Is your puppy chewing on your carpets, furniture, clothes and more? If so, he's perfectly normal... but you do need to discourage this behavior to protect him and your home. Learn how, here!
Chewing just comes naturally to your puppy. It helps keep her little teeth clean, exercises her jaws, reduces teething pain and (in her opinion anyway) is just good, clean fun.
Unfortunately, realizing that this behavior is normal doesn't make it any less frustrating. Especially when you find her chewing the heel clean off your last surviving pair of shoes!
For the first 4 or 5 months puppies chew as a way of exploring their environment and surroundings - much the same way as human babies go through a stage where they're unable to resist the desire to put everything in their mouths.
As their baby teeth grow in and then start to fall out, to be replaced by their adult teeth, chewing and biting seems to reach a peak... it's a normal puppy teething stage, but it can definitely be challenging!
Young puppies aren't deliberately disobeying you, or intentionally choosing the most expensive chair in the house to use as a teething ring. They're just trying to satisfy their overwhelming need to chew; and if your Persian rug or favorite leather jacket is the nearest, and most attractive, proposition it's going to get teethmarks on it!
So now you know that these problems don't mean that your baby is destined to be a juvenile offender, because she's simply following her natural doggy instincts, what's the best way to stop puppy chewing in it's tracks?
Let's take a look...............
If you want to stop your pup chewing her way through everything you own you're going to have to be pro-active.
A few simple puppy-proofing steps will help cut down on the chewing frenzy and limit the number of forbidden items she can lay her paws (or teeth) on -
One of the first steps towards putting an end to the destruction, is to start by taking a walk in your puppy's boots! For a few minutes try to forget you're a 5ft 8inch tall human and pretend you're a 14" high puppy. Try to look at your home and surroundings from her point of view (literally).
As this involves crawling through your home on your hands and knees, it's probably an exercise best undertaken in the evening when the blinds are drawn if you don't want to be the talk of the neighborhood.
In the war against puppy chewing, your first step is to take temptation out of her path....
All of these are ripe puppy chewing targets!
Remove whatever you can, reposition ornaments, houseplants or books on higher shelves; put shoes in a closet; hook the drapes over the rod or even take them down for a few weeks; keep the bedroom doors shut to cut down on her access to toys and clothing. I'm sure you get the idea.
A lot of Fifi's puppy chewing efforts may be concentrated on your furniture. Whatever you can't physically move, try to protect.You can buy a spray called Bitter Apple Spray. It's exactly what it says, a bitter-tasting spray that's been specifically formulated to discourage puppy chewing behavior.
Your little one will most likely not like the taste and won't want to sink her teeth into the dining room table if it's sprayed with Bitter Apple. If you have a very stubborn pup who's in puppy chewing overdrive, and who seems devoid of taste buds, you can try a thin smear of hot-sauce instead of the Bitter Apple. It's worked for me in the past.
Electrical wires, cords, TV cables etc. (very popular with chewers) can be fed through hollow PVC tubing to protect them, and even sprayed with Bitter Apple as an added measure.
Stop your puppy from chewing on small toys, such as Lego blocks, Matchbox cars and any Barbie accessory by making sure these items are never left lying around the rooms little Fifi has access to.
Keep them in the bedrooms or a playroom that your puppy can't enter - a baby gate set up in the doorway is a good way to keep Fifi out of (or in depending on your needs) a certain room.
All these toys seem to look super-tasty to puppies but can cause choking or internal problems if swallowed.
Pups are be especially attracted to any item that has the scent of their family members on it. This is why their most favorite puppy chewing objects are often clothes, shoes, hats, pens, purses etc.
Now, even if you've done a great job of puppy-proofing your home you're not done yet. When trying to stop puppy chewing you have to take a multi-pronged approach as I can guarantee you that little Fifi will still be able to find some forbidden treasure to chew on.
The next step is to make sure your pup is supervised whenever she has free access to your home. This may be a good place to mention that a small puppy should rarely be free to roam around the house, and never be allowed to do so unsupervised.
Obviously even puppy parents have lives and you can't be glued to your little furball's side 24/7 so - whenever you can't supervise Fifi make sure she's confined somewhere safe. The best option here is often a crate (find out how crate training can benefit both you and your puppy) or you can set up a small exercise pen or playpen. You can even use a gate to keep her in the kitchen with you.
Wherever you choose to confine her make sure she has several interesting, safe and durable toys to keep her amused. Sturdy Nylabones and Kong toys are a good choice.
Puppies get tired of the same toys pretty quickly. To keep Fifi interested in her toy box it's a good idea to have a fairly large selection (maybe a dozen or so) of good quality dog toys and swap them out every 2 or 3 days.
So perhaps on Monday and Tuesday she has her Kong filled with treats, her squeaky duck, her lambswool teddy and a sturdy rope toy to choose from. Then on Wednesday they get exchanged for her stuffed monkey with rope arms, her squeaky football, her treat cube and her favorite bone and so on.
If you want your little one to have a nice soft, comfy bed to sleep on but she's still in the teething stages, then I'd highly recommend investing in a chew-resistant dog bed (these are pretty much the same thing!).
You won't find these in your local pet store, but there are some great choices online and although they're a little pricier than your 'average' doggie bed they will last a whole lot longer... and usually come with a guarantee or replacement warranty just in case your pup manages to damage it.
To learn more about these (and see some of the best choices on the market) check out my Chewproof Dog Bed Guide.
Okay, so what if your pup is in the living room and you've turned your back for a minute and she suddenly streaks past you with your sons baseball glove clamped firmly between her teeth?
First do not run after her - yes I do know how much that glove cost - but that tactic won't work!
When you chase your puppy she thinks it's a delicious new game and I promise you she'll be better at 'tag' than you are. Besides, even if you do succeed in catching her she'll be so excited that she'll have death grip on that baseball glove.
Then you're facing an undignified tug of war with your 20lb puppy. If this doesn't sound too challenging then I can only assume you've never actually tried to wrestle a baseball glove from a puppy's mouth. You're going to be surprised by how much pressure per square inch those little jaws can exert!
Apart from being frustrating for you it's a bad idea for your puppy to play tug of war with her human family. This can encourage her to challenge your authority and in certain breeds (often the guardians) there's a possibility of dominance issues arising later on.
I'm not sure it's an actual law of physics, per se, but whatever force you use to pull at that glove will result in your precious pup using just slightly more force to hold onto it. Now if she's a 2lb puppy you may think that's not going to matter - wrong!
She may end up dangling 4ft above the ground but she'll most likely still refuse to let go. Be very careful here as even a 12" drop can seriously injure small dogs and puppies.
"So" I can hear you asking, "exactly what AM I supposed to do?"...... try this:
up one of her very favorite toys and get a tasty treat (try to keep a
stash of treats and a special toy handy for just this purpose), then
call your puppy's name in a bright, happy voice and say something like
Your puppy will probably come bounding over to show you her prize, her little tail wagging up a storm.
Repeat this every time she grabs something forbidden. If she's just chewing on a stationary object such as the coffee table. Tell her "No", remove her from it's vicinity and distract her with an interesting toy of her own. Again, if you really want to stop this behavior, you need to do this every time.
Puppies learn through repetition, so be firm and consistent and she'll get the message.
One more tip - if she's chewing on something hard like a wooden building block, furniture or your hairdryer, replace it with a hard toy such as a sturdy bone or rubber toy.
If she has your T-shirt or your daughter's 'Tickle-me-Elmo' replace it with one of her own stuffed toys. Exchanging like for like is your best bet for keeping her busy with her own new treasure.