Time and time again we hear from new puppy owners that their furry friends can’t control their chewing habits. There are many toys, tricks and training courses you can implement to get your puppy on the right track, right now.
- Exercise: Dogs need to be exercised both physically and mentally on a regular basis to keep them occupied and well behaved. If your dog is bored, they’ll find something to do to amuse themselves and you probably won’t like the choices they make. In general, a tired dog is a content dog.
- Socialization: Give your dog plenty of people-time and engage in activities with other dogs as early as possible. They will not learn how to behave if they aren’t being taught by their humans and puppies learn from other dogs both by example and by correction. Look to your veterinarian or trusted pet care provider for when is ideal to start socializing. Typically, nine to ten weeks or once their second round of vaccinations are complete.
- Distraction: If you catch your dog chewing on something they shouldn’t, interrupt the behavior and instead offer them an acceptable chew toy or something of ‘higher’ value. If crate training is in your plan, give them toys and/or treat filled toys, even puzzles to work on. Tired comes from both physical and mental stimulation.
- Rewards: When your dog listens to you and stops chewing on the undesirable item, reward the behavior and raise them. The ‘drop it’ and ‘leave it’ command are so important to learn early. Both for belongings that aren’t theirs but also for items that could be dangerous to them. Always praise the behavior you want and be judicious with punishments. Dogs rarely do anything to upset you on purpose, they generally only do it out of boredom and if they’re short on attention, bad attention is better than no attention at all.
- Deterrent: Make items they chew frequently unpleasant to your dog through the use of a taste deterrent such as Bitter Apple™. These often come in the forms of sprays that taste bitter to your pet but use caution because some of these may not prevent your dog from chewing.
These training tips and tricks should help lead your puppy in the right direction and conquer chewing once and for all.