Your Freedom No-Pull dog harness arrived, you fitted it, and you and your dog were finally enjoying your walks again. Except now it's broken. Or chewed? You don't want to believe that your well-behaved dog has chewed this brand new harness! You didn't even see it happen, and then you talk to the manufacturer and they tell you, yes, your dog chewed it. Not convinced? Does it look like this? The webbing we use on the Freedom No-Pull harness has a 3800 lb test strength, but is still vulnerable to sharp edges, such as teeth that can cut through bone. Often the damage isn't visible until the nylon weave breaks completely.
Why Do Dogs Chew?Fact is, dogs chew. Dog chewing can be quite destructive and frustrating. Their teeth are designed to tear through raw meat, so a bit of nylon doesn't present much of an obstacle. For dogs, chewing is a way of satisfying curiosity, reducing anxiety, or cleaning their teeth. Sometimes, too, it's just about whether the object tastes good. With harnesses specifically, your dog may not be happy about the harness or may be making it a game to put the Freedom harness on and take it off. Or, well, they want to chew something. The harness is right there on their chest. Convenient, right? Regardless of the reason your dog chewed the harness, replacing harnesses can be annoying, although most chewing incidents are covered by warranty (chewing is normal behavior, after all).
How to Keep Your Dog from Ruining Their Harness?So, we've established that your nearly perfect pooch did indeed chew through their harness. Here are some tips to keep it from happening again.
- Don't leave the harness on the dog all the time. It might be nice to have a convenient "grab handle," but leaving it on means the dog is unsupervised with it, and thus more likely to chew. They may also be annoyed with having to wear it all the time. Put the harness on at the start of the walk and take it right off again.
- Don't tie a dog out in a harness. (You shouldn't really be tying a dog out anyway).
- Redirect the dog's attention. Taking a ball or other toy on walks gives them something else to chew (and to play with). If you actually catch them biting the harness, avoid punishment (that just makes them do it when you aren't watching), but rather redirect and then reward for not chewing. Or toss treats when you see your dog is about to bite down on the harness. Don't pull it out of their mouth, as they will think that's a fun game.
- Make sure you are giving your dog enough exercise and playtime. Active dogs are more likely to chew things if they don't have enough to do. Get your dog a "job."
- If your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety, then make sure never to leave them unattended with the harness on. Take steps to address separation anxiety such as a walk before you leave or puzzle treats to take their mind off of being alone.
- If you have a stubborn harness chewer who just won't quit, try an anti-chew spray. These sprays will make the harness taste bad when the dog tries to chew on it, and most dogs will then quit. You can make your own chew spray using simple apple cider vinegar, which has a ton of uses around the house. The Freedom Harness is washable if it gets too smelly. :)