Is your puppy chewing his way destructively around your home?
Chewing is perfectly normal behaviour for puppies, especially when they're teething, however, it's really important that chewing is controlled during the teething stage (between 3 and 6 months of age) otherwise your puppy may believe he's free to chew anything in and around your home.
We need to let our puppies know what they can and cannot chew, otherwise they'll believe that everything they can put into their little mouths is 'fair game'!
Many dog owners fail to manage puppy chewing, perhaps because they believe their puppy looks cute chewing on something twice its size, or simply because they don't know how.
Unfortunately, some owners eventually become so frustrated with the situation that they either return their puppy to the breeder, place it with a rescue centre, or worse, have their puppy put to sleep!
The act of chewing helps to relieve pain during teething.
That's why your puppy will try to chew most things he comes into contact with; shoes, socks, books, furniture - in fact, almost anything that's left lying around, or is easily accessible to him.
A great tip to help relieve your puppy's teething pain is to roll a wet rag or face-cloth into a twisted rope shape, freeze it, and then let him chew on it.
Unfortunately, your puppy won't instinctively know what he is or isn't allowed to chew, so it's up to you to teach him what's acceptable and what's not.
Before we move on to our top 10 tips, let's just look at some of the reasons for puppy chewing, set out below:
Apart from teething, there are several other reasons for puppy chewing, for example:
When managing puppy chewing behaviour, it's very important first to teach your puppy that he must never place his teeth on human skin or clothes - it's very important that you stop your puppy biting and nipping humans as soon as it begins.
When you've a puppy in the household it's advisable to tidy up on a regular basis, so before you begin to address this problem, ensure that your puppy's environment is free from clutter.
Ensure the children put their toys away when they've finished playing with them to keep them out of reach of a curious puppy.
Make sure that all rubbish bins and waste-paper baskets are out of your puppy's reach.
TV remotes are a firm favourite with chewing puppies, with spectacles coming a close second.
We're very privileged to be acquainted with a Collie Labrador cross called Ben who, as a puppy, managed to chew his way through several pairs of spectacles, a couple of TV remotes and even a set of false teeth!
You've been warned....don't leave anything lying around!
Learn how to make your home puppy-proof and ensure that your puppy comes to no harm.
If you are to stop your puppy chewing and teach him what he's allowed to chew and, more importantly, what he's not allowed to chew, you must supervise your puppy at all times.
The easiest way to do this is to confine your puppy to the same area that you're occupying; you can choose to use a baby gate or you can simply close the door.
If you need to go out, or you're unable to supervise your puppy for a while, we strongly recommend that you crate your puppy until you are available to give him your full attention.
A crated puppy can't get into mischief by chewing things he shouldn't - so don't forget to put one of his favourite (safe) chew toys in the crate with him.
You can help to stop your puppy's chomping by ensuring he gets sufficient exercise and training to use up all that excess, pent-up energy.
A young puppy of about 12 weeks of age, should be taken for two or three 15-20 minute walks each day, and given a couple of 10-minute puppy obedience training exercises each day.
As he gets older, the length of time he's exercised may be gradually increased; an hour's walk, twice a day, is ideal for an adult dog.
Your puppy's training sessions may also be increased a little each day, but not by too much - keep his training sessions light, interesting and fun!
The mental and physical stimulation your puppy will get from exercise and training will help to burn up any excess energy and should help to stop your puppy chewing the furniture, and keep him out of mischief.
Don't allow your puppy to chew on your shoes or your slippers.
Whilst at first, it may sometimes seem cute watching those little puppy teeth trying to chew on your slippers, it won't be long before those teeth really begin to do some damage!
You'll also confuse him - if he chews your new trainers to shreds, and you discipline him, he won't understand why. Your puppy will be unable to tell the difference between an old pair of slippers and your new trainers - they will both smell delicious and will be comforting to him!
Ensure your puppy has lots of safe puppy toys to chew on, such as Kongs, nylon bones, sterilized bones, rubber bones, and rope toys - the latter being particularly good for little puppy teeth.
Kongs can be stuffed with titbits and treats and are a great way to encourage your puppy to chew as well as keeping him occupied.
If your puppy is reluctant to chew his toys or bones you could try smearing them with a bit of yeast extract, potted meat or fish paste - that should be enough to get your puppy chewing!
Let him have a couple of toys to chew and play with each day, rotating them regularly so that he doesn't get bored with them.
Your puppy should have plenty of interactive playtime every day as it's important for his development - he'll also enjoy it!
Play fetch by throwing a ball and getting him to bring it back to you or try throwing a Frisbee and let him chase after it.
Outdoor play may be fun but it's also good exercise for your puppy.
If you catch your puppy chewing something that you don't want him to chew, say 'No' in a firm voice - loud enough to startle him but not so loud that it frightens him.
Remove the object and replace it with something that he's allowed to chew, one of his toys for example and, when he takes it, praise him.
Discipline your puppy the moment he misbehaves otherwise he won't understand why he's being reprimanded. If you leave it any longer than a moment it will be too late - catch your puppy in the act, then discipline him immediately.
If your puppy is chewing the furniture, (it's obviously impractical to move furniture each time) tell him 'No', remove your puppy from the area and then offer him a chew toy instead - don't forget to praise him for taking and chewing on his own toy.
If you're persistent and consistent in your discipline, your puppy will eventually learn that he's not allowed to chew the furniture and other household objects, but that he is allowed to chew on his toys.
If your puppy continues to chew on items that you don't want him to, there are alternative methods you can try to stop your puppy chewing:
What you're trying to do here is to 'catch him in the act' so that you can teach him that he's only allowed to chew his own toys. Repeat this exercise regularly to reinforce the training.
You could also use the 'Leave It' command to help stop your puppy chewing.
If your puppy is unfamiliar with this command, you can learn how to teach your puppy to 'Leave It' here.
When training a puppy to stop chewing, some owners use a water pistol or a water spray with the nozzle turned to jet mode.
The aim is to teach your puppy that each time he tries to chew a table leg, for example, he will receive a 'shock' of water and it will discourage him in the future.
Your puppy will be startled momentarily and will probably look at you for reassurance; as he does, call him over to you and offer him a toy to play with or to chew - make the toy seem much more interesting than the table leg.
Praise your puppy when he shows interest in, or chews, the toy.
If your puppy treats the water spray as a game, don't use it - you'll need to find an alternative method to distract him from unwanted chewing.
There is a spray on the market which can be used to coat objects, such as furniture legs. This bitter tasting substance is meant to act as a deterrent to chewing to your puppy.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work for all puppies or dogs, as some continue to chew regardless; however, it may be worth a try.
We love our puppies, which sometimes causes us to overlook behaviour which we wouldn't normally allow.
However, it's important that we never allow our puppies get away with unwanted chewing or biting, even if it seems cute - the key to stopping unwanted puppy chewing is perseverance and consistency.
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