Puppies are natural chewers. They chew on everything that they can get their little puppy mouth’s around; shoes, furniture, children’s toys, phones, wires, leaves, you name it – they’ll chew it.
If you don’t stop your puppy from chewing this is not a habit that they will grow out of. Then you will have a full-grown dog on your hands, ready to munch down on a moments notice.
I distinctly remember my childhood dog, Mandy, eating my mom’s best pearl earrings. Trust me, you don’t want this to happen. Not only because of the loss of the earrings, but from a safety standpoint, you are going to be required to check your dog’s poop to make sure that they pass the earrings. (Seriously!)
You should be beginning to realize why we do not want your puppy to chew, but let’s take a step back and explore some of the reasons why they want to chew. If we understand the root of the problem, it is easier to come up with a plan for the solution.
Some puppies chew because they are genuinely teething. Like babies, dogs want some relief for their gums and chewing on an object helps to get them that relief. If your pup is not teething, they may just be bored or looking for attention from you.
Another main reason, which we have talked about quite a lot is separation anxiety. If your dog is suffering from this condition, you will probably see a lot of negative behavior.
So, how can you stop your dog from chewing? The first step is to puppy proof your home. Remove as many objects as you can that your puppy has shown an interest in chewing. You can also give your dog chew toys that they are actually able to chew on as much as they want. Some dogs enjoy chewing on rawhide bones.
If you know your dog has a chewing problem, do not give them the run of the house while you are gone. You should secure him in his crate or another safe area of the home. Make sure to leave his chew toys with him.
Furniture is a hard item to get a dog to stop chewing because you can’t remove it from the room. If it is a hard surface item, such as a chair leg that your dog has taken a fancy to, try coating it with bad tasting solution. Make sure that it is non-toxic. I recommend using the formulation sold in store to help people stop biting their nails.
Every time that you catch your dog chewing, say “NO!” Don’t laugh when you are saying it or even remotely let your dog think that you are playing with him. Be firm and direct with your response. After you say “NO” give your dog his chew toy. If he takes it, praise your dog for making the right decision. You can also use your obedience command “Leave It.” in these situations.
It is unclear on how long a dog remembers, so if you come home from the movies and your favorite pair of shoes has been chewed to bits, you cannot punish your dog for this. I know it seems like you should be able to, but you didn’t catch them in the act, and they may be very confused about why you are yelling at them. Yes, even if you are waving your pump in the air.
Replacement is going to be huge with chewing. Each time you see them chew on something that they are not suppose to have, say “NO” or “Leave It”, and replace the item with a chew toy.
Chewing will not be stopped overnight, but if you are persistent, you will see a positive shift in this puppy behavior. Most owners just let it go on too long and say, “Oh, he’s just being a puppy.” Remember, dog training starts from day one. We never want to encourage bad behavior. The habits are just hard to break the further down the line we get.