You know the old saying, “The dog ate my homework?” Well, it came from somewhere. Dogs can be notorious chewers; they love putting stuff in their mouths. One common chewing place is your deck railing, especially if you leave Chomper alone out there all day.
Exercise your dog. If he's tired, he’s less likely to chew the deck railings. If you leave your dog on the deck while you go to work, for example, take him for a long walk, at least a 30-minute one, before you leave. Try to vary the walk to give your dog new areas to smell.
Play with your dog. Dogs need mental stimulation to keep them from being bored. If you can return home midday from work to play with your dog, he’ll be less likely to chew. Tug-of-war, fetch and catching bubbles made with a special dog bubble-blower are usually favorite dog games.
Work with your dog. Go on the deck with him. As soon as he starts chewing the railing, say, “Stop,” or “No” or clap your hands loudly. When he looks at you, offer a chew toy. When he takes the toy, praise him. Rotate the toys you offer to prevent him from becoming bored with one.
Use a dog repellant or spray on your deck rails. If your dog can’t stand the way the rails taste, he is less likely to chew them. Don’t just assume this method will work; go out and see for yourself. Read the directions on the repellant to find out how often it needs to be reapplied.
- Some rubber chew toys have an opening where you can put food treats. Your dog will likely prefer that to the deck railing.
- Don’t punish your dog if you come home and find he chewed your deck rail. She won’t understand the punishment for something she did even minutes before. She'll think you’re punishing her for whatever behavior she’s engaged in at the time. You'll only confuse her, or even make her fear you, which could worsen the chewing issue or create new problems.
- Never duct-tape or muzzle your dog’s mouth to prevent chewing. This is animal cruelty, and doing so for long, unsupervised periods could kill a dog.
- Never offer real bones to your dog, such as chicken wings or T-bones. They can splinter and injure your dog.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.