It’s easy to stop a puppy from chewing on everything once you understand why puppies chew on everything.
Puppy chewing is an important part of the teething process. As adults, dogs often chew for fun, or to relieve boredom. Chewing or tearing things up can also be a displacement behavior, a way for dogs to release pent-up energy or stress.
Your adorable puppy will chew anything it gets its cute mouth on. This is normal, but their frustrating behavior needs to be rerouted.
Puppy chewing can be really aggravating once the cute stage wears off. This post will walk you through why your puppy is chewing things in your house and how to correct the problem. Puppy chewing is easy to fix.
Many puppies wind up being returned or put in a shelter because people don’t take the time to learn how to train their puppy / family member, or, they lack patience.
I’ve been through a lot with my dogs, and in the end, with proper training and love, they become outstanding in every way. Some people simply don’t have the time or want to take the time to train their new puppy. That’s a shame.
Don’t freak out when you hear the word “training.” It doesn’t mean you need to set aside 2 hours a day or drive across town to a puppy class. It’s not like going to the gym where you need to plan anything out. Now let’s get back on topic.
One of the most important things is managing the environment your puppy is in. We’re all familiar with “puppy proofing” our houses. Common sense tells us to put shoes in the closet and your puppy in the crate when we’re not actively supervising them. We often forget that many adult dogs need the same type of management to keep them out of trouble at times.
There are a few reasons puppies chew on things
1. Teething – Puppies go through teething just as babies do.
2. Curiosity – Puppies explore the world through taste and texture
3. Exploring – Puppies want to know what things are made of
4. Boredom – If you don’t give your puppy something to do, they will find something to do, and that involves chewing things up.
5. Separation anxiety – Your dog loves you more than you’ll ever know. You’re their master, their love, you provide them with food, water and shelter and the know it. When you aren’t around as much or don’t pay them much attention, they will get frustrated.
Dogs love being around their owners and family. The more affection you give your dog, the more they will respond and get closer to you. If you work, as most of us do, that means crating them or having someone check in on them every few hours. Dogs are den animals, so being in a crate isn’t a bad thing….just make sure it’s not more than 6-8 hours at a time. It’s also a good idea to remove your dog’s collar when they’re in the crate, as dogs can choke themselves if the collar gets tangled on something.
Just like people, all dogs are different with different personalities. Some puppies chew / teethe more than others. Other puppies will be more destructive than others.
These puppy chewing tips will help in redirecting your puppy’s chewing / teething habits until they get old enough to know better.
Our German Shepherd, Leia, who we’ve had since 10 weeks of age, gnawed on fingers and baseboards, but never shoes. I think she associated the shoes with us and left them alone. We couldn’t turn out backs for a minute without having a baseboard gnawed on, or the wooden window sills in the kitchen when she got a little taller! Re-routing her chewing solved that issue really fast. My cousin had his entire sofa destroyed by his German Shepherd puppy because he was gone long hours at work and didn’t have him crated.
Tips to to stop your puppy from chewing on everything
Chew toys for your puppy are mandatory
It can be helpful to have a stuffed Kong toy in your freezer – so you can quickly produce it when needed. Filling the Kong with peanut butter is great once it freezes. Your puppy will work on the frozen peanut butter-filled kong for awhile, trying to get the frozen peanut butter out. The classic red kong is great for most dogs, while the black kongs are for aggressive chewers and large dog breeds. Kong dog toys are made of hard rubber and are very rugged. Most dogs love them whether you fill them with something or not.
The gorilla chew was a complete home run for us with our german shepherd puppy. She was always gnawing at our fingers, which was cute, but puppy teeth are like razors. Puppy teeth will slice your fingers and clothes no problem. The gorilla chew is something Leia, our german shepherd, still loves today. She’ll grab it with both front paws, find a spot and go to town on it. The wood is incredibly soft and DOES NOT SPLINTER. As your puppy gnaws on the Gorilla chew, small wood particles come off, which are very soft, like wet toilet paper. There are not many and it isn’t messy. I trust this product and have bought her 3. Check the Gorilla wood and reviews on Amazon.
