chew-Proof Dog Beds: How To Choose The Right Bed
Looking for an anti-chew dog bed? While there isn’t a single bed that will once and for all make your dog stop chewing it, mouthy dogs respond better to some beds than others. Here’s what you should look out for:
PRO TIP: Make sure your dog has some “chewable” toys in or around their bed. That way they’ll remember to focus on the approved toys and not on their crate.
If your puppy is chewing their bed, it might seem difficult to get them to stop. However, redirecting chewing behaviour is easier than you’d think! We hope our simple tricks will help your pup stop destroying their bed in no time. Let us know your experiences down below!
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This is common advice, but we don’t recommend it. Chewing deterrent has smells and tastes that make chewing unappealing. This is useful for dogs chewing on items that they weren’t supposed to get into.
However, you want your dog to like their bed and stay in it. If you spray it with chewing deterrent, this might stop the chewing, but they won’t use their bed anymore.
Because of this, we recommend redirecting the chewing behavior and avoiding chemicals as much as possible.