Puppies are playful, cute and can be the greatest addition to your household. Their positive outlook can warm your heart and make you want to let them get away with almost anything, right? Not necessarily. Puppies can also be a big handful. They are curious creatures and can be prone to biting and chewing, even with the best intentions at heart.
The worst thing is coming home and expecting all of your belongings to be intact. This may not always be the case. You may find that your new puppy has gotten a hold of your expensive pair of shoes that no longer resemble themselves
Before you get extremely upset with your pet, take a deep breath and remember that material things can always be replaced. Next, remember that this is a learning process for both you and your pet and you’re simply going through a growing pain. There is a lot that should be considered when determining the cause behind your puppy’s chewing.
Gathered are 7 tips to stop your puppy from chewing and how you can move forward with your bond.
- Figure out the root of the problem.
Puppies aren’t vindictive and don’t choose to chew on your things out of spite. For every chewing puppy, there is a reason, valid or not, to why they are doing it. The most important step you can take is trying to identify the root cause of the problem and starting from there.
Some of the most common reasons behind a puppy’s chewing behavior include:
- Separation anxiety
- Learned habit
- Coping mechanism for fear
- Seeking attention
- Growing teeth
Pinpointing the problem will help you determine your next steps towards alleviating and eventually, getting rid of the issue altogether. If the problem is from separation or fear, provide your puppy with other ways to bring down his stress levels. This might be in the form of crating or a safety blanket. If the problem comes from habit, attention seeking or boredom, then it’s time to help train him with new habits and chances to relieve his tension. A dog is never too young or old to learn new tricks or habits.
If he’s starting to grow teeth, then you can look into getting your puppy to chew on toys that are specifically designated for this and prevent him from getting his hands on your personal property.
- Train your dog to chew on particular things.
Chewing is a part of their natural habitat. So, it doesn’t make sense to have your dog stop chewing entirely. Instead, you can train him to chew on friendlier things such as bones or toys made for dogs to chew.
As you allow him things to chew on, he will learn the difference between your approved and non-approved items. He will also begin to associate things like chew toys with playtime so he can engage in more pet-owner friendly play. Helping your puppy distinguish between your socks and his toy will definitely prevent him from tearing up your things indeed.
If he’s teething, you can help him with reducing his discomfort by placing his toys in the freezer. The cold will help him with any pain or numbness he may be feeling when he chews on the toy.
- Give your puppy ample time for exercise.
Physical activity is extremely important for any species. It helps to release tension built up inside as well as endorphins that promote happiness hormones. Plus, it also gives your puppy the chance to be healthy from a physical standpoint.
Recommended time is anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes each day. Make sure that when you take him outside for walks, secure him with a harness. A small dog harness is important for keeping your dog safe and by your side at all times. There are many options that cater to a dog’s size, pull strength and color preferences. Using a puppy harness is a great way for you to train him with obedience properly.
Taking your puppy out for regular walks will help him expend his energy in a positive way and keep him from chewing on things inside your home. It might even tire him out to where he will lounge when he gets home rather than rummaging through your things. Plus, you both would’ve gotten some Vitamin D from being outside, so it’s definitely a win-win.
- Promote positive reinforcement and consequences when necessary.
At times, you will need to punish your puppy. He will not always be the innocent angel he perceives to be and this is where you will need to punish accordingly. One of the best forms of teaching your puppy is by offering him positive reinforcement.
For instance, if he goes outside to pee instead of on your house carpet, give him a treat or shower him with praise him immediately following the act. He will soon equate that doing things your way will result in great things for him as well.
You can apply this same mindset with chewing as well. Give him a bone to chew on and when he has finished, tell him, “Good, boy.” Opposite to this, if he gets a hold of your shoes and chews on those, come up with a verbal sign that lets him know to stop (for example, “Oops!”), then either leave the room or put him in an area that separates him from everyone else (crate training is a great way to do this!). Soon enough, he will begin to associate what is allowed and what isn’t, resulting in fewer items of yours in his mouth.
- Challenge and play with your puppy regularly.
Along with physical activity, it’s important to help keep your puppy challenged from a mental capacity. If your puppy tends to get bored easily, it’s a great idea to add in mental challenges on a regular basis. This means you can schedule some play time with him to keep him engaged consistently.
You can also use this time to teach your dog current or new tricks. They love being able to learn new things, especially if it means that you praise them with treats or confidence. Breaking up the routine where he sleeps and eats all day will help keep him healthy both physically and mentally.
It might also be helpful to take your dog out to be with other people or dogs. Puppies thrive on social interactions. They love being around other creatures, exploring and learning from them. The more opportunities you give your puppy to do this, the more it will continue to utilize his mind, keeping him mentally stimulated.
- Set realistic expectations.
From this point, it’s essential that you understand you need to set realistic expectations. Just as when you were a child, you cannot expect your puppy to learn and stick with something overnight. Some things will come easier than others and he won’t always meet your expectations.
As long as you set something much more realistic, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you may even be more pleasantly surprised depending on how your puppy reacts to your new endeavors. In other words, be smart and don’t leave trash bags on the floor if you know that your puppy will most likely get into it. Know his habits and anticipate what to do and not to do. Give him a chance to do what you would want him to do but in a more practical and realistic setting.
- Be patient and loving to your puppy.
The one and best thing you can do for your puppy is to give him all the love that you possibly can. All he wants is to spend time with you and help keep you happy. The moment you become impatient and hostile, he will soon pick up on that tension and may lash out even more.
Will things become frustrating? Yes. Will you feel like giving up? Of course. But, will it all be worth it? Absolutely. The true test is determining just how patient you can be. Patience is certainly a virtue, especially when dealing with an animal that can’t speak back to you. Things aren’t going to be perfect but that’s perfectly okay. You will both get to learn a lot about each other through the process and the journey is just as important as the destination.
The more patience and love you exhibit, the more the learning process will seem much more manageable and enjoyable. Teaching a puppy to develop positive habits that meet your needs will be a challenge but certainly not impossible. You both will grow throughout the entire experience and learning in general, is never a bad thing.
Chewing doesn’t always have to be associated with being bad. In fact, with the right mindset and training, your doggie can actually have a happy chewing life after all. In doing so, save your personal items and your relationship with your new puppy. It is absolutely possible to stop him from chewing on your most beloved things and promoting good behavior overall. Follow these 7 tips to stop your puppy from chewing and you will find that you won’t be disappointed.
About the Author:
Stef is the owner of www.porkypaws.com – a dog enthusiast website that provides helpful tips and tricks for looking after your fur baby.