Puppies and Chewing
Young pups of any breed are going to chew. It’s a way of exploring their surroundings and getting to know new objects. And yes, it’s also a matter of enjoying the feeling of chewing in general. Chewing also helps puppies deal with pain and discomfort as adult teeth come in.
You want your puppy to be happy, but you don’t want to have to sacrifice furniture and other valuables in the process. Like just about all areas of puppy training, there’s a right way to go about curbing chewing behavior and a wrong way.
Do Give Them Chewable Objects
The goal is not to teach your puppy not to chew outright, but to teach them what objects are and are not okay. Make sure you provide your puppy with toys and chewable items, but avoid keeping them all out at once. Instead, try to have only a few chew toys out for them to play with at a time, lest they assume everything out on the floor is fair game. If you do see your dog chewing anything off-limits, swiftly remove and replace the item with one of their approved toys..
Do Make Your Valuables Undesirable Chewing Objects
You want to help your puppy differentiate which items are okay to chew and which are not. Both vinegar and citrus oil work as great, safe deterrent sprays that can be applied to furniture and other items. Always look up any essential oils before using them, as they may be toxic to your pup.
Do Use Positive Reinforcement
When you see your little fur friend chewing on an “okay” object, give them a pat on the head or practice positive verbal affirmation. Help your puppy associate the object with a positive environment.
Remember that your puppy is, at the end of the day, a dog. They have feelings, but they are simply not able to understand your reasoning behind everything you do. Scolding your puppy harshly or otherwise punishing them for chewing can therefore not only damage your relationship with them, but it can also prompt further negative behavior. Your puppy may realize that there are only repercussions when they chew in your presence, and so they may think it’s only okay to do when you’re not around.
Don’t Spray Their Mouth
Even if you use sprays on objects you don’t want your pup to chew, never spray them in the mouth or put anything unpleasant in there. Not only can this be dangerous for them, but it can leave them very confused and even depressed.
Don’t Forget to Puppy-Proof!
You can save both yourself and your puppy a lot of grief by making your home safe for them in the first place. Make sure there are no exposed sockets or wires/cables anywhere that they have access to. All objects that can be harmful to their health should be kept well out of reach.
Likewise, it is crucial to monitor your puppy at all times. Remember that they are new to the world, and they do not know what is safe and what is dangerous. Your job is to keep them safe.