For as long as dogs have been our favorite pets, humans have had to deal with a particular problem, which can occur no matter the breed, the size, or in some cases the age, of the dog. That problem is dogs chewing things they shouldn’t.
In some circles, they actually say you haven’t truly become a dog owner until one of your dogs has chewed up something they shouldn’t. That could be the newspaper, the mail, the leg of the dining room table, or any one of thousands of other items that may have fallen victim to a dog’s teeth.
One item that often gets mentioned in relation to chewing is a harness, so let’s look at ways we can help you to stop your dog chewing their harness, and as a result, hopefully, stop them chewing other items as well.
Why Dogs Chew What They Shouldn’t?
Any parent who has ever discovered their child painting the kitchen walls or pouring jam all over the floor knows that, in doing so, the child knew deep down that they were being naughty. That may be partly why dog owners when they discover that their dog has chewed something, chastise them for being ‘naughty.’
This is another example of us placing human attributes into dogs, and assuming that they think in the same way we do. They don’t and trying to correct their behavior in the same you would a child is not going to work.
Dogs do not decide one day that they are going to be a pain in the neck and wind their owners up for a laugh. Instead, their behavior is guided by their instinct, and in certain circumstances, unless corrected, their instinct is to chew things.
They chew for several different reasons, which includes:
- Separation anxiety
- Ease tooth or gum problems
- It is what dogs do!
That last point may seem silly, but it is akin to asking why humans tap their foot or dance to music. It is something that comes naturally to us and gives us pleasure and to a dog, chewing on a toy or a big juicy bone is pleasurable too.
One other chewing scenario is with regards to puppies. When they are teething, they use chewing as way to soothe their gums, in much the same way human babies have soothers when their teeth are coming through.
Eliminating One Reason Why They Might Be Chewing Their Harness
Before we look at ways of stopping your dog chewing their harness, we need to ensure that the cause isn’t something relating to the harness itself.
What we are referring to is the harness being too tight on the dog, and possibly irritating them or even hurting them in some way. If any of these apply, then the reason they are chewing their harness, especially if they do not chew anything else, is that they are trying to relieve what’s bothering them.
If so, then there are several ways you can help. First, ensure that the harness size is appropriate for your dog, Next, ensure that any strap adjustment isn’t making the harness too tight for your dog.
Finally, do not keep the harness on your dog all day, and in particular at night. Remove it as often as possible to reduce any chance of the harness causing them discomfort, and always take it off them when they go to bed for the night.
How to Stop Your Dog Chewing Their Harness?
Some dog owners advise buying a chew-proof harness which is a harness made from materials that your dog cannot chew through. While there is nothing wrong with those harnesses, it only eliminates the symptoms of your dog’s chewing, rather getting to the root cause of why they are chewing.
Assuming there are no issues with the harness in terms of size and comfort, if your dog is still trying to chew it, and other items, there is a more entrenched reason for the dog’s behavior.
Bear in mind chewing is natural to them, so the key is, if they are going to chew, we want them to chew on things without being destructive. Here are some ways to achieve that.
- Assess what items your dog is most attracted to in terms of what they chew, and wherever possible remove them from sight. This is why we say to take their harness off whenever it is not needed.
- Use taste deterrents that you can spray on the items they tend to chew in order to make them taste very unpleasant to them. You will soon know if this works if you dog about turns when it approaches an item that has been sprayed.
- Provide lots of other chewing options for them. Indestructible toys, chew sticks, and bones are just a few of the things they will prefer to chew than their harness.
- Praise and reward them when they chew on the items they are allowed to chew. Also, use your voice to make them aware they are bad if they approach banned items.
- If you catch them, tell them to drop the item rather than trying to pull it out of their mouth. They might think this is a game otherwise and continue.