If you are looking for an indestructible dog bed, then you likely have a problem which is bigger than the durability of the bed. Logically speaking it makes sense:
Dog chews bed to bits, dog needs new bed. Dog is likely to chew new bed. Buying beds repeatedly is expensive, therefore buy an indestructible dog bed.
As a dog trainer, someone who regularly helps people to stop their dog from chewing, I CAN fault the logic here, but I understand that there are other thoughts going on in there too. I have in my many years heard these sorts of phrases said:
- I have Beagles, and Beagles chew their beds (not true, I’ve met many who don’t)
- My dog gets bored when I’m out so he chews his bed (not true)
- I don’t mind my dog chewing its bed. As long as he’s not chewing my furniture (fair enough, but why is it chewing?)
- They chew their beds in protest that I’ve gone out, but I have to go out so there’s nothing I can do about it. (It’s not a protest)
So generally speaking there is a misunderstanding of the behaviour. And whichever phrase it may be, there is an assumption here; that there’s nothing you can do about it, so you have to buy an indestructible dog bed. Now before I learnt what I know now, I would no doubt have had exactly the same reaction: dog chews bed to bits; buy a stronger one… However now I know differently, so I’d like to share this knowledge with you.
Why do dogs chew their beds?
Chewing is a natural stress reliever. It releases endorphins and helps your dog to calm down. The bed is often the thing that “gets it” because either the dog has been secured in an area with just their bed, so it’s the only thing that he/she can chew. Or they have gone to bed in an attempt to calm themselves down, and are chewing to help them to relax. They are just as likely to pick up something else to take to bed to chew if that’s the case (slippers, newspapers, iphone, etc).
Chewing also helps to relieve the pain of teething. So if they are chewing they are either stressed or teething (or both!)
If a dog is teething it will indeed be likely to chew. Their preference is usually for natural things, so it tends to be chair legs and corners of tables that get the brunt of it. A wicker or leather dog bed is for it then! If your dog is teething, you can soak a tea towel in a bit of water, tie a couple of knots in it and put it in the freezer for a while. Then when you see your dog looking to chew their bed (or anything else) you calmly guide them onto this soothing tea towel, to chew that instead. Not making a big deal of it (as the chewing could develop into attention seeking behaviour).
Why would my dog be stressed?
Where to start! There are so many different factors than can cause a dog to be stressed. Worry about their owners when they are out (known as separation anxiety). Worry about their owners when they are in! Worry about visitors, noises, etc. All of this is connected to their feeling or responsibility and whether or not they think that they may be responsible for the pack. I call it “Party Host Syndrome”. If you hold a party, everything is your responsibility, so you spend the whole time rushing around after everyone, worrying that they are okay and enjoying themselves. After the party is over you breathe a big sign of relief and vow never to host one again! However, when you go to someone else’s party, it isn’t your problem, so you just relax and enjoy yourself.
A chewed bed (if the chewing is done while you are in) is a symptom of party host syndrome. An indestructible bed therefore is just papering over the cracks. Your dog needs help to understand that it’s not his or her party. It’s yours. You are dealing with all the important stuff so they can relax. Sadly our default human way of interacting with dogs shows them the opposite. If you want to learn more about how you can show your dog the right messages, so it can relax, then have a read of “The Dog Listener” by Jan Fennell. Or call someone like me in to help you one to one (I cover Essex, and the surround areas).
When would it be appropriate to buy an indestructible bed?
Whenever you like! I’m not saying don’t buy one. I’m all for being frugal and thrifty, and purchasing things which will last a lifetime, as any bed will of course suffer general wear and tear. Just please tackle the behaviour problems as well. Rather than just viewing it as an annoying expense, see the behaviour as a signpost that something else needs addressing…