Getting a Puppy Not to Chewby Simon Foden
Puppies sometimes explore their environment mouth-first.
Dogs love to chew, in fact it’s essential for their dental health. Puppies, especially those aged around 6 months, may be more prone to chewing because they’re teething. The chewing relieves teething pain. Attempting to teach a puppy not to chew is fruitless. The trick is to discourage inappropriate chewing and encourage appropriate chewing. This way your shoes, purse and furniture are safe from harm and Lucky gets to indulge his instincts.
Walk Lucky at least once a day and schedule in at least two play sessions. Puppies who are bored and have boundless unused energy are more likely to find destructive ways of keeping themselves occupied.
Put all chewable objects out of Lucky’s reach while he is unsupervised. If there is no temptation to chew, he’ll either go to sleep or find another activity to keep him entertained.
Provide Appropriate Chewing Outlets
Put down a variety of chew toys for Lucky to explore. Praise him heartily when he shows an interest in the chew toys and encourage him to play with them. It’s important that you don’t leave the toys around all the time, as Lucky will start to think that it’s chew time all the time and will grow up expecting to have access to a chewing outlet whenever he wants. You must show Lucky that chewing is a treat and that you’re in control of when he can and can’t indulge his urges.
Put down an old shoe or any item that you wouldn’t want Lucky to destroy, but that you don’t mind him slobbering on. Next to it, put down a chew toy. Wait for Lucky to make his decision. If he goes for the shoe, clap your hands to distract him but otherwise ignore him. Don't startle him, though. Puppies can develop anxiety problems if startled at a young age. Repeat this process until he picks the chew toy, then lavish him with fuss. This exercise helps Lucky build positive associations with the chew toys and negative associations with unsuitable chewing objects.
One day a few months ago when Lucky, like all puppies, was testing his boundaries, he picked up the television remote in his mouth. Your response was to chase him, making lots of noise and fuss as you did. Lucky enjoyed the attention, so now he picks things up in his mouth all the time. Fortunately, it’s very easy to teach puppies new habits quickly. If Lucky picks up the remote or an unsuitable object, calmly walk over to him, take the object away from him and guide him into another room for a time-out. Leave him there for two minutes. By showing Lucky that picking up the remote results in temporary banishment, he’ll choose not to perform that particular activity.
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