Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

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While dogs use their sharp sense of smell and above average vision to explore the world around them, using the mouth to touch or chew things is a favorite way to learn about the world around them. If you want to solve the destructive issue of your dog chewing on your shoes, you must track this negative habit back to its origin. You cannot prevent your dog from exploring the house and chewing on things to alleviate pain, but you can train him not to chew on important possessions, such as shoes. These negative behaviors can be observed when your dog is so anxious and upset that he cannot help himself from doing something that is considered bad, primarily because he cannot calm his nerves.
Many of your dog’s behaviors and decisions are based on sensory reactions to the world around him. In addition, clothing and other possessions will have a weaker scent than your shoes, easily detected by your dog’s keen sense of smell. Your dog’s sharp sense of smell can detect even the slightest odor, encouraging him to chew on your shoes. While you are nearby, your dog may chew on your shoes to catch your attention, hoping to get a rise out of you.
Now that you know several reasons why dogs opt to chew on shoes rather than other, more flavorful options, you will be more equipped to take to proper precautions to deal with the problem of chewing on shoes.
You can easily train him not to chew on shoes as a puppy by offering him appropriate toys, treats and other chewing options. Irrational or improper reactions displayed by owners when dogs chew on their shoes can also lead to more negative behaviors, as the dog has now learned that the chewing activity gets him more attentions.
Prevent this from happening by giving your dog plenty of physical exercise to chase away the boredom and promote exhaustion so he will rest when you are away. Understanding the reasons why chewing your shoes is so tempting to your dog can help prevent him from repeating this negative behavior again. Chewing is a natural and healthy canine activity that soothes sore teething gums, burns off excess energy, relieves tension, and helps canines deal with anxiety. Cesar Millan, a professional dog trainer and host of the television show The Dog Whisperer, suggests taking a five-step approach to stop your dog from chewing.
Keep your cool: Yelling at a dog will only make him nervous, and he may seek other items to chew. While Millan's approach may work wonders with some dogs, an owner with a different training style or a dog with a different temperament may do better with another approach. The doctors also suggest treating the item you do not want the dog to chew with a product that tastes bad to the dog, such as bitter apple. It's amazing what a difference proper exercise and mental stimulation can make in curbing chewing behavior. Make sure your dog has several acceptable chew items available to him, but make sure you supervise him because some items can present a choking hazard as they wear down. Dental chews - These chews help satisfy your dog's need to chew while they also help clean his teeth and freshen his breath.
Chewing shoes not only damages your wonderful wardrobe, but could also hurt your dog’s mouth or teeth, or he could die from choking. Owners can then choose the appropriate training methods to make dogs stop chewing on their footwear.
Just like infant children, when puppies are teething, they will try to make the pain in their sore gums feel better by chewing.
If you forbid the puppy to chew on your shoes and offer him a more appropriate chew object, such as chew toys or rawhide treats, you will eventually train your puppy not to be destructive.


