It is important to realize that all dogs chew! It is their natural instinct and after all, they were wild predators just a few millenniums ago, right? Now, the reasons your French Bulldog chews things are numerous. Sometimes, that behavior is completely normal and acceptable and sometimes it can be classified as destructive behavior, such as chewing shoes, furniture or some object that could hurt your dog. In order to stop this kind of behavior, you need to know the exact cause to why your dog feels the need to chew things. Here are some tips that should help you:
Teething. Just like human babies feel the need to put strange objects in their mouth while teething, puppies experience pain and certain discomfort while their adult teeth are replacing their baby teeth. It usually occurs from the age of three to seven months and by chewing different things the puppies relieve some of the pain caused by growth of teeth and gums inflammation that sometimes follows it.
If you catch your puppy chewing inappropriate objects, just say “no!” and let them know it is not acceptable to chew certain things and then give them a safe chew toy. You can also gently massage their gums with a doggie toothbrush twice a day to relieve the pain. Chewing some cold or frozen object can also calm the pain from the inflammation.
Boredom. Your dog might find it interesting to chew your brand new shoes, because he has too much energy and nothing to occupy his mind. Make sure your dog has ways to spend extra energy, such as exercise, daily walks (that are log enough), playing with you or other animals and give him some kind of mental challenge. It should include both mental and physical activity. You should also provide him some safe toys such as nylon bones, treat-stuffed rubber toys, treat-dispensing toys and keep him in a safe spot in the house when you are not in position to supervise him. By that I mean- away from wires, electrical cords and thing he could swallow. It is also wise to use bitter dog repellant or chew-proof covers for exposed electrical cords.
When it comes to chewing your shoes or furniture, you need to use your body language. Anything that says “this is mine!”, so he knows not to touch your stuff again and redirect his attention to something else or an appropriate chewing toys.
Medical issues – allergies and parasites. If your dog is chewing and scratching his own body parts, such as feet, tail or other parts he can reach, to the point they are red, furless and reveal inflammation hot spots, it probably indicates allergies or parasites. Both require a visit to the veterinarian.
If it turns out to be allergies, you will probably get some medicine or natural remedy. It may require special diet, topical treatments, special shampoos, frequent bathing, steroids or antihistamines.
If it turns out to be parasites, the treatment will most probably include topical insecticide, insecticidal shampoo or internally taken insecticide, vacuuming and washing of dog’s crate or living space to remove parasites and larvae. You must repeat all this action until they are completely eradicated. If your dog is sensitive to chemicals, you can by herbal shampoo and herbal sprays instead of those that are more aggressive to the skin.
Prey drive. Well, as I have said before, all dogs are borne hunters and little predators. They need ways to spend their extra energy and satisfy their ancient instincts, such as chasing, grabbing and carrying the “pray”. The best way to do that is through a game of “fetch”. “Leave it” command is also something he needs to learn. If you are training your dog, it is wise to use both, food treats and toys as a reward for a certain behavior. Otherwise, if you only use food rewards, your dog will get used to it to a point where he will disobey to perform a certain action, until he gets his reward. You need to let him know you are the boss and the pack leader, not the other way around.
This should cover most common chewing issues. I hope these advise will help you handle your furry friend and remember- all dogs chew! It is in their nature, it helps them calm, relieve boredom, it cleans their teeth and strengthens their gums and you should not try to stop them. Just give them appropriate toys and teach them some chewing discipline.