How to stop a puppy from chewing? It’s actually pretty easy once you understand why they chew on everything. Puppy chewing is an important part of the teething process. As adults, dogs often chew for fun, or to relieve boredom. Chewing or tearing things up (like paper) can also be a displacement behavior, a way to release pent-up energy or stress.
Your adorable puppy will chew anything it gets its cute mouth on. This is normal and the behavior needs to be rerouted. Sure, it can be really aggravating once the cute stage wears off. Stick with it. It’s easy to fix. Many puppies wind up being returned or put in a shelter because stupid people don’t take the time to learn how to train their puppy / family member or they lack patience. I’ve been through a lot with my dogs and in the end, with proper training and love, they become outstanding. Some people simply don’t have the time or want to take the time to train. That’s a shame. Don’t freak out when you hear the word “training.” It doesn’t mean you need to set aside 2 hours a day. It’s not like going to the gym where you need to plan anything out. Now let’s get back on topic.
One of the most important things is managing the environment. We’re all familiar with “puppy proofing” our houses. Common sense tells us to put shoes in the closet and pups in the crate when we’re not actively supervising them. We often forget that many adult dogs need the same type of management to keep them out of trouble.
One of the biggest reasons dogs chew things is separation anxiety. Your dog(s) love you more than you’ll ever know. You’re their master, their love, you feed them and give them the attention they crave. Dogs love being around their owners and the more you give them affection, the more they will respond. If you work, as most of us do, that means crating them or having someone check in on them. Dogs are den animals, so being in a crate isn’t a bad thing….just make sure it’s not more than 6-8 hours at a time.
Just like people, all dogs are different with different personalities. Some will chew / teethe more than others. Some dogs will be more destructive than others. These tips will help in redirecting your dog’s chewing / teething habits until they get old enough to know better. Our German Shepherd, Leia, who we’ve had since 10 weeks of age, gnawed on fingers and baseboards…not shoes. I think she associated the shoes with us and left them alone. We couldn’t turn out backs for a minute without having a baseboard gnawed on…..or the wooden window sills in the kitchen when she got a little taller! Re-routing her chewing solved that issue really fast.
Give your puppy a chew toy instead. If your dog attempts to chew on an inappropriate item while in your presence, simply interrupt the behavior and re-direct them to an appropriate chew toy.
It can be helpful to have a stuffed Kong toy in your freezer – so you can quickly produce it when needed. Filling the Kong with peanut butter is great once it freezes. They’ll work on it for awhile, trying to get the frozen peanut butter out. The classic red kong is great for most dogs, while the black kongs are for aggressive chewers and large dog breeds. Kong dog toys are made of hard rubber and are very rugged. Most dogs love them whether you fill them with something or not.
The gorilla chew was a complete home run for us with our german shepherd puppy. She was always gnawing at our fingers, which was cute, but….puppy teeth are like razors. They’ll slice your fingers and clothes no problem. The gorilla chew is something Leia, our german shepherd, still loves today. She’ll grab it with both front paws, find a spot and go to town on it. The wood is incredibly soft and DOES NOT SPLINTER. As they work on it, small wood particles come off, which are very soft, like wet toilet paper. There are not many and it isn’t messy. I trust this product and have bought her 3. Check the Gorilla wood and reviews on Amazon.
Use bad-tasting repellants and sprays. You can keep puppies and adult dogs away from some items by using impersonal correction, preferably where the “environment” does the correcting. For example, spray items with Bitter Apple spray or Boundary dog repellant, or use a Scat Mat at the edge of a counter top, to stop counter surfers. If something is particularly unpleasant, most likely the child or the dog will make the decision not to repeat that behavior. We did not have any luck with repellants. Leia went for the wood trim anyway. We even tried spraying apple cider vinegar with no luck. The Gorilla chew is what corrected her almost instantly.
Give your plenty of exercise. Exercise is vitally important for dogs prone to inappropriate chewing or other destructive behaviors. A tired pup will be less likely to get into things. A tired puppy is a happy puppy, or, should I say, owner. Make sure not to walk them too much, as their legs are still developing. I would stay away from running them until they’re at least 9 months old to a year. Even at that age, mind the distance and how your dog reacts to it. Bring plenty of water for them as well while on the walk. Exercise also produces endorphins, which have a calming effect. In fact, it is these endorphins that are stimulated by chewing, so if your dog is not getting enough exercise, he may unconsciously be seeking to replace needed endorphins by releasing pent-up energy through chewing.
We got lucky with Leia, but we also never left her out of our site. My cousin, who also has a german shepherd, had to replace his couch…or what was left of it.
Video of Leia at a few months old, working on her frisbee when not working on her Gorilla wood. This is after a walk so she is more calm. It usually took her about 30 minutes to crash out after a walk of 6 to 8 blocks.
Make sure it’s not separation anxiety. Occasionally chewing or tearing things up is a symptom of a more serious problem, such as separation anxiety. If you suspect separation anxiety, the first thing you need to do is schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. We need to have day jobs and not all of us can be home all the time. Unfortunately this is something we can’t help. What you can do is hire a dog walker to make a 30 minute visit daily, or whatever you can afford. Maybe you have a neighbor who can check in on your dog as well.
Be gentle! A few training books can be useful but the most important are common sense and love. NEVER hit your dog. You will be amazed how FAST they learn with positive reinforcement and PRAISE! Trust me. I’ve had dogs all my life…40 something years. There are idiots out there that advocate inhumane methods for stopping destructive behaviors, such as putting duct tape around a pet’s mouth or physically hitting a dog. I would love to meet these people if you know what I mean. Needless to say, there is no excuse for such corrections. Not only are they extremely unfair, they’re ineffective. The use of proper management (for instance, crating a dog when he is not under your direct supervision), along with proper exercise, takes care of 99 percent of destructive behavior problems. More on dog training to come.
What methods have you used that worked for puppy training?
Thanks for reading and I’m sure this will help you out. I firmly believe in those gorilla chews.
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