Some adult dogs like to chew, and puppies like to chew a lot! If you are experiencing this problem, you need to know how to stop your puppy from chewing, and as quickly as possible!
I have personally lost shoes, books, charging cables, a recliner, a couch, and the corners of furniture and baseboards, over the course of the last 3 decades.
I have to admit, the couch was kind of funny. My wife and I hadn’t been together long and had furniture that, well, we’ll just say wasn’t top-notch. We also had a relatively new cocker spaniel named Bojangles. We came home from an errand one day, and there was couch cushion stuffing everywhere! It was New(er) couch time!
There are a few common things that may cause puppies to chew.
Beginning at about 4 months, they go through the teething stage. This generally lasts until the puppy is about 7 or 8 months old when their teeth finally finish pushing through their gums. During this time, pretty much anything they can chew on that relieves their pain is fair game to them.
Many times puppies will also chew when they are bored or anxious. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, they may engage in destructive behaviors such as chewing when you are gone.
Remedies to stop your dog from chewing
There are a number of ways that can help to stop your puppy from chewing. Use these methods in combination to see the most success. That, with a little patience, should really have an impact on your pup’s behavior!
Containment can lessen the impact
Keeping your puppy in a confined space can help mitigate the damage to a smaller area. This is a great strategy for times you are away from home for short times. It can even be a solution for when you are at work if you have someone to give your pup a break from his crate or pen. A pen or crate are great solutions for this.
Crates will keep your puppy more tightly confined than most pens. Obviously, as stated above, you should limit the time the puppy spends in the crate. Puppies under 6 months shouldn’t stay in the crate for more than about 4 hours at a time.
Pens may allow a little more room to roam for dogs and puppies. This allows the dog to get more exercise during the day. A great benefit of some pens is that they may be expandable allowing room for growth.
You should be aware that crates and pens have different uses. For example, because pens are larger than crates, they may not be the best option for housebreaking your new puppy. Crates, on the other hand, don’t have room for your dog to exercise. And baskets, like the one pictured here, are just cute, but not too effective (sorry – I couldn’t help myself!).
Another possibility is indoor dog gates. These are just like baby gates but made for our 4 legged friends. With some baby gates, your dog may try to climb out. If their leg gets caught in one of the holes, they could injure themselves. With the indoor dog gates, there is little diagonal or horizontal surface making climbing very difficult.
You should weigh the benefits of each before determining what is right for your situation.
Be attentive when your pup roams
When your puppy is not being contained you should know his whereabouts. Don’t let him roam unsupervised without checking on him frequently. It doesn’t take long for them to find trouble!
If you have an upstairs and downstairs, you might consider blocking the upstairs off to make it easier to locate your puppy. It’s probably even a good idea to contain them to the room you are in, or just part of the downstairs.
Even though our dogs are older (between 2 and 14 years), we implement this to keep them out of rooms they shouldn’t be in.
This also makes the house somewhat easier to keep clean. I have one dog that seems to shed her entire coat every day. By keeping her in the “informal” part of the house, we don’t have to sweep our living/dining rooms on a daily basis.
Plus, being attentive gives you more time to bond with your little friend! Our dogs love to watch TV with us the last thing at night as we wind down. As a matter of fact, Max often looks up at the TV to see what’s going on. That’s the only dog we have ever had that does that.
Let them puzzle over puzzle toys
We all get bored from time to time, and that includes our dogs! Throughout time dogs have had things to do and things to think about. When they were wild, it was things like eating and surviving! As they became domesticated, they would work alongside us. Now, they are stay-at-home dogs.
In short, they probably get bored from time to time. If we don’t give them something to entertain themselves, they might just seek entertainment on their own. That’s not always good. A good way to stop your puppy from chewing is by giving him something to think about!
So, puzzle your pet with doggie puzzles! By mentally challenging your dog, puzzles can relieve boredom and help curb destructive behaviors.
Many puzzles are hollow allowing them to be filled with treats. By working to get the treats out your pup will improve dexterity and problem-solving capacity.
Because the treats are released slowly, and you control how many treats are used to fill the puzzle, there’s probably not much chance of your pup gaining weight. Your pup also expends energy (calories!) working for the treats, and this helps to develop a happier and healthier dog!
If you decide to get a puzzle like this for your dog, make sure that there is more than one hole in the puzzle. Dogs have had their tongue trapped in the hole due to suction. Puzzles and toys with one hole avoid that by allowing air to enter. Make sure the puzzle you get for your friend is safe!
Exercise makes a more well behaved pet
Although you couldn’t tell by looking at them now, our dogs were once wild (just have a look at Max and try to imagine that!). They were also used as working animals to heard and hunt among other things. Evolution doesn’t erase that over the course of just a few hundred years.
All of that hunting and working took a lot of energy. Dogs were tired by the end of the day! Tired dogs make much better behaved dogs!
Exercise has so many benefits for your puppy. Among them are:
- Exercise is just plain healthy – we all know that
- Exercise helps to keep dogs at a healthy weight
- Exercise gets your pup out of the house and relieves boredom
- Exercise can help to socialize your pup depending on surroundings
- Exercise can help with your puppy’s (and your) sleep
- Exercise helps with your pet’s longevity
- Exercise helps stop your pup from chewing, and other destructive behaviors
So, to stop your puppy from chewing, make sure to exercise your them every day!
Just a word of caution – just like older people need their doctor’s OK for strenuous exercise, older dogs may need a veterinarian’s authorization before any exercise is undertaken. Be aware of your dog’s capabilities.
Make sure you don’t confuse your puppy!
Sometimes we send mixed signals to our pets. I know I have been guilty of this in the past. To stop your puppy from chewing, be cognizant and consistent with what you tell them with your actions!
If you like your shoes, don’t give your pup an old shoe to chew on. If you want socks without holes you shouldn’t give them socks as chew toys. To your puppy they look and smell the same as your good shoes and socks, so they see no difference. Avoid this confusion!
Note that as your pup gets older and grows out of his chewing stage, a sock wrapped around an empty water bottle can make a fun and inexpensive toy. There are many DIY sites that discuss this.
I do have one note of caution about dogs eating socks (as well as other small items). This kind of behavior is known as pica. When our King Charles was younger, he would eat socks. The whole thing. He would just swallow them whole! We didn’t know this until he threw 2 of them up one day. That was lucky as it could have caused serious issues. From that point on we were very careful with our socks. Thank goodness he is almost 14 now and has outgrown that! Just something to keep in mind.
Trade with your puppy for something more appropriate
Do you remember being a kid, and trading your friend for something much better than what you had? If you were like me, you usually got the short end of the stick with most trades, but maybe you can come out ahead with your puppy.
When your pup is chewing on something they shouldn’t be, make a trade for something more appropriate! If he has a shoe, squeak a squeaky toy to get his attention, and then offer the squeaky toy. Once he lets go of the shoe, just hand him the toy, casually pick up the shoe, and praise him for his actions.
Make sure your puppy has plenty of toys and bones
It wasn’t long ago that Max was a chewer. As careful as we were, we did lose a couple of items to him. But, not nearly as many items as to our earlier pets!
We found out early that Max loves toys. He loves toys so much, we bought him his own basket to keep them in. It’s funny to watch him stick his head in his basket and hunt around to find just the right toy!
Chew toys are a great way to keep your dog from chewing inappropriately. Not all chew toys are created the same, however. Make sure you do some research to find out which ones are safe. There are a number of articles on the Internet, including this one.
Be sure to put things out of reach
There are a number of reasons to prepare for your new puppy’s arrival. Protecting your assets is just one of them!
Looking at your home from your pup’s point of view may help with this. I am not sure if you would actually have to get down to “puppy level”, but you should at least think at that level! If your puppy can’t reach it, they can’t chew it! This sounds pretty obvious, and to some extent it is.
But, what is reachable? On all fours, things may be out of reach. What about when they stands on their 2 back legs? Things could look much different from that perspective!
Is that book on the bookshelf really safe? I know that my wife and I have lost more than one book like this, including some real family treasures. How about that plant on the coffee table. Is that out of reach? Plants, by the way, can pose a whole new set of hazards, so make sure they are beyond your pup’s grasp!
Puppy chewing conclusion – let’s be real
Puppies chew, and there might be a time when they chew something they were not supposed to. That’s their instinct, and they are just acting the way they are wired to act. They didn’t know that it was a $200 pair of boots you just bought and were looking forward to wearing out this coming weekend. Heck, it smelled like leather and you! What could possibly be wrong with using this as a chew toy!
Even if you are upset at the time, do yourself a favor and don’t overcorrect. In the end, most objects can be replaced. Your puppy loves and trusts you more than anything. Just think about when they look lovingly into your eyes! Correct appropriately, and maintain your dog’s trust and affection! You will both feel better about it!
If you liked this post, please share it with others. Also, have you had any successful tactics you have used to get your puppy to stop chewing? I would love to hear about it, so please feel free to leave a comment!