The act of chewing seems to be a matter of individual preference among dogs: some have an innate desire to chew as a pleasurable activity in itself, and some seem to have no need to chew whatsoever unless they're driven to it out of sheer boredom.
The phrase "destructive chewing" may sound redundant, because – by its very nature! – all chewing is destructive. Your dog has strong jaws full of sharp, pointy teeth: just about anything she starts to chew on is probably going to show the effects of it inside of a minute. So just to clarify, when I use the phrase "destructive chewing", I'm referring to inappropriate chewing: the kind of chewing that's focused on your own possessions and household items, instead of on your dog's own designated toys and chews.
The three main reasons why dogs chew:
- Most dogs have a natural desire to chew. It's fun, it passes the time, and it's a self-rewarding, self-reinforcing activity (for example, if she's chewing on something that tastes good.)
- Chewing provides a nervous, bored, or lonely dog with an outlet for her emotions. To an anxious dog, the repetitive act of chewing is soothing – it's the doggie equivalent of comfort food.
- Underexercised dogs often use chewing as a way of burning up nervous energy and giving themselves something to do.
- How to prevent destructive chewing -
Dogs are perfectly capable of learning not to chew your stuff – you just have to put in a little effort first, that's all.
A dog is an instinctively aggressive creature.
In the wild, aggression came in very handy: dogs needed aggression to hunt, to defend themselves from other creatures, and to defend resources such as food, a place to sleep, and a mate. Selective breeding over the centuries has minimized and refined this trait significantly, but there's just no getting around it: dogs are physically capable of inflicting serious harm (just look at those teeth!) because that's how they've survived and evolved.
And Mother Nature is pretty wily – it's hard to counteract the power of instinct!
But that doesn't mean that we, as dog lovers and owners, are entirely helpless when it comes to handling our dogs. There's a lot that we can do to prevent aggression from rearing its ugly head in the first place – and even if prevention hasn't been possible (for whatever reason), there are still steps that we can take to recognize and deal with it efficiently.