There’s nothing as exciting as taking a puppy home from a shelter or pet shop for the first time. For most pet keepers, they’re a welcome addition to their family. And, speaking honestly, they’re very rambunctious ones, too.
It’s common to find these furry friends chewing on precious items such as flowers, couches, pillows, or other household valuables. Biting and chewing are natural behaviours for dogs, of course. But even avid dog lovers have to admit they’re quite annoying.
If you want to teach them to avoid chewing stuff, behaviour specialists say you should first understand what causes them to chew. For instance, most puppies like to chew on anything they can get during teething. It helps them strengthen their gums and develop strong teeth.
You can get them to chew on other things aside from your valuables through some nifty strategies. Here are some tips on how to stop destructive chewing in puppies:
When your puppy starts chewing, one of the best ways to control the behaviour is through training. Working with a professional trainer can make this much easier for you. They use research-based correction and an understanding of how dog breeds work to train your puppy to chew selectively.
You can expect resistance from your puppy at first. But over time, it will follow along with the trainer’s strategy. You can then use what they did to continue reinforcing and discouraging specific chewing habits.
- Take Responsibility For Your Belongings
You also have a role to play in encouraging destructive chewing. For instance, if you leave items lying around, it’s always likely that your puppy would come across them and play with them. Things like remote controls, tennis balls, beef hide, cubes, and socks shouldn’t be left if you have puppies around.
This should be a self-rule even when you own a relatively house-friendly apartment dog. Get shelves and racks that can’t be budged or tipped over so you can place the stuff your puppy tries to chew away from their reach.
One of the reasons why your puppy might chew indiscriminately is that it gets bored. It will chew for fun, stimulation, or even stress relief.
To contain their behaviour, buying your puppy toys goes a long way. First, ensure the toys are safe so they can’t hurt your puppy. They shouldn’t have components that can be ingested. Second, they must be age appropriate. It’s easy for a puppy to pull apart a small squeaking toy. So, there’s a risk of them swallowing the speaker.
Try rotating the toy set to keep your puppy from getting bored. Chew bones are also a popular choice. Nylon ones are excellent since they’re durable and non-damaging to puppy teeth.
- Give Your Puppy Plenty Of Exercise
Exercise is another useful way to keep your dog distracted from constant chewing. This is a healthy way to work off some of their energy. Plus, it maintains their fitness and provides much-needed stimulation.
Some great exercises for puppies include:
- Playing catch
- Long walks
- Laser chasing
Make sure to find the right time and place to do these sorts of activities. After all, you’d want your puppy to stay out of dirt, parasites, excess heat or cold, and unfriendly creatures like other dogs. When you’re done, make sure it gets plenty of water and treats to reward its cooperation. Then, give it plenty of time to rest.
You can spray aversives on items you don’t want your puppy to chew on. If you notice your puppy hates certain smells or tastes, you can use them to steer clear of certain objects. Bitter apple, pepper, or vinegar sprays usually work.
Before using a spray aversive on your puppy, first check if it’s animal-friendly. Next, test it out. You can do this by spraying a piece of cotton and gently placing it near the puppy’s mouth. If the puppy drools, spits, shakes its head, or cringes away, it works. Also, it’s safe to use if it doesn’t end up sneezing or itching.
You’ll only confuse your puppy if you address their behaviour long after they chewed on something. So, the best time to correct them is when you catch them in the act. Use a keyword and draw them away from the object they’re chewing. This teaches them that you find what they did displeasing, discouraging them from continuing. Following the first point, you can employ strategies to gently correct your puppy.
You can’t really stop a puppy from chewing something. So, why not direct it to something harmless? Before long, your furry friend will learn to gnaw on the right things and save you a lot of trouble. Remember to praise it and give treats if they behave correctly. Above all, make it a fun time for the both of you.