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Every dog has a unique personality, quirks, and charm. They also have their own bad habits, like chewing on blankets. If you’ve had your blankets ruined, or at least soaked in dog slobber, because of this bad habit, you may be wondering why your dog does this. There are several potential reasons for it.
It’s Only Natural
Because dogs don’t have hands, they explore the world with their mouths. When they think something looks interesting, they put it in their mouths and give it a little nibble to see what happens. It’s how they learn about the world as puppies.
Puppies are most prone to chewing on things like blankets. Many of them grow out of it when they get older. Some, however, never outgrow their puppy-ish ways, so they keep chewing on things like blankets throughout their lives.
Negative Attention Is Still Attention
Dogs are a lot like kids in some ways. Particularly in the way they crave your attention. And, just like some kids, some dogs don’t particularly care what kind of attention it is, as long as you’re paying attention to them in some way. And so they can develop bad habits like blanket-chewing as a result.
For example, say your dog feels like you haven’t been paying enough attention lately. You’re too busy to play or engage in a lot of quality petting time. So they start chewing on a blanket out of nervousness. And that makes you yell at them, or come over and take the blanket away.
So what’s the lesson that your dog draws from this? Why, that chewing on blankets is a good way to get your attention, of course!
You can do two things to address chewing behavior, and you should do both. First of all, try paying more attention to your dog. (Of course, some dogs are real “attention hounds,” and no amount of attention will ever be enough.) Secondly, don’t engage with your dog when you find them chewing on a blanket. Instead, leave the room. Then, after waiting a minute, try redirecting their behavior by calling them or putting out some food.
Your Blanket Smells Like You
A dog’s sense of smell is incredibly important to them. Smell is how dogs learn what other dogs, and people, have been up to. So, if your dog loves you, it should come as no surprise your dog also loves your scent.
Your blankets probably also have your scent on them because you spend so much time in your blankets. So, when your dog misses you or is just looking for a stuffed toy to play with, it’s only natural that they might be drawn to your blankets. It may be annoying, but it is a sign of affection.
On a related note, nibbling on a blanket can also be a sign of anxiety. Dogs sometimes chew on things as a nervous habit, because they find it soothing. If your dog is feeling anxious, chewing blankets could be a way of coping with stress. And, again, they are more likely to pick a blanket because it has your smell on it.
If your dog is showing other signs of anxiety, such as loss of appetite, nervous whining, trembling, or peeing inside, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet to get professional assistance.
Puppies can have teething problems just like human babies do. When a puppy’s teeth start coming in, it’s uncomfortable, even painful for them. Biting on something can help alleviate the discomfort. If your puppy is chewing on your blankets or doing other compulsive nibbling during the teething phase, try distracting them with a more suitable chew toy.
Puppies should stay with their mothers for a minimum of eight weeks after they are born. Sometimes, though, they are separated early, for whatever reason. When this happens, they can develop behavioral problems. One of the most common is chewing on stuff.
Blankets can be especially attractive for a young dog who was prematurely weaned. They’re soft and have corners that are easy to chew, so blanket chewing serves as a sort of a surrogate suckling experience.
This kind of dog behavior is not so easy to address. You may need to get your young dog some professional psychological help from an expert on canine psychology. Your vet may be able to give you a referral.
Your Dog is Hungry or Malnourished
If your furry friend isn’t getting enough food, they might start chewing on things like blankets instead of actually being able to eat. If this is the case, you can solve the problem easily by feeding them more.
The problem could also be not so much a matter of the amount of food as a matter of its nutritional value. All dog foods are most definitely not created equal. Some of them, especially the cheap ones, are mostly empty calories with very little nutritional value. As a result, your dog ends up malnourished while eating their fill. If your dog nibbles on your blankets and is getting enough to eat, try looking at the nutritional content of that food. You may need to switch to a healthier brand.
Your Dog Is Really, Really Bored
Dogs can get bored just like people can, especially if they don’t get enough mental stimulation. When your furry friend gets bored enough, they can start doing some random and crazy things just to relieve the boredom. For some of them, this involves chewing on blankets. If your dog is doing that, try playing with them more or try something new, like going to a dog park. Get them some toys to play with when you can’t. This could stop the unwanted behavior.
In most cases, chewing on blankets is a behavior that can be corrected. All it takes is paying enough attention to your dog to figure out the cause of the unwanted behavior.
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Down to earth, common sense, proven DOG advice
Welcome to Spike’s Dog Blog by Acme Canine. Throughout the site, you will find a variety of helpful dog training articles, insightful dog behavior tips, and truthful product reviews from nationally-recognized canine trainers and professionals.