I have an Australian Shepherd, and recently he started chewing my stuff. I don’t know if this is normal behavior for this breed, but I need to know how to stop this behavior and figure out why he started chewing.
With a few free minutes on my lunch break, I decided to investigate this for myself. Here is what I found.
Are Australian Shepherds Big Chewers?
Australian Shepherds are not big chewers as a breed, but they may start chewing on things when their needs for exercise, physical activity, and outdoor time are not being met.
They may also display other negative behaviors if those needs are not met correctly.
Australian Shepherds were born to be working dogs. Therefore they need to work or have a job to do. If they don’t have enough, do they can get bored quickly.
Due to their breed background as a working dog, the Australian Shepherd also needs to be closely connected to their owner; if not, they could also start chewing or displaying negative behaviors.
They also need to be a part of their pack, and their humans are their pack. This further reinforces their need for a close connection with their owners and usually one in particular.
Even if all their needs are being met, like other dogs, the Australian Shepherd will still need to chew, especially when your Aussie is a puppy. A great way to help with an Australian Shepherd that is a big chewer due to their needs not being met or something else is to provide them with something to chew.
This allows them to content themselves during times of stress, such as when they don’t have enough to do or when their human companion isn’t available. It also helps channel this need for chewing into the correct area instead of mom and dad’s shoes.
Check out our list of essential Aussie items to make sure you have all your bases covered and leave not a need unmet!
Australian Shepherds are a hard-working dog breed who loves nothing more than being active and working beside their human pack and loving companion. As a working dog that likes to have a job to do and needs to be active and closely connected with their humans, they can get bored or display negative behaviors if their needs are unmet.
When this happens, such behaviors as chewing can come about. While the Australian Shepherd is not a breed that is prone to chew, this can still occur. Therefore it is best to address is their needs before negative behaviors happen.
The Australian Shepherd needs to be a part of a pack, be it a dog or human pack. They also like to form a close bond with one person and have a need to be working or performing a job.
If these needs cannot be met at any time, this might act out, and their pet parent might see negative behaviors. Providing them with an outlet for this can be beneficial for everyone involved, as a chew toy or bone can provide hours of relief from stress or boredom and save the pet parents’ stress from things getting ruined around the house.
How Do I Prevent My Australian Shepherd From Chewing?
The best way is for you to meet your Australian Shepherd’s needs to prevent them from displaying negative behaviors by providing them with a close connection to family and give them a job.
Like other working dogs, this breed would do nicely in a large family that likes working and playing together. Regardless of whether or not your Aussie is a boy or a girl, they thrive on farms because there are many people and a lot that needs to be done.
Families that have neighbors and friends over or are bigger in size will be a great fit, so many people work and play beside the Australian Shepherd.
Usually, this breed, like other working dogs, likes to form a close bond with one person of the family. This should be encouraged for their happiness. Usually, the dog will do the choosing of who they bond with the strongest.
This does not mean that they don’t form close bonds with the other people of the family, but they thrive best when they have one person who is their leader. This person may be the one who feeds them, spends a lot of time with them, and works beside them.
Whatever the case, fostering this healthy and strong bond will keep them happy and content, reducing negative behaviors like chewing.
Finally, they should be working as they are herding dogs. They should have a task to do. It could be locating the newspaper, helping in the garden, whatever tasks the family does, the Australian Shepherd dog will enjoy doing too.
This breed thrives best in active families. The activities chosen can vary. Some might be playful and fun activities; others might strictly be work activities. Whatever the activities, the more there are, the better, as this breed is highly active and energetic.
These three components are essential for the Australian Shepherd’s happiness. Aside from that, providing a loving home, adequate food, and water, creature comforts like a comfortable bed and toys, training them, and providing social moments with other dogs will keep them happy and thriving.
How Can I Stop My Australian Shepherd From Chewing?
Instead of directly addressing the issue of chewing, provide a diversion from the need to chew and act out their behaviors by following a few simple steps.
First off, providing your Australian Shepherd with something to chew on that is appropriate can be helpful. At the very least, it will redirect their chewing if they are chewing something inappropriate like shoes and household items.
This can take a couple of times to accomplish, depending on how long the Australian Shepherd has displayed this behavior. If the behavior has become a habit, it may take a little longer for them to get the idea of what they can chew on versus what they shouldn’t chew on.
They do have a high level of intelligence and are quick learners, but it is harder to break if something is a habit. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it just might take a bit more work.
Once their behavior has been redirected, it can be helpful to take a look at their lifestyle. How do they spend their days? Whom do they spend their days with? Does this fall in line with who they are as a dog and their background?
After the pet parent makes adjustments as they need to for their dog, reviewing training may be necessary to stop chewing if it hasn’t been eliminated already. Providing enough diverse and unique chew toys can provide the best results as it prevents them from getting bored quickly.
Providing plenty of outdoor adventures for you and your dog can enhance their physical, emotional, and mental health.
Some great ideas are good old-fashioned fetch, swimming, hiking, biking, tossing a frisbee, installing a sandbox just for your Australian Shepherd, and hiding things in it.
Your Australian might enjoy learning new tricks and performing them for family and friends at parties and barbeques. This breed is sturdy and robust, so they will enjoy wrestling or roughhousing with their loved ones. Even a game of tug of war will be exciting and enjoyable for them.
To make sure they are adequately exercised outdoors, games like fetch and frisbee and water play and obstacle courses are great fun for this breed. A trip to the dog park can also be exciting for this breed as it lets them commune with their dog friends in a temporary pack and expel pent-up energy while doing so.
Possibilities are endless, and if an Australian Shepherd is tired mentally and physically, they will usually have an easier time settling down and won’t likely chew on inappropriate things. They will be too tired to chew, be a big chewer or display other negative behaviors.
It is also important to remember that chewing is normal for dogs and should not be completely discouraged. It can be a healthy coping skill for them and provided it is channeled correctly. It can serve them and us well during times of stress or unease.
Australian Shepherds: Chew On This!
Chewing is a normal instinct for dogs that can a natural way for them to deal with stress and other issues like boredom. It can be thought of as a coping skill that keeps them content.
Sometimes, however, this can be a bad thing when the item they choose to chew is your shoe or a household treasure.
Thankfully fixing this problem is easily accomplished and fixable for any dog. So grab a few chew toys a the pet store and let your Australian Shepherd go to town. They will thank you for it, and so will your shoes!