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My Dog is An Aggressive Chewer


A common problem faced by most of the dog owners is chewing. During dentition, puppies chew anything they fancy. From the expensive shoes to even the furniture legs, nothing escapes from their teeth. Generally the dog owners are aware of this problem and even if not aware, they learn from the deeds of their pup and take steps to save their precious items from the fangs of their pooch. However, sometimes the problem gets compounded when their adult dog begins to gnaw at anything within his reach. Many presume that this is an act of vengeance for being left alone and many others resort to thrashing the dog, but of no avail.
 
In my earlier blogs I have dealt the issue in detail, hence I would not like to repeat how to prevent this habit. But here I wish to discuss something which most of the dog owners do not know. There are dog breeds that chew much more than others and they are the real aggressive chewers. For example, Rottweiler,  German Shepherd, Dachshund, Labrador Retriever, Doberman, Pit Bull Terrier, Beagle, Chihuahua, Jack Russell Terrier and Chow Chows are some of the breeds that are most destructive. Some of these, the Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Doberman and the Labrador Retriever are alas, most popular in our country. It is also sad that majority of the owners of these breeds remain blissfully ignorant about many traits of these breeds and spend anxious moments with their pets.
 
The structure of the suspensorium (the bones/cartilages which join the lower jaw with the skull) of the breeds, like the German Shepherd is unique. It is designed in such a way as to generate maximum pressure. Thus, when such a dog makes a kill, his jaws help him to tear off the femur of the kill and chew it off in no time. It is said that a German Shepherd’s jaw can generate a pressure of 780 pounds per square inch. With that type of ‘equipment’ you can imagine the destructive capability of this breed. It can chew off the delicate legs of your costly Durian sofa within seconds. A Pit Bull Terrier on the other hand has a unique kind of jaw. Once it is locked around a prey, it is impossible to force open.
 
The questions however, remain that why do adult dogs chew and why some of the breeds chew more aggressively than others?
 
We all know that the dogs are carnivores. That is why they are gifted with powerful jaws and large fang like teeth, with a special carnassial tooth for cutting the chunks of meat. We also know that a kitchen knife needs to be sharpened frequently to cut the vegetables or meat effectively. Similarly, a carnivore has to cut through the thick skin of the herbivore and also trough the flesh and bones. Naturally such animals require strong jaws, kept well exercised for their efficiency and teeth that can cut through easily. To keep their cutting machine in order they need to keep the jaw muscles and the teeth strong.
 
Now imagine a tiger or a lion chewing gum like us all day! Soon the poor animal will develop soft mouths like us and instead of making large kills, will have to look for a plate of porridge or something akin. Is it possible in the nature; certainly not. In a wild situation, where they reside a weak mouth is a sign of weakness and such animals are killed by their enemies in no time. From the moment they learn to hunt, till their death these carnivores need to keep their teeth and gums in perfect shape. In case they develop caries like us, there are no vet dentists in the wild and no doting moms to serve them porridge.
 
The same rule applies to all domesticated carnivores like dogs and cats as well. Dogs have spent thousands of years with man. They have been well domesticated. They have learned the languages their masters speak, they have also learned that an air-conditioner is much more comfortable than a ceiling fan during the summers and air in front of a room heater is certainly better than the far corner of the room. But alas, despite all these qualities and knowledge they remain animals and that too carnivores. Their masters might claim that ‘we are vegetarians, hence we keep our dogs too vegetarians and our dogs dislike meat!’ Making tall claims is man’s old habit. The master’s being a veg or non-veg have no impact on the dog. He is a carnivore and he will remain so. The circumstances may force him to survive on veg meals but his jaws and teeth and gums will still require the exercise to remain healthy and fit.
 
Our infants need a teething ring at the time when they cut their teeth. Puppies also require objects similar to teething rings to ease the discomfort of cutting teeth. Our children, once they grow, they do not need a teething ring rather they begin to eat whatever the parents think is the best for them.
 
Unfortunately, this is not the case with the dogs or for that matter any carnivore animal. They need hard crunchy food and flesh like material to use their teeth to the maximum. They need strong bones to cut through to keep their jaws strong and powerful. Whether fed chapatti and milk (as most Indian homes feed!) or vegetables and rice, their instinct tells them, ‘if you do not exercise your jaws, you are doomed!’ They are always guided by their instinct-they have been doing so since past thousands of years and that is why they have managed to develop such a close bond with us. It is sad that we do not understand their requirement and feel bad when they begin to exercise their jaws on our precious items.
 
Some dogs chew more than others and also some breeds chew more. There are various reasons for this. One is the strong jaws which exert a high pressure, for example, the German Shepherd. The second reason is that being more intelligent than others they have all the more reason to rely on their instincts. And the instinct tells them, ‘chew you must!’
 
One might imagine that why should a puny little Chihuahua need to chew more? Sizes do not matter-it is the survival that matters.
 
Well the reasons of chewing or excess chewing have been explained. But still the problem remains, how to curb this habit? Most of the dog owners in India presume that a dog learns by himself and they also presume that a dog is a born graduate. It is not so. A dog is, as I have said many times, a creature of routine and learns by experience. One has to make use of this capability and constantly correct the dog if he goes wrong and praise him a lot when he obeys the dictat well. One has to learn how to keep the dog under control and how to give him plenty of required exercise, according to the age of the dog. One must make it clear that once he says No for something he means No and there should be no excuse for this. Teaching a dog to Stay is one of the best things to discipline him. Training apart, giving your dog toys and varieties of chews is essential, so that he can keep exercising his jaws and teeth.
 
Image (c) Gettyimages.com
 

More By  :  V. K. Joshi (Bijji)

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Comments on this Blog

Comment This is a preposterous allegation Sir!

Dogdom
22-Jul-2013 23:11 PM

Comment The image is licensed by us from Gettyimages.com and is also so referenced at the end of the article. How such a lovely image can be even thought of as porn?

Raj
21-Jul-2013 11:37 AM

Comment This picture was taken by my wife and is of my son and dog. I don't know if you purchased it, but someone is linking to it, referencing PORN. Can you please remove it or at least rename it so their link fails? Thank you, Disgusted Dad.

tstoneami
20-Jul-2013 23:05 PM






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