A DOG training expert has revealed their seven top tips for stopping your pooch from chewing the furniture.
Ben Randall, who owns Beggarbush Gundog Kennels in Ledbury, Herefordshire, is all too familiar with the problem but is confident in why it happens and how to fix it.
Ben, whose kennels have been used by celebs including Gordon Ramsay, told Country Life: "Sofas, chairs, carpets, tables, shoes, cushions, sports gear… I’ve heard of dogs who’ll chew it all, up to and beyond the point of destruction, and then happily go and find something new to chew.
"It’s a problem faced by many dog owners."
For very old or very young dogs, he suggested that the cause could be separation anxiety or an underlying issue.
However, for dogs of around six months old or over, he said it is likely to be that the poor pet is struggling with teething.
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Ben explained: "It varies from breed to breed, but most dogs start to lose their baby teeth at three to four months to be replaced with adult teeth, which come through gradually over the following months.
"Just as with babies and young children, it can be an unpleasant experience time for them, and they’ll often find that chewing things soothes the discomfort.
"The problem, then, isn’t so much a case of stopping them chewing: it’s about managing their chewing so that they can soothe themselves without it being destructive."
He went on to recommend a number of ways to guard against the teething issue, while making sure that your dog is in discomfort.
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First of all, he advised that puppy owners put a stop to chewing from the start.
For a "seamless" transition to new beds, Ben said that he makes sure to use standard vet bedding that is fixed to the floor for the first two months of a puppy's life.
This means that the little dogs don't learn to bite rags or bedding and have only used their mouth to pick up toys.
A second tip, if the dog gnaws on objects beyond the puppy stage, is to get them a "high quality, satisfying and long-lasting" chew toy.
Ben said: "Your dog always needs to have some sort of treat or chew which will last them for as long as you need it to.
"My preference is to give the dog some kind of quality antler, hoof, bone or something that they can chew on whilst they’re in that bed area.
"With young dogs, after 20-30 mins chewing, they’ll almost always get tired and fall asleep."
Another pearl of wisdom is to put a stop to chewing by making sure you train your dog in the "leave" command.
He explained: "If your dog is chewing furniture and other things during in the day, he has to be supervised — you can’t just let him roam around and cause damage to your home.
"The moment you catch your dog chewing something it shouldn’t, by using ‘leave’ and removing the dog from the area, the dog will quickly understand they’re not allowed to do what they were doing."
However, it's obviously not possible to supervise your dog all the time, so if they're determined to chew, Ben suggested removing the item they have set their sights on while they are left alone.
In his kennels, dogs are only able to chew what they are given, while at home you could give the dog a large crate or divided-off area in a room, where they can't get their jaws around anything but their chew toy.
One thing Ben said you should definitely not do is play 'tug-o-war' with your pooch.
He added: "Buying big tug ropes and playing physical tugs of war with your dog will only wind up your dog, and get [them] wired.
"They’ll normally win and take the rope off you, then head off to chew it and rip it — and when they do that, they’re learning that it’s okay to chew and rip material.
"While some dogs can tell the difference, others will happily move on from rope to carpet to upholstery without seeing that they’re doing anything wrong."
Ben's sixth tip was to tire the dog out with long walks or "positive training".
This will mean they need a rest afterwards and will "always make them more relaxed and less destructive."
Finally, if all else fails, you may have to consider a specialist bed.
Even Ben, with all his training expertise, has had to do this before.
He recalled: "For a long time we found that dogs who were destructive chewers would go through plastic dog beds on a weekly basis.
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"I eventually bit the bullet and ordered hammock-style Kuranda dog beds which promised to be completely indestructible.
"I’ll be honest, I was wary — particularly as they aren’t cheap — but they’ve been a marvel. With multiple dogs using them, seven days a week, for six years now, not one bed has been replaced."
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