Monday, January 10, 2011

Why Your Gordon Setter Chews

Chewing is a natural canine behavior. Yep,  a God given talent to chew the pieces out of your new boots, your gun stock, the truck seat, your couch corner, and even the metal wiring or wooden 2X4's of a kennel to satisfy the urge. They aren't real picky.

But don't despair, there are things you can do to detour or stop destructive chewing.

First, you have to figure out why your dog is chewing.

If he's a puppy, he is chewing either because he is teething, and/or he his getting to know his surroundings by taste. That includes chewing on his siblings and learning social behavior. If he's chewing something he should not,  it's destructive behavior and should be nipped in the bud before it becomes habit. Which, takes about twice.

If your dog is an adult dog, say, past the age of 3, and is chewing on things he shouldn't, it's most likely out of boredom. Dogs, especially highly intelligent dogs and working breeds, need mental stimulation. They need purpose, a job, to keep their brain stimulated and happy. Chewing is the alternative.

So, what do you do? First, make sure they have plenty of safe chew toys. Keep a variety of shapes and textures available. When your puppy goes through teething, he will chew. If you want to save that favorite pair of boots or antique dresser leg, you better have an alternative when you catch him taking his first bite.

There are many toys these days for chewers. I have found it to be a challenge to keep a dog from eating a toy, if he chooses to, but I guess some of the large Kong balls are pretty tough and work for a lot of dogs. Also the knotted ropes seem to be popular.  Knotted socks and tennis balls. These are all good for puppies. Stuffing old, clean, socks with other old, clean socks and then tying it in a knot works well also.

If you adult dog is chewing, other than on his favorite toy, try to increase his exercise. Either add some big hard running to the routine, or play games that keep him running and jumping to burn off that energy.  Challenge your dog with new training.  Ask him to work by asking him to sit, every time you let him in or out of the house, put him in his kennel, or give him a treat or a toy. All these things together, can be very satisfying to your dog.

Personally, we don't like to give our dogs rawhide chew bones unless we are with them while they are eating them. I've heard horror stories about choking and our dogs try to swallow those things whole. So, we give them the big 5" long, 1" wide chew bones. These are too big to finish in one sitting.

Just remember, no dog chooses to be BAD. When your dog displays a new unwanted bad behavior, take a look at what could be the cause. He really isn't being bad on purpose, he's just acting out a primal urge. You can change that negative behavior and make him a GOOD DOG.


"Sit.... Stay.... Good dog Sport. Good Dog."


  1. Your dogs and pups are SO BEAUTIFUL!

    The last 5 dogs we've adopted/rescued have been 8-9 mos. old when we got them so were out of that puppy phase - and I think I'll stick with that route going forward! Puppies are exhausting, but SO cute! :)

  2. Great advice! Two of our three dogs are very agressive chewers. They love the knot balls, and the only bad thing about them is if they are able to chew an end free, they love to flip the big monkey fist they have created around and knock items down off of the things they are no longer chewing. One likes the Kong toys (we haven't found them to be "indestructible" like they claim, though), and the other loves stuff-less stuffed animals.

  3. Ooh, I just love the little puppies - and I am so glad mine aren't chewing little puppies any more!

    Have a nice evening!

  4. What beautiful dogs you have. I am a big believer in toys here. We have baskets of dog toys-one upstairs and one downstairs for the dogs to get what they like to play with. They love their toy baskets. They don’t chew things they aren’t suppose to but I think that is because we use the toys when they were little. My big dog Shep--he loves his Jolly Ball--made for horses but Shep is big enough to be a horse. He can get into garbage and similar things making a mess---it is definitely because he is bored. We try to keep him really busy but there are those moments :) LOL

  5. Texwis, We sure do need people to adopt, I'm glad you did! And by the looks of Thelma and Louise, you made fine choices!

    Julia, I know how busy you are, so thanks for stopping by! The stuff-less toys you have, are they the ones "as seen on t.v."? I've thought about getting some of those.

    Sharon, ME TOO! That's always one of the things that's hard to teach a puppy, but it can be done with consistent training.

    Amy, We keep a toy basket in the living room as well. It's always available and it's the first place they go when they come out of their kennel. Shep sounds like a cool dog. I'm partial to BIG dogs. I can see why he needs horse toys. ha ha Just keep him busy and he won't "look" for something to do. Which is usually something negative!

  6. Great post Karen, except that it brought back memories of ripped up linoleum and chewed, mangled eyeglasses! But the points you brought up are very sound. And those accompanying pics - love them!

  7. Thanks Casey, Yes, It seems the best dogs of all who leave paw prints on our hearts can also be guilty of leaving teeth marks on our prized possessions! You know they're worth it though! (: