How To Stop Your Puppy Chewing

Although puppy chewing may seem cute it needs to be carefully managed because if chewing is allowed to continue unchecked through to adulthood it can easily become a habit - just imagine the destruction from an adult dog chewing your furniture!

10 Top Tips To Help Stop Your Puppy Chomping
His Way Through Your Home!

10 Tips To Stop Puppies Chewing

If your pup is chewing his way through your home, don't worry, you're not alone!

Chewing is perfectly normal behavior for puppies, especially when they're teething; it's how they learn about the world around them.

Cute cocker spaniel puppy chewing slipper

I'm not saying that you should stop your puppy's chewing, just redirect it - teach him what he can and cannot chew - otherwise he'll think that everything he can get into his little mouth is 'fair game'!

Many new pet owners fail to manage puppy chewing, perhaps because they believe Benji looks cute chomping on something twice his size, or simply because they don't know how.

Unfortunately, this is when some owners eventually become so frustrated that they either return their puppy to the breeder, place it with a rescue center, or worse!

Unfortunately, our puppies don't instinctively know what they are (or are not) allowed to chew on, so it's up to us 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.

Your puppy may be:

  • Teething - puppy teething is painful and chewing relieves the pain;

  • Learning - chewing is how he learns;

  • Bored - chewing can be very entertaining!

  • Hungry - puppies will chew on most things when they're hungry - just in case;

  • Controlling - your pup may be trying to dominate to become the alpha male;

  • Over-energetic - your puppy may have a surplus of energy.

Essential Tips On How To Stop Your Puppy Chewing

How To Stop Your Puppy Chewing

1: Biting Humans Is Not Allowed

When managing puppy chewing behavior, it's essential that your first teach your puppy that he must never place his teeth on human skin or clothes but that he can (and must) chew on his own toys.

It really is important that you stop your puppy biting and nipping people as soon as it begins, otherwise you and your dog may be in for a bumpy ride.

2: Puppy-Proof Your Home

When you've a lively pup in the home it soon becomes necessary to tidy up on a regular basis because your puppy will try to chew almost everything he comes into contact with; electrical cords, (eek!) shoes, socks, books, furniture - in fact, almost anything that's left lying around, or he can easily get to.

Make sure that the children's toys are put away and all rubbish bins and waste-paper baskets are out of your puppy's reach.

TV remotes are a firm favorite 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 dentures!

You have been warned....don't leave anything lying around!

Puppy-proof your home now and be certain that your pup won't come to any harm.

3: Supervise Your Puppy At All Times

If you're going to stop inappropriate puppy chewing behaviors it's necessary to teach him to understand what he's allowed to chew and more importantly what he's not allowed to chew. In order to do that it will be essential to supervise him at all times.

The easiest way to do this is to either put him in his crate when you can't watch him closely or leave him in a dog pen or in another (puppy-proofed) room where you can leave the door open and use a baby gate. That way he can still see you and will most likely play quietly.

4: Crate Puppy If You Can't Supervise Him

If you need to go out, or you're unable to supervise your puppy for a while, the best thing to do is to put him in his crate until you're free 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 favorite (safe) chew toys in the crate with him. In fact, placing your puppy in his crate will help him to focus on the toys you want him to chew.

5: Plenty Of Exercise And Training

One of the ways you can help stop your puppy chewing is by making sure he gets lots of exercise and training to use up all that excess, pent-up energy, and it will help to keep him out of mischief.

Cocker Spaniel puppy chewing at its worst - poor teddy!

A young puppy of about 12 weeks of age, should be taken for two or three 15 minute walks each day, and given a couple of 5 to10-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, once each day is ideal for an adult dog and if you can exercise your dog twice each day, even better!

Your puppy's training sessions may also be increased a little each day, but not by too much - you want to keep them light, interesting and fun!

The mental and physical stimulation he'll get from exercise and training will help to burn up his energy and help to stop your puppy chewing your slippers or your favorite handbag! 

6: Don't Let Your Puppy Chew Slippers

Don't allow your puppy to chew on your shoes or your slippers.

Whilst at first it may seem cute to see those little puppy teeth trying to chew on something twice his size, it won't be too long before those teeth really begin to do some damage.

