Have you been wondering why does my German Shepherd chew everything? Here’s our guide for what to expect at each age of your German Shepherd and 8 tips for stopping chewing on things they shouldn’t.
Why does my German Shepherd chew everything?
Chewing is a natural behavior for German Shepherds. Puppies chew to alleviate discomfort from teething and adult German Shepherds chew to maintain strong teeth and jaws.
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Chewing is also a way for dogs, particularly young ones, to understand the world around them. However, destructive chewing by a German Shepherd is considered abnormal and should be prevented.
Chewing is necessary for a dog to properly digest its food. It helps to break down the food and increase the surface area for enzymes to aid in chemical digestion. Additionally, it assists the stomach in mechanical digestion.
However, it is worth considering whether excessive chewing is beneficial for a dog.
Are German Shepherds bad chewers?
No, German Shepherds are not inherently bad chewers. Chewing is an instinctual behavior for them. By providing them with appropriate toys to chew on, bad habits can be avoided.
Therefore, it would be incorrect to say that they are bad chewers. In fact, German Shepherds are good chewers.
It is the responsibility of their owners and veterinarians to ensure that they do not develop bad habits. Chewing is generally considered a positive behavior in German Shepherds.
At what age do German Shepherds stop chewing everything?
A German Shepherd typically stops chewing everything by the age of 7 to 8 months, as at this point their teething issues are resolved and they have developed their essential and basic behaviors and habits.
How to stop my German Shepherd from chewing everything?
1. Dog-proof your home
You need to deter your German Shepherd from destructive chewing. It can be difficult for a dog to understand the difference between chewing a toy and chewing a pillow if they were not taught the distinction as a puppy.
Positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewarding the dog with a treat for exhibiting the desired behavior, can be effective in reinforcing good habits. To prevent your German Shepherd from chewing on valuable or harmful items in the house, it is important to dog-proof your home.
When you first bring a German Shepherd puppy home, closely supervise them in the house to ensure they do not chew on anything they should not. Introduce your German Shepherd to the distinction between what they can and cannot chew on.
It may take a few months for these efforts to take full effect. Remember that your German Shepherd needs clear and consistent rules. This creates a sense of security and comfort, which can help prevent destructive chewing in adulthood.
2. Provide Appropriate Chewing Toys
Chewing is a natural tendency for dogs and should not be discouraged. However, destructive chewing should be prevented or addressed through providing alternative activities.
According to professionals in dog care, providing your dog with toys (like bones) to chew on as an alternative to valuable items can promote healthy stimulation and maintain their interest.
Additionally, it is recommended to regularly switch out the toys to prevent habituation, and reduce the likelihood of the dog chewing on inappropriate items.
According to veterinarians who specialize in preventing infections, it is important to evaluate your German Shepherd’s chewing habits to determine their type of chewing. This will help you choose the most appropriate chew toys for your dog.
It is important to remember that your German Shepherd should not be allowed to chew on toys all day, as this can lead to other behavioral issues. When your dog shows signs of attempting to chew on something they should not, redirect them to chew toys instead.
The rest of the day should be filled with training, exercise, rest, and time spent bonding with you.
Additional nibbling consideration:
Tasty snacks can be a fun way to break up the monotony for your German Shepherd. While they may not last long, I personally like to use them as a reward for my German Shepherd when they exhibit good behavior.
3. Leave it Command
Despite proper training, your German Shepherd may occasionally attempt to chew on items they should not, such as the leg of a wooden kitchen table. When you notice your dog becoming interested in a non-chewable item, such as hardwood furniture, it is important to use anti-chew techniques to discourage this behavior.
One effective method is to use the command “leave it!” to stop your German Shepherd from chewing on something they shouldn’t. You can also expand on this command by giving your dog the object they are trying to chew, and repeating the command when they put it in their mouth.
Each time your dog obeys the command, reward them with a treat, their favorite chew toy, or a compliment to reinforce the desired behavior.
A mature German Shepherd requires plenty of physical and psychological engagement, as well as at least 2 hours of strength training per day. This can be split up into morning and evening walks, as well as daytime games and workout stretches.
If your German Shepherd is not receiving plenty of exercise, his high energy and intelligence will have to be channeled elsewhere. Likewise, he will become bored and confused, which can lead to deteriorating behavior, such as unnecessary chewing.
Studies have shown that when compared to those who received the appropriate amount of daily activity, puppies with minimal physical activity were more susceptible to anxiety disorders and auditory intolerance.
5. Chew Alternatives
Many pet owners believe it is acceptable to give their German Shepherds old footwear or scraps of discarded clothing to chew on, rather than more valuable items still in use. This is incorrect thinking.
6. Anti-Chew Deterrents
Consider using safe anti-chew dog deterrents if your German Shepherd is chewing on things. This approach is based on an aversive conditioning strategy, in which your dog associates the item with a repellent scent or taste, making it “not good” for chewing.
7. Use a Crate
If you must keep your German Shepherd dog confined at home, keep him contained in a crate. Most dogs view their crates as a special place where they can relax or nap after exercise. Crates with double doors are commonly used.
They provide you with more options when it comes to placing it in your home, but a single-door option works as well. Make sure to get a size of 48 inches so your German Shepherd has enough room to move around and stretch easily.
To keep him occupied, you can leave him with two or three chew toys.
8. Veterinarian Appointment
Medical conditions such as anemia, diabetes, or gastrointestinal diseases can lead to destructive chewing. Be sure to stick to your German Shepherd’s yearly veterinarian check-up schedule to ensure your dog isn’t suffering from these conditions and causing excessive chewing as a result.
This allows for early detection and treatment of any illnesses that your German Shepherd may be experiencing.