Are you at your wits end because your puppy is chewing your furniture and possessions? As small as those puppies can be, they can create a huge amount of damage, from picking at your carpet and scratching doors and floors, to chewing your brand new pair of very expensive shoes.
Fortunately, Trixie never had an inappropriate chewing problem, but I know others experience this destructive behavior. She was rarely left alone to get bored and I tried to keep her active. Although some discourage it, I gave her a couple of my old tennis shoes to chew on.
Do you have a problem with your dog chewing? Did you ever come home from work and found your newest pair of shoes being chewed upon by your, cute, sweet and innocent, little dog?
If this is a familiar scenario to you, I suggest that you continue to read on.
What you need to know is the reason for your puppy’s chewing.
Chewing is a natural and healthy activity for puppies and shouldn’t be stopped. It is only when the chewing becomes destructive that it should be stopped.
There are various reasons why your puppy is chewing your house to shreds.
At about 3-4 weeks your puppy’s teeth start to come through. By 16 weeks they should start to fall out when the first permanent teeth start to emerge. When their gums are sore, they chew to ease them.
Young puppies are particularly prone to becoming bored. They need an outlet for their energy such as exercise and mental stimulation. If left alone for too long, your puppy may easily become bored and could then take to a destructive behavior such as chewing.
Stress and separation anxiety
Again, if a puppy is left alone for extended periods he may being chewing in order to alleviate stress and separation anxiety.
Once you know what the reasons for your puppy’s destructive chewing, it will help you to take remedial action.
Here is some advice to help you stop inappropriate chewing.
- If you are welcoming a new puppy into your home, be sure to supply it with adequate toys to prevent your pooch from destroying your home, car, or wardrobe. Moreover, keep in mind to pick toys that are not mistaken for those “out of bound” objects.
- You could start by making a few specific toys available. Interactive and dispensing toys are good because they are designed to stimulate your puppy and hold her interest.
- Look for bones and toys that are meant to be used as a chewing toy that will not splinter, break, or split and potentially cause a choking hazard. Sticks picked up in the yard can potentially be a hazard; even though they seem to be a favorite with many dogs.
- By using toys and playing regularly with your puppy, they will start to have pleasant experiences with them and are more likely to play with them when left alone.
- What about the larger things like furniture, doors, or appliances that will be hard to move? For these structures, apply a thin film of Bitter Apple or spray the object with an anti-spray deterrent like Listerine. Bitter Apple is quite bitter and very unsavory for dogs. Available in a spray or cream, Bitter Apple will not damage the finish of your furniture and can easily be wiped away once the dog learns not the chew. Don’t be alarmed if your dog does ingest the material, it will not make him sick, as the contents of it are non-toxic. Your puppy will not like the taste and will stop them from chewing.
- The easiest way to stop your dog chewing is to keep an eye on her. Dogs cannot chew up your house and home while you sit watching them. Vigilance is a huge part of dog ownership.
- In addition to vigilance, cleanliness is a large factor in what a dog has access to chew. Simply put, your dog cannot chew your shoes unless they were left accessible. If you find your dog chewing something, if possible, place it out of her reach.
- At the start do not leave your puppy alone for too long. If you are absent for a period of time or cannot watch your puppy, you could confine them either in a pen or crate. You can also consider confining your dog to a room or area of your home until you can trust her to have free rein of your abode.
- It is important to praise your puppy when you see him chewing the correct items. This establishes the desired behavior through positive reinforcement. On the other hand if you see your puppy chew on something he shouldn’t, say something like “no” or “stop” in a stern voice. Consistently doing this will give a negative association.
Now that you understand the reasons for your puppy’s chewing, you should be able apply the necessary remedial course of action. It is very important to reward the desired behavior and to consistently teach your puppy what she is allowed to chew and what she is not allowed to chew.