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How to Stop Your Puppy Chewing

A common problem that people encounter is that their new puppy chews things it shouldn’t.  The problem is that this behaviour is often accepted while the puppy is small and cute but when the dog gets older it can no longer be overlooked.

It is to be remembered that it is natural for puppies to chew especially while they are teething. Puppies chew to ease teething discomfort, to play, to explore the environment, to assuage hunger, to establish dominance, and to relieve boredom.  Dogs usually go through a second phase of chewing (or adolescent chewing) from around the age of 7 months and this can last for around 6 months.  It is often this second stage of chewing that people find very difficult to cope with.  Therefore, training your puppy to chew his own toys and chews is very important.

Training your puppy to chew the correct things

1.      Only place a couple of chews down at a time and rotate them regularly to prevent boredom.

2.      Spend time with your puppy when he is chewing the objects and toys designed for him.  If you ignore him when he is chewing the correct thing and shout when he chews a table leg he will soon learn that chewing the table gives him more attention (any attention is better than none to a dog) than chewing his toy!

3.      When your puppy goes to chew the wrong thing, distract him with a short sharp noise or spray with a jet of water.  Praise him as he walks away from it by encouraging him to play with one of his toys.

4.      Deterrent sprays such as bitter apple spray on the furniture can help but usually need to be used in combination with the other techniques.

5.      Toys such as Kongs stuffed with cheese paste will give your puppy hours of fun while encouraging chewing.

6.      It is important to remember that your puppy does not maliciously chew the wrong thing, it is because he has not been trained correctly to stop him chewing the wrong thing.  While you are training your puppy, keep valuable or dangerous objects well out of reach of your puppy.

7.      As with a young child, your puppy needs to be supervised to prevent him chewing the wrong things.  You need to be there to stop him as soon as he begins to chew so you can divert him onto the correct object.

8.      If you cannot supervise your puppy for a short time then place him in a dog crate or play pen with a couple of items he is allowed to chew.  Encourage him with interaction to chew these items.

The most important thing to remember is not to use punishment.  This could lead to your dog waiting to chew when you are not around.  Do not shout or smack your puppy as this can lead to fear aggression in the future. Instead, use a matter-of-fact correction in a firm tone of voice. "No, that's mine, here's something for you" is appropriate.  Encourage him with treats / toys that are specifically designed for chewing such as Kongs, rawhide chews etc.