Use bad-tasting repellants and sprays
You can keep puppies and adult dogs away from some items by using impersonal correction, preferably where the “environment” does the correcting. For example, spray items with Bitter Apple spray or Boundary dog repellant, or use a Scat Mat at the edge of a counter top, to stop counter surfers. If something is particularly unpleasant, most likely the puppy will make the decision not to repeat that behavior. We did not have any luck with repellants. Leia went for the wood trim in the house anyway. We even tried spraying apple cider vinegar with no luck. All puppies are different so you need to see what works for you.
The Gorilla chew is what corrected her puppy chewing problem almost instantly.
Give your puppy plenty of exercise
Exercise is vitally important for puppies and older dogs prone to inappropriate chewing or destructive behaviors. A tired puppy will be less likely to get into things.
A tired puppy is a happy puppy, or, should I say, happy owner. Make sure not to walk your puppy too much, as their legs are still developing. This is especially the case in larger dogs such as German Shepherds.
It is not recommended to take your dog running until they are at least 9 months old to a year. Even at that age, mind the distance and how your dog reacts to it. Bring plenty of water when you take your dog for a walk.
Exercise produces endorphins, which have a calming effect. In fact, it is these endorphins that are stimulated by chewing, so if your dog is not getting enough exercise, he may unconsciously be seeking to replace needed endorphins by releasing pent-up energy through chewing.
Go to the butcher
Go to the butcher and get a bunch of soup bones or cattle bones. Our butcher calls them “puppy steaks.” I have the butcher cut them in to 4″ segments. The exterior is the bone, while the interior has all the bone marrow inside. I freeze the bones for 24 hours so they aren’t eating the bone marrow raw. Freezing the bones also makes sure they are safe for your dog to eat. These frozen bones will have your dog busy for hours!
We got lucky with our German Shepherd, Leia, as she didn’t chew that much as a puppy; we also never left her out of our site. A couple other dogs we had chewed through walls and destroyed wooden legs on the kitchen table as puppies. I wasn’t sure if we had a puppy or a beaver.
Video of our German Shepherd, Leia, at 3 months old, working on her frisbee when not working on her Gorilla wood. After a walk she was more calm. As a puppy, she would sleep a couple hours after a 6 block walk.
Your puppy could be chewing on everything because of separation anxiety
Your dog chewing or tearing things up could be a symptom of a more serious problem, such as separation anxiety. If you suspect your puppy has separation anxiety, the first thing you need to do is star spending a little more time with your puppy. We’re all busy, but just don’t go refill your coffee and walk passed your puppy. Spend at least 10 minutes with your puppy and then go about your business. You should visit with your puppy at least once an hour, mainly for their potty breaks.
Another thing you can do to fix separation anxiety in your puppy is to leave the house for short periods of time. Let your puppy see you leave the house and then return 5 minutes later. When you return, talk to them and let them know you came back. You can increase the time you leave the house and before you know it, things will more than likely get better.
Have someone check in on your dog if you can’t be home that much due to a job or other responsibilities
If all else fails, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. We need to have day jobs and not all of us can be home all the time. What you can do is hire a dog walker to make a 30 minute visit daily, or whatever you can afford. Maybe you have a neighbor who can check in on your dog as well.
Stopping your puppy from chewing on everything can be difficult at times but you can do it! Your puppy will grow out of chewing, even though it doesn’t seem like they ever will.
A few training books can be useful but the most important are common sense and love. NEVER hit your dog. You will be amazed how FAST your puppy will learn with positive reinforcement and PRAISE! Trust me.
I’ve had dogs all my life…40 something years. There are idiot people out there who advocate inhumane methods for stopping destructive behaviors, such as putting duct tape around a pet’s mouth or physically hitting a dog. I would love to meet these people if you know what I mean. Needless to say, there is no excuse for such corrections. Not only are they extremely unfair, they’re ineffective.
The use of proper management (for instance, crating a dog when he is not under your direct supervision), along with proper exercise, takes care of 99 percent of destructive behavior problems. More on dog training to come.
What methods have you used that worked for puppy training?
Thanks for reading and I’m sure this will help you out. I firmly believe in those gorilla chews.
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