Puppies explore their world with sniffs, licks and nibbles, and often chew household objects much to the dismay of owners. Hey!!! Put that shoe down!!!! This behavior is completely normal and there really isn’t a way to stop young dogs from exploring their world or relieving their sore gums during teething periods. What owners can do, aside from sacrificing TV remotes, socks and furniture legs, is provide their pups with plenty of “approved” objects to chew on. This way the “chew-on-everything” habit becomes managed and won’t carry into adulthood. Here are a few tips on how to properly channel this behavior:
- Puppy Proof Everything: Remember that your little dog is learning and doesn’t know right from wrong without your guidance. If you want them out of a certain area, use a gate. Baby gates are great, especially when you can’t supervise indoor play. To prevent chewing on furniture, electrical cords or any other potentiality dangerous object, move items to a safe location or use a pet safe deterrent like a hot pepper or vinegar-based spray. Safe sprays along with verbal commands will help teach them to leave certain items alone.
- Make Training Easy to Understand: Puppies can’t tell the difference between a chewy rabbit toy and your kids favorite bedtime bunny, and it’s hard to tell a dog that is “OK” to chew on an old shoe and then keep him away from your new pair of Nike’s. Ideally, it’s best not to offer up toys that may be confused with those that are off limits so pay attention to what you’re offering up to those little chompers. When dogs grab things that are off limits, its best to say “no” and then replace the object with an approved chew toy.
- Interesting and rewarding toys: Puppies, much like little kids, love getting new toys to play with so keep a variety of rubber and edible chew toys at the ready and in rotation. Rotating is key because puppies can even chew things out of boredom. Provincetown Pet Resortcarries a wide array of premium chew toys from companies like Bionic Pet and Kong along with lots of naturally healthy chew treats. What I like best about the Kong product line is that a number of their durable toys can be loaded up with treats, fulfilling a dog’s instinct to chew while also providing a little reward.
For more advice, stop into the Pet Resort and remember, don’t bite off more than you can chew!