Wow! How cute and adorable! Yes absolutely, and many a puppy has been bought on impulse just because they were ‘irresistible’ and often without any consideration as to what the demands would be in having a puppy as a new member of the family. (I think there are some similarities there with having children don’t you think?)
Probably the last thing a new puppy owner thinks about is how stressful it can be to deal with the puppy’s teething problem and stopping it from chewing, on everything in the house. Little do they realize however that it will be a major challenge to control this very natural growing development.
Here’s where the training similarities between puppies and babies ends, because babies are in an easily controlled environment, whereas puppies can leave a trail of disaster and destruction because many people once they bring their puppy home just leave them to romp around the house and even give them their old shoes, socks, slippers, shirts etc., to play with.
Then when they leave the puppy alone at home, it’s only natural it will start to chew on the good stuff you don’t want them to, but similar – like shoes, books, cushions, socks, the couch, the furniture legs, coffee table and any number of other things they can sink their teeth into.
They can’t make the distinction between what’s the good stuff and what isn’t and think it’s okay, but it’s not okay – it’s infuriating and what’s worse, your dog has no idea why you are now showing signs of hostility towards it.
The good news however is that they can be trained not to do these things with tried and proven ways to stop your puppy from chewing.
USING THE CRATE TRAINING METHOD
By far the best way of dealing with a puppies’ teething issue as well as things like potty training etc., is to use the crate method. This involves getting a crate or strong box that will allow the dog slightly more room than it takes to stand and turn around in. This will be the puppies home where it has it’s own ‘space’ to get away and feel protected.
Crate training your dog will not only prevent destructive chewing, but will also aid in potty training and create a positive and safe environment for your dog when you’re not around, and it will not have the opportunity to chew on your belongings and other harmful things like power cords, etc.
Some people think that keeping a dog in a crate when they’re not around is cruel. This is not the case at all. Dogs by nature like small, darkened places and tend to feel very safe in crates. Almost all dog trainers today believe that crate training is a necessary and positive part of your puppy’s development.
So the object is to make the crate a safe and happy place for your dog to be, and for the puppy to feel it’s their place, they need the things it identifies as belonging to them – especially toys they can chew on, as well as rags, balls, etc.
The next most important thing to teach your dog when he is teething and chewing is which toys are his and what are off limits. Also purchase good things to chew on such as Kong toys or Bully Sticks. Kong’s are made of tough rubber and can be filled with goodies such as peanut butter or cheese. They are excellent chew toys and wonderful for the teething period. Bully Sticks are 100% natural and 100% digestible, low in fat and great for your dog to chew on.
Other chewable toys that could be used are Nylabones which are made out of solid hard plastic and have bumps on them to soothe teething gums or other toys made of hard rubber or plastic. (Check out your pet store for a variety of new products suitable for your puppy to chew on).
Reinforce which toy is for your dog by giving him his chew toy and saying something like, “Here is your toy, good boy!” If your dog chooses something that he is not to chew on, take it away and replace it with one of his chew toys repeating something like, “This is your toy, good boy!”
With persistence, your puppy will learn what to chew on and what it’s not to chew on.
In time your puppy will recognize certain words it can associate with like come, sit, down boy, etc., but a puppy has no idea of what you’re saying, it can only recognize actions, gestures and voice levels.
A. There is your “well pleased” voice level which is slightly higher than normal, excitable and accompanied by affection, pats, rubbing and words like “good dog”.
B. Then there is the “lower registering voice”, slower and more like a growl that the puppy quickly perceives is your displeasure and shouldn’t be doing what it is doing. Of course you will use appropriate words like “bad dog, naughty dog” etc., but it’s not necessary to yell at the dog or hit them or scold them for any reason. At least not yet! I know it’s a big ask, but no matter how annoyed and upset you are about what it has just chewed, don’t take it out on the dog because they can’t figure out what they did that was wrong, and will only end up all confused and scared.
