New Puppy Training Tip - Stop Chewing
Many dog owner returns home to find some unexpected damage inflicted by their or their dog; or, more specifically, that dog's teeth. Although dogs make great use of their vision and sense of smell to explore the world, one of their favorite ways to take in new information is to put their mouths to work.
Fortunately, chewing can be directed onto appropriate items so your dog isn't destroying things you value or jeopardizing their own safety.
Until they've learned what they can and can't chew, however, it's your responsibility to manage the situation as much as possible, so they don't have the opportunity to chew on unacceptable objects.
Why Do Puppies Chew?
Most of the time, chewing is normal behavior for puppies and dogs, and it serves many purposes, such as strengthening their jaws and relieving anxiety.
Like babies, puppies experience discomfort while teething, and gnawing or chewing on things provides some relief. Boredom is another reason that puppies chew. Dogs are social animals and need stimulation for their mental health. If you're not exercising your pup enough or giving it sufficient one-on-one time, it may seek attention by chewing inappropriate objects.
How to Stop Destructive Chewing
1. The first step is to make sure that your puppy does not have any serious medical problems. Nutritional deficiencies caused by poor diet and/or intestinal parasitism can lead to pica which may be misconstrued as inappropriate chewing. Gastrointestinal problems may cause nausea which can trigger chewing as a coping mechanism. Therefore it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical condition that may be causing or contributing to the dog chewing.
2. Look around your environment for possible dangers to your inquisitive puppy. Place household cleaners and chemicals out of reach along with potentially toxic plants. Electrical cords should be covered or made inaccessible to prevent chewing on them resulting in electrocution. Remove objects of curiosity that might appeal to your puppy such as shoes and socks, children’s toys and the like. Block access to rooms that have not been puppy proofed and consider crate training your dog for the times when he cannot be supervised.
3. Provide appropriate chew toys for your dog to enjoy. Each dog will have their own personal preference as to what they prefer to chew and play with.
4. If you do find your dog chewing on something inappropriate correct the dog by taking the object away and scolding him. Direct his attentions to an appropriate chew object and give praise when he chews on said object. Gradually, your dog will learn what objects are his and which are not. Sometimes it can be difficult to discourage chewing if the pattern is already established. Taste deterrents such as bitter apple can applied to the object, the noxious taste will hopefully deter the determined chewer and he will learn to leave the object alone.
5. Engage in playtime with your dog. A tired dog is a good dog! Spend time playing and exercising with your dog on a regular basis. This not only reinforces the human-animal bond but expends energy that your dog might be otherwise directed to inappropriate chewing and behaviors.
Patience is important
Puppy doesn’t know they’re doing anything wrong by following their instincts to put everything in their jaws. So if you chase and holler at them when they’ve gotten hold of something “illegal,” they’re likely to think that you’re either joining in the fun or have turned into a scary monster.
Instead of chasing your dog, try trading them a toy for the object. If you need stronger ammo, trade your pup for a piece of cheese or hot dog, or throw several pieces on the ground and remove the object when they’re otherwise occupied.
Through their puppyhood and well into adolescence, your puppy will chew. That’s a fact. But with patience, supervision, redirection, and the right chewing outlets, you will get through this phase!