Encourage Appropriate Chewing

Buy several types of chew toys and see which items your dog likes the most. Although many veterinarians discourage "white" rawhide, as it can break off in chunks and expand in the belly, causing gas and indigestion, there are many other choices on the market (see page 30 for suggestions).

If your dog enjoys pressed rawhide, for example, buy multiples and place one at each play station. If one gets carried away, buried, or lost, physically tie it to an immovable object nearby. It will be reassuring to your dog to know that she can always find her chew in the same location.

Teach your dog a cue word like BONE. Whenever you see her acting restless or staring at you, suggest BONE, take her to her play station, and show her the bone.

The Civilized Companion chapter

If you catch your dog chewing on something that you'd rather she didn't chew, don't make a big issue about it initially. If you do, your dog will think you're challenging her for the object and may react defensively or simply learn to steal the object when you're out of sight. Many young dogs take this reaction and turn it into a game—grab-and-go!

If your dog gets aggressive, don't interact with her. Call your veterinarian and ask for a referral to a professional who can help you. Don't risk getting bitten: once a dog bites, she's far more likely to bite again.

If your dog is grabbing things when you're out of sight, you need to keep her in your sight for two weeks. Use the leading and stationing exercises described in chapter 6, and remember to yell at the tempting objects, not at your dog. In addition, spray a deterrent (see page 43) on her favorite objects and reteach the concept of NO, as outlined on pages 84-85.

If you're playing grab-and-go, you need to learn a new game: grab-and-show. Make treat cups as outlined on page 42 and spread them around your home. Place your dog on a drag lead so that you have something to step on if she darts away from you. When she takes something in her mouth, shake the cup and say WHAT DID YOU FIND? If she approaches, exchange the object for treats and say THANKS FOR SHARING. Do the same thing even if you have to corner her and step on the leash to catch her.

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