Do you remember the first time you met your pet? He was tiny enough to fit right in your arms-- those little paws and how he would playfully nibble your fingers! Undoubtedly, the puppy years are the most adorable time you share with your dog. But, these initial years are also the most challenging: both for you as well as your pup.
While you try to understand your dog’s needs, he is also trying to discover his new space on his own. Despite the strong sense of smell and vision your dog has, one of his preferred ways of learning about new places is using his mouth to explore. Although this is mostly a part of the teething phase which he is likely to outgrow, improper training or reprimanding can cause this behavior to continue. If you observe your dog indulging in incessant licking, sucking, or mouthing, follow these three tips to help him stop this behavior.
- Figure out the underlying issue
There is a reason why your dog is chewing your favorite shoes or furniture. He is either trying to tell you something or wants your attention. Finding out the underlying cause is the first step towards fixing the problem. Most of the time, dogs chomp up things or fixate due to separation anxiety or boredom. Spending some quality time with him is all you need to do to make him happy. It will also help encourage a healthy state of mind and stop him from practicing undesired behavior.
- Channelize all the pent-up energy
Usually, dogs pick up oral fixation behaviors when they do not have adequate mental and physical stimulation. In other words, when your dog doesn’t have enough to do, he uses all that stored-up energy to chew or lick things around him. You can encourage healthy behavior by taking him for long walks and trying different routes. Sometimes, this will put your dog in a happy mood by giving him a new experience and some much-needed exploration for his inquisitive streak.
- Encourage good practices with positive reinforcements
Puppies chew to ease the pain in their gums caused by teething. Help alleviate the pain while keeping him happily occupied by giving his gums some healthy exercise. Give your puppy a frozen wash cloth to chew; the cold can help soothe his gums. However, keep a close eye to ensure he doesn’t swallow anything. If you catch him chewing the furniture or shoes, make a loud noise to distract him. Once you have his attention, offer him a chew toy and coax him to take it. When he picks up the toy, praise him and tell him what a good boy he is.
Generally, oral fixation results from injuries. Dogs have the tendency to lick wounds compulsively until they heal. Such behavior can also arise due to health issues such as skin allergies, neurological problems, and dental and gastrointestinal conditions. Take good care of your dog’s health and provide him with enough activities to make him happy; you’ll see his behavior improve in no time!