Dogs can suddenly chew everything around them for numerous reasons—puppy teething, boredom, attention-seeking or even medical issues. While it can be maddening to get your shih tzu trained to stop chewing, being vigilant is the key to protecting your shoes and furniture from his sharp teeth.
Supervise your dog at all times until you have been able to train him to stop chewing. Do not leave him unattended anywhere that he can find something to chew on and continue the habit.
Remove anything chewable from your shih tzu's reach: this includes anything made of leather (such as shoes), rubber (that is not a toy), wood and upholstered furniture. Since it is impossible to take everything out of a room, leashing or crating him in the house when he cannot be supervised directly, and keeping him out of other rooms, is recommended until the behavior stops.
Give your shih tzu toys and treats that can be used for chewing—such as a rawhide bone or rubber toy. Make sure he has plenty of toys and exercise to keep him from getting bored, which can lead to chewing.
Spray items with an unpleasant-tasting substance, such as bitter apple, that will not hurt the shih tzu but will deter him from chewing.
Scold your shih tzu and remove him from the area if you catch him in the act of chewing on something he should not; however, do not yell or chase him to get the object back. If he is simply seeking attention, he will consider that behavior an acceptable substitute.
Praise your shih tzu and provide positive attention when he uses his toys and rawhides to chew on instead of something less desirable—such as your grandmother's heirloom vanity table.
- If the problem persists even with training, have your shih tzu looked at by your vet to rule out any problems with his teeth or overall health.
- It is no longer recommended to strike dogs with a rolled-up newspaper as punishment.
- Do not scold your dog for chewing unless you catch him in the act. You'll just confuse him.
Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."