17 Jul How to Stop Puppy Chewing with Training Instead of Punishment
In many ways, a new puppy is no different than a small child. Nobody expects an untrained toddler to sit quietly through a movie or know not to color on walls. So, why do we expect a puppy to know not to chew the leg of the chair or eat the head off of Barbie without instruction? New ‘puppy parents’ can use positive reinforcement to teach appropriate behavior and save discipline for when it is appropriate. Yes, you CAN stop puppy chewing with training instead of punishment.
Why Do Puppies Chew?
Puppy chewing is universal. It starts about the time your puppy is weaned and continues until he is about two years old. Why is this? Your puppy is teething the same way a baby does.
Puppy teeth are sharp and come in according to a predictable schedule. Almost without exception, puppies are born without teeth. Deciduous teeth, or “milk teeth” begin to appear in about three weeks and by eight weeks of age, your puppy will have a full set of 28 baby teeth.
During the first six months after they are born, puppies explore the world around them by putting things in their mouths, just like human babies. Chewing also reduces the discomfort of teething.’
How to Stop Destructive Puppy Chewing
For the first few months of your puppy’s life, the best way to stop puppy chewing problems is to puppy-proof your house. Think about it. You don’t give your toddlers access to knives, plugs, or even Sharpie markers. Nor would you leave them alone, unsupervised. Why would you treat a puppy any differently?
Create a safe, puppy-proof play area for your pet. Use gates to section off an area or a small space such as a laundry room. Be careful to remove any of your belongings that a puppy might chew. You should also take measures to protect the baseboards or corners of cabinets.
Make sure you give your puppy acceptable chew toys. He IS going to chew on something and can probably find things you didn’t consider chewable. Therefore, make it easy for him and give him things he SHOULD chew.
Training vs. Discipline
Here is where hard work and consistency pay off in the long run. Everyone dreams of having a well-behaved companion. Nobody ever gets a dog with the idea of locking it away somewhere like a zoo animal. However, a dog should not be destructive, and it should obey the parameters you set for them.
Initially, you set your dog apart from the things he ‘cannot touch.’ You also gave him appropriate toys that he can identify as ‘his.’ Each day, you should allow your puppy supervised access to other areas of your home or yard. Watch them! Just like you would keep an eye on a small child, be vigilant on where they go and what they touch.
Don’t set them up to fail! If your puppy grabs a shoe in its mouth, remove the shoe and give firmly tell them ‘no.’ Remove the shoe from the area! Don’t put it right back down next to them. Once you move the shoe out of sight, give your puppy an acceptable toy to replace it.
Swatting your puppy does no good. They won’t understand why they are in trouble. All you do is confuse them and create distrust. Consistency and patience are the only way to successfully navigate the puppy chewing stage.
5 Tips to Stop Puppy Chewing
In addition to puppy-proofing, here are three tips for keeping your puppy from chewing on things they shouldn’t.
- Wear them out! Make sure you interact and play with your new friend and take him outside for walks. Just like small children, they play hard and then crash. If you wear him out, he won’t have the energy to chew.
- Give them bone-shaped chew toys.They are more likely to be interested in a long cylindrical chew toy they can hold as opposed to a rubber ball which is better for play.
- Bitter Apple Spray works wonders to stop puppy chewing. It can be used on furniture, electrical cords and even your skin.
Puppy Training Class
As a final recommendation, you should seriously consider enrolling your puppy in a Puppy Training class.
Participating in a puppy training class helps you learn to speak the same language as your dog. Once you know how to communicate, then training in every area, including puppy chewing, becomes easier. Also, the positive reinforcement techniques you learn during puppy obedience training translate to all aspects of raising a puppy.