How to stop a puppy from chewing
Before answering the question how to stop a puppy from chewing, you should know more about puppy chewing problem. Puppies often get into trouble for chewing, even though it is normal puppy behavior. The destruction of household items is a nuisance, and can be expensive.
If you are able to give your puppy enough things to chew and get him into good habits from an early age, there is no reason why he should chew your possessions.
This article will help you understand the different stages of chewing, and why puppies chew during these times—so you can ensure that your puppy chews only what he is supposed to. It also offers tips on what to give your puppy to chew and how to keep him interested in what you are providing so you can answer the question how to stop a puppy from chewing.
Puppies need to chew and will do so voraciously while they are teething up until adolescence. Puppyhood is a good time to teach them what to chew on (and what not to), and to get them into good habits.
Why puppies chew
To know how to stop a puppy from chewing, you should know the main reasons for puppy chewing:
- firstly, to relieve the discomfort caused during teething, when their puppy teeth are replaced by adult teeth—this happens between 3 and 6 months of age
- secondly, during exploration, when they pick up and touch things with their mouths in the same way that toddlers explore using their hands. They will continue to chew a great deal until they are about 6 months old, after which time the chewing slows down a little.
Steps to stop puppy chewing
- The fist step to stop puppy chewing is getting your puppy into good habits right away, rather than allowing him to learn to chew household items. Buy a variety of different chews so that you have plenty to offer at times when it is likely he will want to chew. Replace these frequently with a new selection throughout his puppyhood until he is at least a year old.
- The 2nd step to stop puppy chewing is knowing that your puppy will be most likely to chew when he is rested and looking for something to do, or settling down to relax after a meal. Always have a different chew ready from the one he was chewing previously, and make sure he begins to chew it rather than a household item before you move away.
- The 3rd step to stop puppy chewing, if you cannot supervise your puppy, put him into his playpen with his chew, along with several other chews of a different variety, so that you know he does not have access to anything he should not chew.
- The 4th step to stop puppy chewing is knowing that puppies can become very texture- specific when chewing, which means that they will try to return to items made from a certain type of material, such as wood, once they have learned how good it feels chewing to chew.
- To counter this, keep your puppy far away from anything made out of this substance in the house, and instead offer him safe chews made from a material that is a suitable substitute.
- The 5th step to stop puppy chewing is distracting your puppy, and leading him away with a chew instead, if you see him chewing a household item,
- The 6th step to stop puppy chewing is praising him gently when he settles down to chew it. If he is not interested in the chew and tries to return to what he was doing, give him a different chew, or try squeezing some tasty treats into the end of the chew.
The 7th step to know how to stop a puppy from chewing is averting accidents:
- Most owners expect young puppies to chew, and are happy to accept the occasional chewing accident. Even so, you can keep this to a minimum if you know what to do and you supervise your puppy constantly, putting him into his playpen when you are not able to do so.
- To stop puppy chewing, you should pick up all loose household items, such as children’s toys and remote controls, so that he is not tempted.
- Offer him a variety of chews, leaving some on the floor for him, and pick these up and put new ones down often.
- In addition, by keeping him busy with plenty of play sessions, games, and training, he will have limited energy left to chew household items. This step will help you to stop puppy chewing.
The 8th step to answer how to stop a puppy from chewing is handling adolescent chewing problem. During adolescence, your dog will be able to cause more damage when he chews than he could as a young puppy. It is essential that you understand why he does it, and make sure that he only chews appropriate items.
Adolescence begins at around 6 months. The adolescent chewing phase begins a little later, at about 7–9 months, and continues until the puppy is physically mature, at about 1 year old. At this age, the puppy is larger, with stronger jaws, and so can do more damage.
- It is likely that adolescent puppies need to chew to strengthen their jaws and teeth. In a natural habitat, this would coincide with a time when puppies would leave their mother and littermates and go off to explore on their own.
- During this time, they are programmed to travel long distances and to be on the move for most of the day. When we confine our puppies to a house, especially if they are left alone a lot or not exercised well, they may direct this active exploratory behavior toward household possessions and fixtures, with devastating results.
- Dogs bred to use their mouths—for example, Labradors—seem to be more prone to this behavior than others.
- If you are to keep your possessions safe during this time, it is essential that you provide your adolescent puppy with plenty of different things to chew.
- Make sure the chews are large enough to keep him entertained for some time, and give him several at once if you have to leave him alone.
- If you have to leave your puppy again the next day, take these chews away and give him different ones. As an extra precaution, try to leave your puppy with several puzzle feeders. For example, try cutting a few holes in a cardboard box and placing some tasty, smelly treats inside.
- Hide his dinner in stuffed toys, and be as inventive as you can to give him things to keep him occupied while you are out. He may have outgrown his puppy playpen by this stage, so keep him in a place where he is comfortable, but where he can do least damage.
- Pick up all loose household items before leaving your home, so that your puppy cannot chew them.
- Make sure he has learned good chewing habits and is dependable before you give him the freedom of the house when he is left alone.
- When you are at home, keep your puppy entertained with different games and activities every hour. It is also a good idea to include him in jobs around the house—teach him to retrieve toys and ask him to help carry items for you.
- The more time he spends being busy with you, the less likely he is to get into trouble chewing things he should not, and, if he is working hard for your praise and attention, it will help to strengthen the bond between you.
Tips to stop puppy chewing
“Get him into good habits, rather than allowing him to chew household items.”
- Strong chews: Hide chews are made from dried skin and are well accepted by puppies. Soak the ends in water for a short time to soften them.
- Wide variety: Many chew toys reduce the risk to household furnishings. If you allow your puppy to mouth safe items, he is less likely to swallow harmful objects accidentally.
- Chews for puppies: The best chews are firm but strong, yielding to young teeth, yet providing some resistance to strengthen jaws and massage gums. Safe chews do not easily disintegrate to leave sharp or indigestible pieces if swallowed. Do not give your puppy cooked bones, since they can splinter.
- Wide variety: Chews sold in pet stores usually vary between strong rubber toys that can be stuffed with food, rawhide chews, and bones.
- Quiet time: Chews provide an invaluable means of keeping your puppy occupied when you are busy or when you want to teach him to settle down. Keep back some special chews that he really likes for this purpose.
- Teething solutions: Strong toys filled with food can be chilled to provide a cool soother for a teething puppy, or an interesting plaything and chew when you have to leave your puppy alone.
- Kept in: Confinement in the house for long periods can make an adolescent puppy frustrated and destructive as he tries to release energy.
- Chewing challenge: Exciting puzzles, like working out how to retrieve treats from a plastic bottle, use up energy and reduce the desire for exploration.
- New pastures: Adolescent puppies like to leave familiar places and explore. Being able to learn about new areas will make your puppy more contented at home.
- Keeping busy: Boxes with smaller boxes inside them filled with smelly treats and toys will use up some of your puppy’s desire to investigate elsewhere.
- Parting chew: Giving your puppy a different chew each time you leave the house will keep him focused, and help prevent unwanted chewing.
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