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Help! My dog chews everything in sight! Yep, My dog Falkor has been a super chewer since his puppy days. But is your puppy chewing on everything? You’re definitely not alone!
Puppies (like babies) undergo a teething process lasting about six months. This is how our pups learn — by exploring this big world. But how do you stop them from annihilating everything in your home with destructive chewing? Try some of my tried and true tips to learn how to stop a puppy from chewing and keep them safe from ingesting something potentially harmful.
- Understanding Why Puppies Chew
- 1. Make Sure Your Dog Has Chew Toys
- 2. Puppy-Proof Your Home
- 3. Supervise Your Dog
- 4. Give Your Dog Attention
- 5. Try A Taste Deterrent
- 6. Do Not Punish Them
- Puppy Psychology – Why Punishment Does Not Work
- New Toys For Heavy Chewers
- My Dog Loves To Chew Shoes
- Tips For Preventing & Redirecting Puppy Chewing
- Have You Considered Professional Dog Training?
Understanding Why Puppies Chew
Puppies chew for many reasons. Though they often chew destructively, most of the time, this behavior is not done out of malicious intent.
- Teething – Teething is one of the most common triggers for puy chewing. It is painful, and chewing helps soothe that discomfort.
- Boredom – Dogs and puppies who get bored will find ways to entertain themselves and get attention. Chewing is an easy fix, and they will point that toothy focus at unsafe objects if they do not have any other entertainment or mental stimulation.
- Separation Anxiety & Stress – Just like human kiddos, puppies get stressed and anxious over routine changes when left home alone. Chewing can become a comfort behavior and coping method for separation anxiety, depression, and stress.
- Habitual Behavior – Puppies can develop a chewing habit if the behavior is not stopped right away. They may find a particular item, like socks, shoes, stuffed toys, or furniture, to their liking and start going after them out of habit. They often find chewing fun and want to keep doing it.
1. Make Sure Your Dog Has Chew Toys
If your dog is chewing on something she shouldn’t, you must immediately replace that item with something she can chew on, like a chew toy. This corrects the behavior instead of punishing her. If you notice she isn’t crazy about the toy you bought, buy her a different one. Dogs have preferences, so make sure she has appropriate chew toys she likes.
One we suggest is the Benebone Bacon Flavored Chew Toy. This is a bacon-flavored wishbone chew toy that has a long lifespan. But be careful. Once you see that the toy is beginning to wear (cracks, breaking apart, deep teeth marks, etc.), you’ll want to replace it.
Our Personal Experience With The Benebone Bacon Flavored Chew Toy
I have purchased the Benebone bacon chew for my Poodle Beagle mix, Falkor, several times. Falkor is about two and a half years old and has been a destructive chewer since before he got his adult teeth. Despite being only 18 pounds, he quickly destroys many bones and toys labeled long-lasting. The Benebone is one of the few that can last him several months. This has been a game changer for us because I can trust this bone is safe. I have had significant concerns over Falkor ripping chinks off other chew toys. With Benebone, he has never come close, and I feel safe letting him have the chew.–Danielle DeGroot, Poodle Beagle mix parent
2. Puppy-Proof Your Home
Puppy-proof your home by blocking your pup from anything she shouldn’t be chewing on and putting away anything she shouldn’t have. Does she love to chew on shoes? Put all your shoes out of sight so she can’t sink her teeth into them. Is she a fan of chewing on the molding? Get a puppy pen or put her in a crate for short periods of time when you can’t keep an eye on her. Offer her chew toys, treats, and interactive toys for mental stimulation and to redirect her from chewing on your shoes.
3. Supervise Your Dog
Watch your dog whenever she’s roaming about. She doesn’t know the house rules yet, so it’s up to you to show her. Let her know when something is off-limits. If she’s a terror, use a leash inside so she’s always close to you.
