If your dog has been chewing your clothes, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog chew clothes? Possible reasons why your dog chews your clothes are that it is teething, anxious, it smells your scent on them or that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog chews clothes
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely.
The reason why your dog has started doing it could be that it is teething. This would be more likely if it is young, it has started doing it suddenly and it if has been chewing on other things a lot as well. In this case, it would help to give it other things to chew on and to give it lots of positive reinforcement training and “leave it” training.
Anxiety could be what has been causing it to do it. This would be more likely if it has started doing it after something happened that could make it anxious or if it does it more at a time where it is likely to be anxious. Examples could be if it does it more when a certain person is around, when you are about to leave home or when there are loud noises coming from outside.
If it tends to do it more when you are not home, it would be more likely that it is due to separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog tends to become anxious when you are leaving home and if it chews the clothes that you use yourself since they likely have a strong scent from you on them. It would help to try to limit reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as exercising and feeding it before leaving it so that it is more likely to sleep while you are away.
Encouraging the behavior
The reason why it chews on clothes could be that you have been inadvertently training it to do so. This would be more likely to be the reason if you tend to give it things that it wants such as attention, treats or toys when it chews your clothes. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it does not do it and to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to start doing it.
The reason might be that it is due to an obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is where it has an irresistible urge to chew on clothes so it keeps doing it. This would be more likely if it has been chewing on clothes constantly for a few weeks now. In this case, the best option would be to get help from a vet.
It smells your scent
It is likely that your clothes have a strong scent on them. The reason why it tends to chew on your clothes could be that it smells you scent on them and that the scent causes it to feel calmer. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you are not around.
It likes the taste
Sweat and dead skin cells will gather on the clothes that you use which taste salty to your dog. The reason why it chews your clothes could be that it likes the way that they taste. This would be more likely if it tends to chew clothes that you have been using and if it does not chew them as much after you wash them.
If it does seem to be doing it due to liking the taste, it could be a sign that there is something wrong with its diet. This would be more likely if it started doing it after a change in its diet.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always chew on your clothes, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as if you started leaving it for longer periods causing it to get anxious, teething or it might have learned that it gets rewarded for doing it.
What is different when your dog chews clothes
If there is a certain time that your dog tends to chew on your clothes, it would also help to consider what is different at that time. For example, if it tends to do it more when you are not home, it would be more likely to be the case that it does it due to separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog chewing clothes
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving your dog rewards when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it does not do it, to wait for it to stop before giving it any rewards and to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to start doing it.
Ensure it is getting the right diet
It would also help to make sure that it is getting the right diet. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your dog.
Give it other things to chew on
In addition to the above, you could also give it things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to want to chew on clothes. Things that you could give it could be toys, puzzle games or bones.
Reduce reasons why it might be anxious
If it has been doing it while you are away, it would also help to try to limit reasons why it might be anxious when you are gone. Ways to do this would include, letting it pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it and to try to periodically checkup on it if possible.
Get help from a vet
If your dog has been doing it excessively, the best option would be to take your dog to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out more serious causes.
“Leave it” training
You could also do lots of leave it training with your dog. To do this you would:
- Get some treats that it likes and something it normally chews on
- Tell your dog to leave it
- Reward it for not chewing it
- Take the item away whenever it tries to chew it
- Repeat the above until it learns not to chew it