Why Does My German Shepherd Chew Everything?

All dogs chew. It is a natural behavior. So, it should be no surprise if your German Shepherd is actively chewing quite a bit. Consider that dogs use their mouths not merely to taste things but as an investigative tool.

Dogs will use their mouths to chew and to feel things that may appear like active chewing. They use their mouths a lot like we use our hands.

Wolves, wild dogs, and domestic dogs all spend hours chewing on bones, so it is perfectly normal that your German Shepherd wants to chew bones, sticks, and most things within reach.

Even though chewing is an entirely normal activity, it often is directed to inappropriate objects. It’s important to provide your German Shepherd with chew toys although a selection of toys alone will not be sufficient to prevent chewing where it’s not wanted.

Why Does My German Shepherd Chew Everything

Your Shepherd must understand that chewing is okay within boundaries and that certain things must not be chewed on.

Teething and Other reasons

If your German Shepherd is still a puppy aged three to six months, he or she may be teething so it will be normal for your puppy to chew on just about anything it can get its mouth on.

Chewing helps your puppy relieve the pain of newly emerging teeth. There are chew toys that can be frozen to help a puppy through this period. Wet and frozen washcloths can also help.

Dogs may tend to bite and chew things while playing or if your Shepherd is very hungry it may gnaw when attempting to look for something to eat.

Dogs will also instinctively chew to maintain healthy clean teeth and gums, especially adult dogs. Chewing will also assist them in exercising and keeping their jaws strong.

Anxiety, Stress, or Boredom

However, these are not the only reasons. German Shepherds may also chew because of behavioral issues such as seeking attention, or because of anxiety or stress, or German Shepherds, which are highly intelligent canines may simply be bored. 

Lack of exercise or mental stimulation can account for a dog’s chewing. When dogs are bored, they get into mischief to keep themselves entertained.

Daily exercise and games will help your dog to be amply stimulated and eliminate pent-up energy as well as involvement in training, puzzle toys, and dog sports.

Stress from being near animals that your Shepherd doesn’t get along with, being around noisy children, or even being confined in an automobile can be sources of stress for this highly intelligent active dog breed. 

Frustration will often be a cause of chewing. If your Shepherd is confined to a yard and sees another animal run by, the predatory instinct may kick in.

German Shepherds may also chew because of behavioral issues

Not being able to chase can cause your dog to chew on the fence. Just like observing another dog engaged in an activity, may cause your Shepherd to chew on its leash at the dog park.

Dogs that find themselves confined in crates, pens, or yards, may suffer from anxiety due to separation and begin chewing habitually to ease their nervousness.

Dogs when stressed experience heightened arousal and may feel emotional conflict, and so they chew. They resort to destructive behavior.

Chewing due to separation anxiety will generally take place when your German Shepherd is left alone or will be more intense when alone.

This may be accompanied by other behaviors like general restlessness and pacing, barking, or even whining. They may also defecate and urinate.

Fabric Chewing

Some German Shepherds may specifically chew on fabric. One theory as to why is that the dog was weaned from its mother too early, before two months of age.

If your Shepherd continues to chew on fabrics for an extended period and continues despite attempts at interruption and redirection, it may have become a compulsive behavior.

To contrast this type of behavior you may need a professional specializing in compulsive behavior.

Hunger

If your German Shepherd has been placed on a special diet or a calorie-restricted diet, it may simply be hungry or it may be attempting to satisfy some nutritional need. This kind of behavior may be directed at objects that contained food or may smell like food. 

Analyzing Your German Shepherd’s Chewing

Analyzing Your German Shepherd’s Chewing

When a dog hews destructively it will be generally motivated by anxiety, boredom, or curiosity. If your Shepherd is chewing on furniture, clothing, or household objects and property, it would be wise to see your veterinarian.

If you leave home and return to find something destroyed, do not punish your dog. Dogs will not connect an actual punishment to an earlier act of destructive behavior. 

A veterinarian will be able to guide you in using aversion products and training or decide if your dog needs anxiolytic medicines.

See also: How Do I Know if My German Shepherd Is Happy?

Avoid Being Negative and Punitive

Reprimanding your dog through yelling or spanking, not only will not resolve the issue, but it won’t help either. Your dog does not connect its actions with your behavior.

They do not comprehend cause and effect. They may react to your admonishments but won’t necessarily connect with why you are angry.

Desirable behaviors should be positively reinforced with rewards. When your German Shepherd is engaged in destructive behavior, this activity should be interrupted and redirected.

If your dog chews on your slippers, interrupt him or her with a loud noise such as a clap or banging two pan lids together. Most dogs are startled at a loud noise and will interrupt what they are doing. Do not yell or scream.

Call your German Shepherd and reward them with a favorite toy

Call your German Shepherd and reward them with a favorite toy or treat. In this way, you are interrupting an undesirable behavior and redirecting it with a desirable action.

Do not tie a damaged item to your dog as it will not understand or close your dog in a crate for an extended period as punishment.

Also do not use a muzzle to prevent your dog from chewing because again, your Shepherd will not make the connection and you will have mistreated him or her for no apparent reason from the dog’s point of view.

See also: 9 Reasons German Shepherd Puts Its Ears Back

Tips for Redirecting Undesirable Chewing

To help manage your German Shepherd chewing excessively, keep in mind these tips:

1.) Keep all valuables out of reach. All clothing and shoes should be closed in closets or properly stored out of reach. Any object that might catch the attention of your dog should be removed.

2.) Provide your German Shepherd with a nice selection of appealing chew toys. Every so often, introduce a new toy to combat boredom.

3.) Provide your dog with rawhide bones specifically created for chewing. Do not give your dog cooked leftover bones from dinner. These can easily splinter and harm your pet.

4.) Offer your dog chew treats such as cow or pig ears, pigskin rolls, or natural chews. As chews can cause a dog to choke if chewed too quickly or in large pieces, keep an eye on your pup while enjoying a chew.

5.) If your dog tends to chew more at a certain time of day, try distracting your dog with a special toy or puzzle toy at those times to distract

6.) Consider using a spray deterrent on objects or furniture that you feel are at risk for chewing. Begin by spraying a small piece of material with the deterrent and then allow your dog to smell or taste it.

Hopefully, your pup will spit it out and then identify the bad taste with the smell after you have sprayed items with it.

7.) If you notice your dog interested in an object that should not be chewed, say no, and remove the item. Then offer your Shepherd something that can be chewed.

8.) Seek professional advice if necessary.

9.) Confine your dog to a specific area if you are absent and remove things that should not be chewed.

10.) Make sure your German Shepherd has adequate daily exercise and mental stimulation.

11.) Garbage should be in a closed bin and made inaccessible.

Chewing Can Be Resolved

Always consult your veterinarian if you notice destructive chewing. Initially, it may appear to be insignificant, and you may write it off to your German Shepherd being a puppy or being mischievous, but it is not to be underestimated.

If early episodes of chewing are redirected to suitable objects for chewing, you can avoid a good deal of future destruction and expense. 

Susan R Elliston
I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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