4. Give Your Dog Attention
Sometimes, dogs chew things up because they want your attention. Make sure you give your dog plenty of attention. If you keep her locked up all the time, even when you are home, she’s not getting the affection she needs to learn acceptable and unacceptable behavior. If you have an anxious dog, provide calming methods like an anti-anxiety or calming dog bed. Talk to your veterinarian about calming treats and the use of CBD to help your puppy with anxiety.
5. Try A Taste Deterrent
If your dog is sneaky (or you’re just bad at keeping an eye on her), try getting a taste deterrent like Bitter Apple. But be careful. Anti-chew sprays and deterrents don’t always work. Dome dogs will still chew on the item. So, supervise your dog when you try something new.
6. Do Not Punish Them
Punishing your dog is not the answer. Punishment is not an effective way to train your dog. It can often provoke other undesired behaviors. Your dog most likely won’t associate the punishment with the “crime.” And, if she is giving you a “guilty” look, it’s not because she feels guilty. Dogs give this look when they feel threatened.
It is an owner’s responsibility to provide a safe home, free of any hazards, including things dogs can chew on and get sick from. Intestinal obstructions can be very serious and require extensive treatment.
Puppy Psychology – Why Punishment Does Not Work
Keep in mind that your dog is like a baby. You wouldn’t punish your baby for spitting up on your shirt, so don’t punish your dog for destructively chewing on a shoe you should’ve put out of their reach.
Puppies go through stages of emotional development. Part of that development is learning what they like and what gets attention. Puppies can chew simply because they enjoy it, or other factors may trigger the behavior. As they age, they will better understand behavior redirection.
Puppies like to test boundaries, especially as they hit the adolescent phase. Chewing can become a behavior they engage in to test those boundaries. Punishment is not the solution because it simply does not work. Behavior redirection and distraction are more effective methods.
Instead of feeling guilty after a punishment, your puppy is actually scared of you because she can tell you are angry and upset but doesn’t understand why. In the early months, puppies can fear imprint, meaning they can have negative experiences that will have permanent impacts on their emotional development.
New Toys For Heavy Chewers
Whether teething or chewing with adult teeth, signing your chewer up for a monthly box subscription might be a good investment to deliver new toys regularly (dogs get bored quickly). They even make boxes for power chewers.
My Dog Loves To Chew Shoes
Are shoes your dog’s favorite chew toy? Here are some specific tips related to those of you with a “shoe chewer” on your hands. If you are prepared to manage your dog’s behavior, you may be able to stop your puppy from chewing right from the start.
Tips For Preventing & Redirecting Puppy Chewing
Redirecting and preventing puppy chewing is vital to stopping this troublesome behavior. Here are a few tips to make it easier:
- Prevention, or management, is key. This means stopping your pup from engaging in or practicing the behavior.
- Keep shoes and household items out of reach.
- Remove the chewing triggers. If a dog is chewing when left alone, keep them in a crate while you are gone.
- Redirect your puppy by teaching her an alternative behavior.
- Pick a phrase like “leave it.” and use it every time to redirect.
- Give your pup a treat and positive verbal praise when they stop or walk away from the chewing target.
Have You Considered Professional Dog Training?
We hope these tips have helped stop dogs from chewing all over the world. While it may be fun to get new shoes and clothes, it’s not fun to spend all your cash on replacing chewed-up shoes and household items. If these tips don’t work, you might seek the help of a professional dog trainer. Both online trainers like Doggy Dan and in-person options are available, so owners and pups are both comfortable. Owners can also use apps right on their phones to help with doggy training.
If your dog is prone to chewing, you might consider getting pet insurance to help cover vet expenses should they swallow something they shouldn’t. Check out our pet insurance 101 guide to learn more and determine whether pet insurance is worth it for your puppy. If your dog likes to chew the trash, investing in a dog-proof trash can is an excellent way to prevent chewing and keep your puppy from eating garbage and getting sick.Tagged With: Chewing, Training