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October 03, 2020 10 min read

Overview

Destructive or aggressive chewing is something that can be found most often with Beagle puppies that are in the teething phase but dogs of any age may display this behavior for a number of reasons. With this, a Beagle may gnaw on anything in his path and/or essentially rip everything to shreds, even toys that are supposed to be indestructible. 

This article will cover why a Beagle may be chewing and ripping things apart and the exact steps to take resolve this troubling issue. 

Why Beagles Display Destructive Chewing

Puppies – The #1 reason is teething, the process in which the 28 deciduous (milk) teeth fall out and 42 adult teeth are pushed out. This begins around the 4-month mark and ends at around the 7 to 9-month mark but can continue to the 1-year mark in some cases. During this phase, there can be intense itching and discomfort which can trigger a pup to chew everything in sight. Habits established during this time, such as chewing on non-toy objects, can continue well into adulthood. 

Adults –In most cases, continually chewing on non-toy objects is indicative of a self-soothing technique and shredding things often stems from feeling frustrated and/or bored. 

Behaviors Seen

A Beagle may focus on just one or two ‘favorite’ items or nothing may be off limits. If a Beagle gnaws on objects, this is often items of a hard consistency such as wooden table legs. And, if a Beagle likes to tear things up, this may be pee pads, pillows, blankets, throw rugs, etc.  

The objects that are destroyed often includes items that you may not think of as offering any sort of chewing pleasure and some can be dangerous either due to being choking hazards or such things as electrical cords that can result in burns and electrocution. 
This said, some Beagles will put their focus on toys but quickly shred even those labeled ‘durable’ or ‘indestructible’. 
Chewing or tearing may be done at an aggressive pace and the urge to chew may be so strong and frequent that it can be considered compulsive. 

Is it Possible to Fully Stop Destructive Chewing? 

In most cases, it is entirely possible to greatly limit this sort of behavior. And, in many instances, it can be complete resolved. 
The amount of success found in controlling a Beagle’s chewing really depends on how much time and effort an owner takes towards stopping this behavior. Improvement can be found with a combination of making changes to the house and your Beagle’s set-up, providing supervision along with proper reaction to chewing attempts, and by providing toys that, to the degree possible, can withstand aggressive chewers and sharp teeth. 
Cuteness break!
A Beagle dog on a boat
Car Touché (French, for 'shotgun shell'), first time on a skimming trip. 
Photo courtesy of the Brunet Family

6 Steps to Stopping a Beagle That is a Destructive Chewer

Please note that the more of these tips that you can implement, the better the chances of success. In addition, if a Beagle tends to be an aggressive or destructive chewer, these guidelines will need to stay in place indefinitely. 
1. Limit Your Beagle's Access
It may seem too logical to even list here; however, many owners skip this step when it can greatly reduce problems seen with chewing. So, if your Beagle is chewing on furniture in the kitchen, ripping up pillows in the living room, trying to gnaw on electrical cords in the den, and essentially shredding up the whole house, it’s time to contain the damage. 

The best way to go about doing this is to create a defined space for your Beagle, where you can, for the most part, control what is within it. Depending on the floor plan of your house and your Beagle’s age and jumping ability, options include setting up an indoor canine playpen or sectioning off a room via a safety gate. 
For indoor playpens, which work well for pups, a good option is the North States Petyard Passage Containment. This is available in 4, 6, and 8 panels, all of which are 26 inches high, and has a door that can be left open or secured. 
 
If you choose to put up a gate to block off a room, and particularly if you have an adult, something like the Regalo Easy Step Extra Tall Walk Thru Gate works well. This is 41 inches high and is adjustable to fit a space between 29 and 37.5 inches. 
If you want to block off a section of a room, a good way to go about doing this is with the Chelsea Extra Tall and Wide Auto Close Gate. The main gate is a good 39.5 inches. And, while it only has a width of 28 to 32 inches, the add-on extensions allow you to extend this up to a whopping 188 inches (15 and 1/2 feet). 
To make the chosen designated area comfortable for your Beagle, your dog’s bed, along with food and water bowls should be placed inside. Of course, chew toys should be there as well (much more ahead), in addition to pee pads or another training method, if applicable (more details ahead on this too).    
Cuteness break!
handsome Beagle dog
Spykar, at 4 months old, photo courtesy of Sneha Sonavane
2. Proof the House
Especially within the designated area that you’ve set up for your Beagle, but also for any rooms that your guy or gal may be in, safety proofing should be done. This involves removing as many objects as possible that your Beagle can reach that may be the target of chewing. This includes shoes, pocketbooks, gym bags, any clothing, books, TV clickers, etc. 

