Puppy chewing is a problem that plagues many pet owners. A lot of people think their puppy is just bad. Some even go so far as to say they have a “devil dog” or that the dog goes out of its way to destroy the house. That’s not usually the case, though.
Have you ever thought about why puppies bite? There are a lot of reasons for it, but none of them have to do with demonic possession. When you understand why puppy chewing happens, it will help you to control your own puppy’s chewing. So, let’s look at some of the top reasons for it.
Aggression or Fear:
One of the big reasons that puppies chew things is because they are aggressive or fearful. That can come from abuse, improper socialization or being taken from their mothers too soon. It can also happen just because of inexperience, though. For a puppy, the world is a huge place. So, if he or she hasn’t seen certain things before, especially big things, they can be easily scared.
Separation anxiety chewing is also one of the worst sorts of puppy chewing. Puppies, again, are new to the world. So, they’re easily spooked. They also get very attached to their owners. So, if you leave your pup alone for too long, they’re likely to get upset or nervous and start chewing various objects in the house.
Another reason that puppies chew things is just to figure out what those things are and learn about them. After all, puppies don’t have hands like we do. So, they tend to feel their surroundings with their mouths.
The fourth popular reason why puppies chew things is that they’re teething. Like babies, puppies cut new teeth. The teething process is very uncomfortable. So, puppies will chew to relieve the discomfort.
Treating Puppy Chewing:
There are a lot of strategies for treating puppy chewing. Some of them are more general in nature. For example, no matter why your puppy is chewing, one way to reduce the issue is to put something that the puppy doesn’t like the taste of, such as pepper, on the objects he’s been chewing. If you try that, however, make sure you use a substance that won’t damage your property and that won’t harm your puppy, if they do choose to chew anyway.
Another thing you can do, in general, to prevent puppy chewing is to simply make the rules clear to your puppy. That means associating verbal commands with stopping the chewing, such as “no chewing” or “stop chewing” or anything else you pick, as long as you’re consistent.
Another thing it means is distinguishing between non-chew items and puppy toys. For instance, it’s never a good idea to give your puppy old shoes or socks to chew on. Many people think they can recycle their old shoes and socks as dog toys. There are two big problems with that, though.
Problem one is that it’s not healthy. Your old shoes and socks are likely to be covered in dirt and other materials that your puppy shouldn’t be eating. Also, shoes can be chewed into small pieces that can be swallowed or cause a choking hazard.
Problem two is that it’s not clear. In other words, your puppy won’t be able to tell the difference between shoes meant as toys and your good shoes that you plan to wear to an important dinner or other occasion. So, the pup can’t be blamed for chewing your favorite shoes to pieces, if you’ve taught it that shoes are alright to chew.
Another solution to the chewing problem is the watch and replace technique. That means watching your puppy and giving them a correction word, like “No!”, when they chew the wrong thing. Then, you need to quickly replace the wrong thing with your puppy’s chew toy and, when the puppy chews it, give them lots of praise.
You can adapt that exercise by putting several “bad” objects on the floor and one or more “good” objects on the floor. Then, watch your puppy’s chewing behavior. Correct when they choose the bad objects to chew and praise when they chew the good objects. The puppy will find the game fun and interesting, but they’ll also learn something along the way.
Others solutions are designed to treat specific chewing problems. For example, if your puppy is fearful or aggressive, it might be a good idea to get down on their level. Look at their territory (your house and yard) from the puppy’s point of view. Then, try to either teach them that the scary objects won’t hurt them or put the scary objects someplace where the puppy can’t see them. Generally, it’s the biggest and noisiest objects that scare puppies the most, but it also depends on the individual puppy a bit.
Another specific puppy chewing fix is for teething puppies. Teething puppies often find certain temperatures or consistencies make them feel better. So, it’s important to give them toys that are specifically meant for teething. You may need to experiment a bit to see what material your puppy wants and what temperature. If you have doubts about it, talk to your puppy’s veterinarian.
Finally, remember that you can’t supervise your puppy twenty-four hours a day. So, it’s important to puppy proof any section of your house that you plan to leave the puppy unsupervised in. You can do that by putting the objects out of reach of the puppy. However, you can also put the puppy out of reach of the objects by crate training the puppy. Just remember, puppies shouldn’t stay in crates more than a few hours.
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