Westies, or West Highland White Terriers, tend to chew furniture due to multiple reasons. We can look into these reasons in further detail below so that you can pinpoint the reasons for your own dog.
You can also read in detail about how you can stop Westies from chewing your furniture.
Why Do Westies Chew Furniture?
There are several reasons that Westies, in particular, chew furniture. Let’s take a look at what these are.
If your Westie is still a puppy, then teething can be a common reason behind them chewing furniture. When their teeth are still growing out, this can cause discomfort and pain to your dog.
Whenever they chew something, this can provide temporary relief to them from the pain, which is why they keep seeking out things like your furniture to chew on.
Since your furniture can provide a tough enough structure, it can provide further satisfaction to them.
It is possible to get rid of this chewing problem due to training. However, a lack of proper training can allow them to continue their habit even when they become adults.
Westies were originally bred for hunting out rats. Just like most other terriers, Westies also tend to have a high prey drive, which explains their chewing habit.
This can also lead to them focusing on furniture in particular while chewing. Further, since they are highly alert, they can sense any underlying pests or rodents near your walls or furniture.
While this kind of instinct may have reduced over time, it can still prop up, especially if proper training is not provided early on to prevent this kind of behavior.
Westies are highly energetic, playful and vigilant dogs. They need plenty of mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis to keep them healthy, happy and interested.
They are also highly affectionate and need enough attention, even though they are generally independent. If you do not meet their stimulation and attention requirements, their energy levels might build up.
This could lead to them looking for other kinds of distractions, such as chewing furniture. In some cases, the chewing might also be due to separation anxiety.
In either way, you will need to provide training and stimulation to your Westie so that they can release their energy in healthier ways.
Instinctively, Westies tend to be curious dogs. They are also earth dogs, which means that they actively hunt for small animals, remain vigilant at all times and dig holes.
This kind of instinctive behavior can manifest itself through chewing furniture on a frequent basis. This might usually occur in combination with another reason, but it is possible to provide training to stop this behavior.
Underlying Health Issue
An underlying health issue might also be causing pain or discomfort to your Westie, causing them to chew furniture for relief.
A common health issue when it comes to Westies (puppies in particular) is the lion’s jaw, scientifically known as craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO). This is a genetic disease that can cause bone-related changes in the jaw and skull.
If your Westie has this kind of disease, it will experience drooling, swelling and general pain in the jaw. This can cause them to seek out furniture for some kind of relief.
Usually, this disease can slow down once the puppy grows older, but if you notice any symptoms, you should go to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
How to Stop Westies from Chewing Furniture
There are several methods that you can employ to stop Westies from chewing furniture. Let’s take a look at what these are.
Buying a chew toy for your Westie can provide some relief from their pain while also keeping them occupied enough to not chew on furniture. This can be a good alternative to keep your dog interested.
You can buy various kinds of chew toys for your dog. There are several that come with various features such as different flavors, edible options, shapes, materials and more.
You can look for long-lasting chew toys so that they do not immediately lose their quality. It can also help to keep changing the chew toy that you provide to your Westie to keep them curious and interested so as to satisfy their instinct.
Using bitter spray to keep your dog away from the furniture can also help stop their chewing habit. You can easily buy this kind of spray (such as bitter apple spray) from online stores.
Make sure that the spray you buy is safe enough for dogs in case they happen to taste it out of curiosity (which is likely to happen). Once you buy it, you should spray it onto the furniture so that when your Westie smells it, it can cause them to back up due to the unpleasantness.
You will need to keep using this spray for a few weeks to completely get rid of the behavior of your dog.
Providing daily exercise to your dog can further help reduce the chewing habit. As seen above, dogs can resort to looking for distractions like chewing furniture if they do not get enough stimulation on a regular basis.
This can further tire them out easily, preventing the need for them to chew furniture.
Since Westies are highly active and energetic dogs, exercise can help keep them healthy and occupied. Mental stimulation such as puzzles, toys or games can also help significantly.
You should also provide enough attention to your Westie to ensure that they feel safe and trustful of you and their surroundings.
It is important to provide proper training to your dog to stop their chewing habit. You can use positive reinforcement, such as rewards and praises, instead of punishment to create a healthy atmosphere for your dog to learn.
Luckily, Westies are easy to train and can learn the desired behavior fairly quickly. Using treats and praises to reward them can further help them create an association between good behavior and rewards.
It is important to start this training early on while also maintaining it, since it can become more difficult once the dogs become older.
You can also try out crate training to create a safe space for your Westie.
Related: Best Dog Crates for Westies: Top Picks, Sizes and What to Look For
To sum up, Westies tend to chew furniture due to multiple reasons, such as their instinctive behavior, high prey drive, teething issues, pent-up energy or underlying health issues.
In order to stop them from chewing furniture, you can use options such as chew toys, bitter spray, daily exercise and proper training. In case of a health issue, you should consult your vet.