Just by using the right intonation in your voice with short one syllable words, you can effectively communicate even though it doesn’t have any understanding of the actual words you use.
For those who are still reluctant to use a crate, just make sure the puppy has a clearly marked and restricted area that it can claim as it’s own. Close off access to such areas as bedrooms, couches you don’t want it to jump on and any areas you don’t want them to mess up in.
You can also spray ‘bitter apple’ and ‘cayenne pepper’ on areas where you want to discourage activity. This helps when it’s necessary to lay down the law when showing that your belongings are out of bounds and not to be chewed on.
STOPPING PUPPY FROM CHEWING, ALSO INCLUDES THE PROBLEM OF BITING
Puppies will start wrapping their mouths around people when they are young, as early as a few weeks old. It’s a way for them to play and learn how to assert dominance in the litter and later the pack. Mothers will often teach them not to bite each other. However if a dog is taken away from their mother too early or if they don’t have litter mates, they might never learn not to do this. Additionally, if you allow them to mouth your fingers when puppies are teething, they might think it is acceptable behavior.
Stopping the Nips
Step one is to show them your displeasure at this kind of behavior. One way if they jump on you or nip you, is to turn your back and ignore them. If you can get everyone in your house to do this repeatedly, the dog will learn very quickly.
Another trick that works well, is to tell them that their biting hurt you. You do this by giving a small yelp or whining sound which will trigger in their head as a bad thing – the same response that their little mates had when they nipped each other in the litter. In packs of dogs, the mother or other dogs would teach this to the pups, but in a home situation, it is up to you. Teething puppies will put their mouths on you and you must teach them at an early age that this is not acceptable.
As already mentioned above, every time they start to chew or bite, you must redirect them to an acceptable chew toy.
Another important factor and one often overlooked in teaching the puppy not to bite, is socializing with other dogs. It is very important to take your dog to a puppy class or puppy play group. Many good trainers offer these services.
When allowed to play with other pups, your dog will learn what is acceptable play behavior. The other dogs will help your dog to learn that biting is not appropriate.
You must also socialize your dog to many different kinds of people and situations. This will help your dog not to be afraid of new things and will significantly lower the potential for biting. By following the above advice as well as the advice of your veterinarian, you can rest assured that the teething period will be a positive learning period for you and your puppy.
Keep in mind at all times that it’s at the puppy stage when it’s imperative to start laying down the boundaries and expectations, as that’s when a dog is most pliable, before it can actually cause more serious damage.
Also remember that while puppies can recognize by your response to them that they have done something wrong, most instances of chewing what it shouldn’t has very little to do with intended disobedience, and more to do with inadequate boundaries, and lack of consistent attention to training them. Dogs by their nature want to please you.
SO WHY DO PUPPIES CHEW?
Because it’s natural for them to do so, they were born to chew and enjoy chewing because they were born to eat! Often chewing things other than food which includes shaking and destroying things – is not a malicious act, just a fun and playful way to behave.
Dogs by nature are creatures of habit and will learn quickly if you provide a habitual and familiar environment for them, but YOU NEED TO BE AS CONSISTENT AS YOU WANT THEM TO BE!
Fact: Your puppy is going to chew on something no matter what you do. Don’t confuse them by trying to stop them from chewing, just change their focus and selection of things they can chew on and away from those things that are important to you.
Most of all set those boundaries and stick to them and you will have found the ways to stop puppy from chewing.
Hi, it’s Anthony here and while this article covers the essential things you need to know and apply to help you with your puppy’s chewing problems, you would be further greatly helped by a more detailed explanation of these and many other excellent dog training issues, by checking out what I believe is the very best in learning how to train your dog and you can do this at http://www.TheBestDogTrainingSecrets.info
- Crate Training – Prison or Den? (lyncrestcavalierkingcharlesspanielpuppies.com)
- How to Keep Your Dog from Chewing (answers.com)