Find new spots for those things up high on shelves, in closets, or elsewhere. If you are unsure if something may be chewed, it's better to be safe than sorry. 

For electrical cords, which many dogs find to be pleasing due to their shape, flexibility, and texture, use a cord protector like the PetCords Cord Protector
3. Use a Strong Deterrent Spay for Unmovable Objects
Most dogs dislike bitter tastes. Since canines only have about 1/6 the taste buds as humans, a deterrent chew spray can work if it is exceedingly bitter. Do keep in mind that this does not work for every dog; some, for inexplicable reasons, either don’t mind a bitter taste or are able to power through it to satisfy their chewing urges. 

This all said, maybe you’ve tried the typical apple bitter or lemon spray with no success. Well, there’s a better option that may be worth a try. While it was originally designed to be sprayed on paws and other areas of the body that a dog may gnaw at, Rocco & Roxie No Chew Extreme Bitter Spray has an exceptionally strong bitter taste and is safe to spray on just about any household objects including rugs and furniture. 
4. Offer Chew Toys and Treats for Aggressive Chewers
For some dogs, nothing short of a brick will withstand their strong jaws and uncontrollable chewing urges. However, for the majority of Beagles, there are some chews and treats that can work very well. 

Keep in mind that if you tried an indestructible toy before, not all are created equal. There are different materials and different shapes. So, do not immediately discount any of these. Additionally, you may also want to offer both toys (not meant to be ingested) and treats (meant to be slowly ingested), so that your Beagle has some options. 
Let’s look at some great choices:
1. The Oneisall Durable Chew Toy for Aggressive Chewers. 
This simple looking chew does very well in withstanding constant, strong gnawing. And, its bacon flavor and scent make it pretty enticing. Lots of owners have found success with this, and it is available in 3 sizes, which makes it ideal for both Beagle puppies and adults. 
2. The Zogoflex Interactive Treat Dispensing Toy for Aggressive Chewers
This is made of a very dense material specifically to satisfy strong chewers. It’s exceptionally durable and its design as a treat release toy makes it appealing. You can fill this with dry snacks or kibble, mixed up with mashed bananas or peanut butter. This comes in two sizes and three colors. 
3. A Whole Elk Antler Dog Chew by Chipper Critters. 
Moving away from traditional chew toys, this is worth checking out. As you probably know, many bones are dangerous to give to dogs. But, canines love chewing on bones, mostly drawn in due to their consistency and the bone marrow found within them. And, this is where real elk antlers come in, providing the qualities of bones while doing so in a much safer way. 

With these, elk are never harmed in any way whatsoever; antlers naturally shed off and are then harvested. Note that these are gradually consumed, so they will wear down, but most last for quite some time before they are small enough that they have to be replaced. These harvested and packaged in the USA. 
4. A pack of Himalayan Yak Snak Dog Chew 

One resolution to satisfy dogs that love to chew is to offer a long-lasting snack. Instead of a treat being gobbled down in under 10 seconds, it lasts for up to 20 minutes. And, these yak treats are just the thing for this. 
 
