Dealing with chewing problems

PUPPY’S MOUTH: His primary learning tool.

FIRST it was your brand new socks. Then he went for the living room rug.

Sometimes, he might even go for your hand. At first it was cute, but it needs to be controlled. Whether he’s manifesting anxiety or simply teething, you can prevent future problems with early training.

Your puppy’s mouth is his primary learning tool. From socks to pant legs, puppies normally chew on items around the house because they are bored, energetic, teething or simply curious.

Uncontrollable chewing can also signal emotional problems. Like loss of appetite or a change in barking pitch, excessive chewing is a sign of emotional stress. To help alleviate your dog’s stress, you should keep his schedule consistent, spend quality time with him and make sure he gets exercise.

Remove temptations. Until he learns to like chew toys, remove socks, furniture, plants and other favourite items from the area in which your puppy is kept. Don’t forget to tape over electrical outlets and keep cords out of reach!

Because your dog needs gum stimulation, he’ll always chew; the trick is to teach him to chew appropriate items such as a Kong filled with treats. I promise he will be interested, however, the secret is to remove it from the floor when he walks away, after all another dog would have pinched it. You can reload and give it back later or just when you’re leaving home.

Modern thinking is to teach your dog to get used to a crate. Confine your puppy. If your pup doesn’t have free access to the house, he can’t tear it to shreds. Until he knows better, keep him confined to his crate or an area like the kitchen or basement possibly with a child gate. It is important for your dog to see you, or at least hear you.

Redirect his behaviour. You need to focus your puppy’s chewing. You have a wide range of items to offer him, from knotted rawhide to squeaky balls and durable teething toys. However, don’t give him items that resemble those he shouldn’t chew.

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