When you enter puppy parenthood you should expect that your puppy will cause some trouble as he or she grows and adjusts to their new home. Peeing on the floor in the house, tearing apart the garbage or chewing on something that is not a toy are all fairly common problems for puppies and young dogs. However, chewing may be one of the biggest problems because puppies and young dogs use their mouth to explore. While chewing, mouthing or biting may not hurt or seem like a big deal when the dog is cute and tiny puppy with very few teeth or none at all, these behaviors still need to be corrected to prevent a possible long standing problem as the dog reaches adulthood.
Why Puppies Begin Chewing
Dogs begin chewing on inappropriate items when they begin teething. Like its is for humans, teething can be a very painful time for dogs and chewing on various things can help relieve some of the discomfort that comes along with it. This is why puppies need toys they are allowed to chew on to not only relieve their discomfort but also to allow them to expend their energy. Chewing becomes a problem for owners when the puppy moves on to other items to chew, like furniture, shoes, or even their human.
Chewing is an important developmental stage that puppies should experience as they explore their surroundings, alleviate some teething pain and also develop their jaws but it is not a behavior they should be exhibiting for the rest of their lives. The following are some tips to stop your puppy from chewing through everything in your home.
How To Help Out Your Puppy
Provide Appropriate Chew Toys: Make sure your puppy has numerous things he or she is allowed to chew up and destroy. Dogs get bored easily, which is when they most often get into trouble. To combat their boredom, have a variety of chew toys on hand to help prevent them from wandering to explore objects that are not toys
Puppy Proof: This should go without saying, but if you don’t want your puppy to chew on something then keep it out of the puppy’s sight. Before you even bring a new puppy or young dog home for the first time you should go through him or her’s environment to eliminate anything inappropriate the puppy could find and chew. Make it easier for your puppy to not chew unwanted items by putting everything away. Furthermore, it may be a good idea to get a playpen for your puppy that he or she could go in when you can’t give them your complete and full attention because they will find something you didn’t want them to chew, no matter how well you hide it.
Play With Your Puppy: Besides needing multiple and various chew toys, a puppy also needs a lot of play time to help deter chewing. When a puppy has extra energy that needs to be expended, they could end up finding an inappropriate item to chew on to pass the time. Providing them with adequate play time means they will be more tired and less likely to wander around trying to fill their time by chewing on the one pair of shoes you accidentally forgot to put away.
Discourage Chewing on Inappropriate Items: If your dog does manage to find something they shouldn’t be chewing, which they will, discourage the behavior by taking away the item and telling them “NO” firmly. Then replace the inappropriate item with a chew toy they are allowed to chew on. Overtime your dog will begin to learn and understand which toys are his or hers and which items are not toys at all.
Be The Pack Leader: Puppy’s begin chewing on their owners often times because they do not seem their human as the leader of the pack, they see them as friends and therefore get played with like friends. Establish that you are the dog’s authority figure by setting rules and boundaries for your puppy to follow. When he or she no longer sees you as their friend but as their leader, the puppy should stop using you as a walking chew toy.
Avoid Confusion: In order to teach your dog that some things are okay to chew on and somethings are not okay, avoid giving them old household items, like shoes, as a toy. If your dog thinks it is okay to chew on the old shoe you gave him or her then he or she will have a hard time understanding why it is not okay to chew on your brand new shoes you left by the door.
Medical Problems: If your puppy’s chewing continues to be a problem despite your efforts to correct the behavior then you should make a vet appointment to rule out any medical problems. Nutritional deficiencies or gastrointestinal problems could produce symptoms that lead to a puppy inappropriately chewing. Rule out anything that could be causing or contributing to your dog’s problems with chewing.