The ingredients are simple: yak and cow milk, a sprinkle of salt, and bit of lime juice… but, these are combined to make a very strong chew that’s also great for helping to keep teeth healthy.  
Cuteness break!
cute Beagle puppy outside
Sherlock, at 15 weeks old, photo courtesy of Anne & Mike Warford
5. If Your Beagle Rips up Pee Pads, Modify or Replace Them
It’s common for teething pups or even adults to rip up their pee pads. This can make a huge mess and leave completely upend your house training plans. Note that with this, you will most definitely want to provide one or more of the previously listed toys and chews, because puppies and dogs that rip up their pads can become exceedingly frustrated if they are stopped from doing so but have nowhere to redirect their chewing urges. 
Fortunately, there are some options to either modify the existing pee pads or replace them, that even compulsive chewers won’t be able to destroy. 
1. If you want to stay with pee pads, using a tray like the Richell Paw Trax Mesh Training Tray can be a great help. This one snaps the pads into place with a full-cover to that makes it impossible for the pad to be reached. 
2. Another option is to move away from pee pads completely and one way to do that is with a grass patch. These are awesome for Beagles that are used to going to the bathroom outside and are much more likely to be used when indoors. Note, that with these, most are sized well for puppies, and with adults you may want to place two side-by-side. 

There are two types: artificial and real. Each have their pluses and drawbacks.
Real grass patches are great at bringing the outdoors in, and dogs tend to use these with little to no training. The one con is that these need to be replaced on a regular basis and that is something that you’ll need to budget for. 
Artificial grass can also work well and while the plus is that they do not need to be replaced, they do need to be cleaned (outside with a hose is the easiest way). One like the PETMAKER Artificial Grass Bathroom Mat is pretty great since they can be interlocked to create as big of an area as your Beagle needs. 
Cuteness break!
Beagle chewing on a stick
Bailey, at 7 months old, photo courtesy of Diana June
6. If You See It Happening, Redirect Chewing & Reassess 
Implementing as many of the previous tips as possible will greatly limit any destructive chewing. However, there may be times when your Beagle slips through these preventative methods. If so, be prepared for this. 

The goal for reacting to chewing is to 1) gain your Beagle’s attention 2) redirect your dog’s focus elsewhere, and 3) reassess what went wrong. 
Let’s look at each of these steps:
1. For gaining your Beagle’s attention: For some dogs, a loud hand clap along with a firm ‘No’ or saying the dog’s name will work. However, if bad chewing habits have been in place for some time, your guy or gal may be so used to hearing ‘no’ that it has little meaning. If you find that this is the case, you may want to step things up a notch. 
There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to place a handful of coins into a metal jar; a few quick shakes can work well enough to interrupt.
Another option is a behavioral device like the The Company of Animals Pet Corrector, which is a safe method used by professional canine trainers; a quick depress of the button emits a particular short hissing noise that works remarkably well to make dogs take immediately pause. 
2. To redirect: The moment that you have your Beagle’s attention, which you should assume will be very temporary, immediately offer something that is of higher value than the object that your dog was chewing on. This should be your focus, rather than trying to discipline your Beagle or attempt to explain why the chewing was ‘bad’. 
Tasty training treats with bold flavors are often seen as high value, but avoid using these alone as a distraction, since this may be misinterpreted as rewarding the chewing behavior. Rather, you can run your Beagle through a few commands and then give treats as a reward for that.
Alternatively, you can reserve a few special toys just for moments like this. Since the goal is to offer something truly enticing, using a treat-release toy (see previous tip #4, option 2) filled with treats along with a few drops of fish oil can be just the trick. 
 
3. Reassess what went wrong: If your Beagle was ripping up newspaper, gnawing on your favorite sneakers, tearing apart pee pads, chewing on your remote, etc., this is a clear sign that something between tips 1 through 5 broke down. There was a gap. Look back through these steps and make adjustments. 

A Final Word

For teething puppies and for some adult dogs, chewing urges can be exceptionally strong and in fact, nearly uncontrollable. Your Beagle needs your guidance to direct this in a healthy manner and requires your help to stay safe and keep the house from being damaged. 

By limiting your Beagle’s access, making the house safer via proofing, using deterrent spray if necessary, offering enticing and durable toys and chews, adjusting the pee pad method if applicable, and properly reacting to destructive chewing, your and your Beagle can find success in conquering this issue. 
Jan Helge Mathisen
Jan Helge Mathisen


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