Separation anxiety simply means that your dog harbors a fear of being left or abandoned at home, alone. This is when your dog might do something destructive, such as chew up your shoes, in an effort to release his anxiety and frustration on other things, especially shoes – which are often left near your door. Dogs who are left at home, alone, will often look for something to do while they wait for owners to come home. However, when you are a bored dog, you would likely decide to chew on something for entertainment and to pass the time. While shoes commonly have an unpleasant scent, owners should also realize that leather shoes often smell like food to dogs.
Sometimes, dogs look for ways to gain your undivided attention, including negative attention such as chewing on your shoes.
Once dog owners realize that strong reactions are not conducive to proper training, and can actually reinforce the pet’s bad habits, they can train their canines not to chew on shoes, when they are at home or away. Now, you should read on to discover some of the best tips to stop this destructive habit before the problem gets out of hand.
If your dog is just a puppy, now is the time to develop good habits such as chewing only on appropriate items. Your dog might become excited or afraid when you unleash your anger on him, and this behavior can often make things much worse.
It is important to remain calm during training by simply taking the shoes away without speaking or making eye contact, and walking away. After taking the shoes away from your destructive canine, offer him some safe and appropriate chew toys. If you find your shoes have been chewed on or destroyed while you were away, it is too late to punish or scold him.
The amount of exercise given should be based on your dog’s age, breed, and health condition.
Consult a dog professional for help if your pet exhibits bad housebreaking and separation anxiety behaviors. If your dog attempts to chew on an inappropriate item while in your presence, simply interrupt the behavior and re-direct him to an appropriate chew toy. Exercise is vitally important for dogs prone to inappropriate chewing or other destructive behaviors.
Occasionally chewing or tearing things up is a symptom of a more serious problem, such as separation anxiety.
A few training books are still on the market that advocate inhumane methods for stopping destructive behaviors, such as putting duct tape around a pet’s mouth or physically hitting a dog. Unfortunately, a dog's chewing can be rather indiscriminate, so teach your pet the difference between acceptable and unacceptable chewing. Ideally this will get your dog's attention and allow you to direct him away from the object.
Bitter apple is a non-toxic and biodegradable spray that can be used topically on abrasions to stop your dog from chewing or licking. If your dog does manage to get something that's off limits, blame yourself for forgetting to put it away. He'll associate the praise with the object and his chewing, and this will eventually lead him to select acceptable chew items all the time. Your dog wants to please you, so you just need to teach him the rules in a way that makes sense to him.


In the information that follows, you will learn how to save your shoes from a chew-happy canine.
In the information below, you will find some of the more common reasons why dogs like chewing on shoes. If your dog barks excessively, displays negative housebreaking behaviors, or chews your shoes while you are not home, this could mean that your dog hates being left alone. If your dog can find another way to chase the boredom away, you have successfully saved your shoes from destruction.
This is because dogs can usually gain easier access to your shoes than to your other things, as these are often lying around on the floor.
Perhaps your dog chews on your shoes in an effort to be close to you while you are away or distracted. If you yell at your dog when he is caught chewing on your shoes, or if you laugh at his destructive behavior, your dog might learn that chewing is a game that works to get your attention. Because chewing is one of your dog’s most basic instincts, it is going to be near impossible to make him stop. This is because your dog cannot associate the punishment to an action that occurred several hours ago. Making sure your dog gets enough physical and mental activity can not only solve the problem of chewed up shoes, but it can also help by spending your dog’s excessive energy and building better overall health. Chewing or tearing things up (like paper) can also be a displacement behavior, a way to release pent-up energy or stress. For example, spray items with Bitter Apple spray or Boundary dog repellant, or use a Scat Mat at the edge of a countertop, to stop counter surfers. It can also be used on furniture, electric cords and molding to deter your dog from chewing. The exercise provides a proper outlet for his energy and takes his mind off chewing for a while.
Nylabones come in different sizes, styles, colors and textures for different chewing behaviors. Be consistent, stick with one word commands that are more easily understood, and provide plenty of appropriate items for your dog to chew. There are many dog toys for sale in pet stores and online, some of which are even shaped like shoes! But we often forget that many adult dogs need the same type of management to keep them out of trouble. Many pups have certain times of day when they are more likely to chew, so you can head this behavior off at the pass if you choose this time of day to give the dog an approved chewie. This type of training operates on the same principle as a child touching a hot stove – if something is particularly unpleasant, most likely the child or the dog will make the decision not to repeat that behavior.
In fact, it is these endorphins that are stimulated by chewing, so if your dog is not getting enough exercise, he may unconsciously be seeking to replace needed endorphins by releasing pent-up energy through chewing. The use of proper management (for instance, crating a dog when he is not under your direct supervision), along with proper exercise, takes care of 99 percent of destructive behavior problems. They may walk into the house and take off their shoes, and then your pup may carry them away as a new toy.



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