I’ll never forget the first time I left my new puppy Leinie, an Australian Shepherd, alone in my home. I was only gone four hours and returned to find a 6-inch hole in my wall. This experience solidified my view that dogs need “jobs” to do when left alone. These “jobs” reduce separation anxiety tendencies and allow dogs to stay focused on a task. Over the years, I have tested numerous chew bones/toys for my dogs and have narrowed it down to a number of “must haves” for any dogs chewing desires. Remember: Always supervise your dog when chewing on ANY new bone/toy that they could potentially swallow. Below are a few chewing tips to lower your odds of coming home to unwanted construction:
1. Meat bones. To keep a dog’s focus and desire to chew on the “right” items, I always recommend a true meat sourced bone. This could be a raw meat bone, a “bully beef stick,” or a compressed rawhide. I also like a KONG filled with peanut butter, Milk-Bones, or vegetables. All of these chewing objects are natural and will keep your dog’s focus for an extended period of time. A “bully beef stick” is made from beef pizzle, which is also good for cleaning teeth. The brands I would recommend are: Smokehouse and Red Barn. Some of the cheaper made beef sticks are treated heavily with radiation and smell really bad.
2. Non-meat bones. There are numerous safe “non-meat” chew toys available for your dog. My favorite is a Nylabone “durable” pooch pacifier. This is a hard, non-toxic chew bone that your dog will chew and carry around the home, keeping them occupied and out of trouble. A few others to consider would be a “double action chew” or a “big chews.” Both of these bones are again made by Nylabone, and can be found at Ryan’s Pet Supplies for half the cost of what you would pay at PetSmart or Petco.
So, there you have it. The above chewing options will give your dog the foundation for seeking out the “right” chewing toys and not your living room sofa. Dogs have a instinctual desire to chew and need to learn the proper chewing outlets. Increased calmness, focus, and clean teeth are just a few of the benefits from proper chewing outlets. By providing the correct chew toys your dog will soon be leaving your sofa for the guests only.
• Mark Siebel is owner of DOGGIE STEPS Dog Training, LLC. He has trained more than 700 Valley dogs, speaks regularly at local schools about the importance of dog safety and ownership, and donates time to youths wanting to learn more about dogs. Siebel is a member of the Arizona Professional Pet Sitters Association and Australian Shepherd Club of Arizona. Contact him at (602) 318-0122 or www.DoggieStepsDogTraining.com.