Let’s face it, puppies and chewing go together like bread and butter. Puppies learn about their surroundings by either sniffing on something or putting it in their mouths and chewing on it. Puppies chew on things, but to avoid destructive chewing, it’s up to their owners to teach them which items are off-limits. Here are ten ways to stop puppy chewing and destruction.
1. Take Time To Puppy-proof Your Home
Instead of always yelling at your pup for getting into things, it’s better to temporarily put away things you don’t want him to damage. Put your plants into protective custody, put away your throw rugs for now, and cover or tape down electrical wires. Put trash bins in the closet, along with the toilet paper and any household cleaners. Put your clothes and shoes away. Secure anything heavy that a puppy could pull down and hurt himself.
2. Give Him Only Two Or Three Toys At A Time
If your puppy has too many toys, he’ll have a hard time learning what belongs to him and what belongs to you. Plus he’ll get bored with his toys after a couple of days. That’s when you put those toys up and give him different ones.
3. Confine Him Safely To One Place
If you’re not able to keep an eye on your puppy, it’s best to confine him to a safe area where he can’t destroy anything or get hurt. Keeping him in one room by using a wire-reinforced puppy gate is recommended. A crate that’s the right size for him also works. Puppies often feel more secure in a small, protected den area like a crate. It also gives you peace of mind because you know destructive chewing isn’t happening in your absence.
4. Lots And Lots Of Exercise Is Essential
Your pup needs one to two hours of active exercise outside every day. Playing fetch with a ball or other toy can help to stop puppy chewing, too, as well as using up all that excess energy all puppies have.
5. A Puppy Playmate Can Help, Too
Playing with another puppy will also use up his energy, as well as teaching him how to interact with other dogs.
Keep the sessions very short. A young puppy can’t concentrate too long, but a 30-second “mini-session” several times a day is a good start. Don’t ignore training opportunities as they arise during the day. You can correct small problem behaviors as they occur to prevent them from becoming big problem behaviors in a few months.
7. Find An Agility Training Course For Him
These classes are a lot of fun, plus your puppy is getting lots of exercise while he’s becoming more coordinated and confident. It’s easy to make it into a win-win situation for both of you.
8. Use A Bitter-Tasting Spray
If your puppy just won’t leave the sofa leg alone, try spraying it with a bitter-tasting substance. These sprays, available at all pet stores, are very effective in convincing your puppy that he doesn’t want to chew on the chair leg after all.
9. Don’t Punish Him After The Fact
You can’t stop puppy chewing by punishing him for something he did several hours ago. Dogs live in the present. Your pup can’t connect the fact that he chewed up your shoe two hours ago with your being upset now that you’ve just found it.
You either have to catch him in the act of chewing, or better yet, prevent the problem in the first place. See numbers one and three above.
10. Remember that it’s up to you to teach your puppy what kind of behavior is and isn’t acceptable, right from Day 1.
You should know that making the investment in a good dog training course will pay dividends now, and through your dog’s life. Avoiding destructive chewing now is only the first step in preventing dog behavior problems throughout your pup’s life.
If you’re trying to stop puppy chewing, visit No More Bad Dogs to discover how a good dog training course will help you solve your puppy behavior problems.