I’m fairly laid back about chewing. Nothing’s a real emergency to me — or at least I don’t let Siena know how important it is to me when she chooses one of my things to chew on. We’ll have more about how to get stuff away from your pup when she steals things, but let’s focus on just one problem at a time (the chewing problem) per post.
Chewing is Normal
Here’s the deal on chewing: puppies do it. A lot. Puppies need to chew. If you accept that going in, you’ll come out of this period with more sanity. Puppies explore their world with their mouth. Puppies also chew because they’re bored and can also chew when they’re stressed and/or scared. It’s going to happen, here’s what you need to know to keep your stuff safe.
Get down on your hands and knees and crawl around. Parents of two-legged kids do this all the time so they are sure their house is child-proofed. If you have a puppy, you’ve got to to the same thing. Go ahead, get down on the floor and take a look around. Put everything up that’s chewable, pullable, tuggable — basically, put anything that’s not nailed down up high.
Have five different toys for your pup. The toys should have different textures and densities. Your pup is going to seek out the toy that fits his needs best. Because puppies are teething, their needs change from day to day. The toy that feels so good on their gums today is going to hurt like the dickens tomorrow. If you see your pup chewing on your wrought iron lawn ornament, make sure you have a hard toy available to him indoors. If you see your pup chewing on the sofa, you need to get a soft, plush toy in your pup’s mouth.
Too Many Toys
Most people have too many toys available to their puppy. Your puppy can play with one (or two) toys at a time. If you have 10 toys laying on your living room floor, that’s too many. I have a stock pile of toys and I’ve divided them into two bins. One set of toys is on the floor and the other is in the washing machine. Too many toys can lead to boredom, but rotating the toys into your pup’s environment helps prevent “toy boredom” and keeps all the toys fresh and clean.
Chuck the “No!”
If you read my post on how and why I don’t use the word “No!” with my dogs, you probably guessed that — even for chewing — I don’t use that word. You’re not giving the pup any good information on what to do.
What To Do With A Chewing Puppy
Be sure your pup has those five chew toys available to him and then…
- Praise your pup when he’s chewing. I know it might seem silly to tell your pup “good pup” when he’s quiet and minding his own business, but it really helps teach your pup to seek out his own stuff to chew.
- Play with your pup when he has one of his chew toys. Make that toy come alive so your pup not only enjoys chewing it, but also likes it when you approach him when he’s got something. This will come in handy later, when we talk about pups who steal your stuff.
- Call your pup to you when he’s looking interested in chewing the carpet or other undesirable object. Praise him when he comes to you and reward him by making one of his approved chew toys come alive!
- Supervise your puppy. You can tether your puppy, put him in his crate, or gate him in the same room with you so you can keep your eyeballs on him all the time. If you’re not supervising your puppy, you can’t be mad at him when he chews a hole in the drywall.
With this information, hopefully your pup will chew less. Drop us a line and let us know what’s worked for you and your chewing puppy!