You'll also confuse him because if he chews your new trainers to shreds, and you subsequently discipline him, he won't understand why. He won't be able to tell the difference between an old pair of slippers and your new trainers - they'll both smell delicious and will be comforting to him and he won't understand why he can chew on one and not the other!

7: Plenty Of Toys To Chew

Make sure your pet 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 and will keep him busy for a while, especially if you freeze the Kong first. These will also be a great comfort to him if he's teething.

If your puppy is reluctant to chew his toys or chew bones, try smearing them with a bit of yeast extract, potted meat, peanut butter, 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.

8: Lots Of Outdoor Playtime

Your puppy should have plenty of interactive playtime every day, not only because it's important for his development, but because it's extra exercise and he'll enjoy it too!

Play fetch by throwing a ball and getting him to bring it back to you (you'll probably need to teach him to fetch - puppies don't always automatically know how to play!) or try throwing a Frisbee and let him chase after it.

Exciting playtime with lots of mental stimulation can help stop dogs chewing - so go for it!

9: Discipline And Reward

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 one of his toys and when he starts to chew it, praise him.

It's best to 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 and discipline him immediately.

If your puppy is chewing the furniture, (it's obviously impractical to move furniture each time) say 'No', in your 'naughty puppy voice' and remove him away from the furniture or out of the room. Offer him a chew toy instead, and 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 or other household objects, but that he is allowed to chew on his toys.

10: If Puppy Chewing Continues

If your puppy is still chewing everything in sight you might like to try the following to help speed things up a little:

  • Place an object (one that you don't want your puppy to chew) on the floor;

  • Place a chew toy or bone near the object;

  • Pick up a magazine and pretend you're not paying any attention to him;

  • As he make a move for the 'forbidden' object say 'No' in a loud, firm tone. This will either stop him dead, cause him to move away, or he may pick up his own toy bone. If he picks up his toy, praise him. If he begins to chew it, praise him even more!

  • If he doesn't pick up either, offer him his toy and tell him he's a good boy when he takes it.

What you're doing here is creating a situation where you can 'catch him in the act' in order to respond immediately. You're teaching him that he's only allowed to chew his own toys.

Repeat this exercise regularly to help strengthen and reinforce your puppy's training.

More Tips To Stop Puppy Chewing

Leave It!

You may also be able to use the 'Leave It' command to help stop your puppy chewing, although it's probably only going to be effective if you use it before he actually picks up something you don't want him to chew.

If he doesn't yet understand this command you can learn how to teach your puppy to 'Leave It' here.

A Water Pistol Can Help To Stop Puppy Chewing

Some owners have found a water pistol or a water spray with the nozzle turned to jet mode a fairly effective way of stopping puppy chewing.

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.

Use the spray each time your puppy tries to chew a table leg, for example, and your puppy will learn that each time he chews certain things, a spray of water comes out of nowhere - he'll get a 'shock' and he'll think twice about chewing the table leg in the future.

It won't harm him, he'll simply 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 boring old table leg.

Praise your puppy when he shows interest in, or chews the toy.

Bitter Spray Can Help Stop Puppy Chewing

There is a spray on the market which can be used to coat things such as furniture legs, slippers, hands, clothes, etc. It tastes bitter and is meant to act as a deterrent to dog or puppy chewing.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work for all puppies or dogs as some continue to chew regardless; however, it may be worth a try if you're running out of ideas!

Puppy Chewing: Summary

  • Teach your puppy, as early as possible, that it's never acceptable to bite you or your clothes - teach your dog to stop chewing as soon as it begins.

  • Don't allow your puppy to chew on personal possessions, such as slippers. Give your puppy a good selection of safe puppy toys to play with. Rotate them regularly so that he doesn't get bored with them - bored puppies chew and can develop destructive habits!

  • Keep your puppy safe by moving or locking away dangerous items in your home and keep a watchful eye on him unless he's safely locked in his crate.

  • Plenty of training, exercise, and play will not only keep your puppy's mind and body healthy, it will also go some way to help keep him occupied, and will help to stop your (bored) puppy chewing up your home.

  • Help your puppy understand the difference between unwanted and wanted behavior. Redirect his chewing away from items you don't want him to chew and give him one of his chew toys as an alternative, and praise him if he begins to chew it.

  • We love our puppies, which sometimes causes us to overlook behavior which we wouldn't normally allow, but 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.

» » Puppy Chewing

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