Dogs are smart and playful. When they are left on their own for long periods, they often focus their unspent energy on destructive behaviours, such as puppy chewing. Chewing is normal behaviour for dogs, especially when they are going through their teething period as it helps to make their jaws and teeth strong. Puppies use their mouths to explore things around them. However, chewing becomes a concern when it involves objects that they shouldn’t be chewing on.
If this behaviour is not corrected, it could get them in trouble and lead to serious health risks. Here is a list of tips that will help eliminate unwanted puppy chewing:
1. Puppy-proof your home.
To keep your puppy safe, keep cleaning products, electrical cords, sharp objects, medicines, poisonous houseplants, and other chewing hazards out of reach. Secure rubbish bins so that your puppy will not be attracted to the smells from the garbage.
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2. Offer chew toys.
Chewing is natural to dogs, but owners need to redirect their dogs’ attention to appropriate chew items. Provide chew items that do not resemble household items to minimise the possibility of your puppy targeting similar items.
Make chew toys more desirable. For example, soak a Nylabone dog toy in beef broth or put peanut butter in a KONG chew toy. Put your pup’s favourite carrot in the freezer, especially on a hot day. It will help your pup to occupy his time and also help to cool him down. Just remember not to overfeed him with treats as it could lead to gastrointestinal problems.
3. Increase physical activity.
If your puppy is not getting enough physical activities, he can get bored easily and find something to do to amuse himself. Dogs need to unleash pent-up energies and channel them into something productive. Dedicate more time for play and have more regular training sessions to increase their physical and mental activities.
Alternatively, if your puppy had all his vaccinations, you could hire a dog walker to give him a structured, healthy, and fun outlet for burning excess energy and eliminating negative behaviours.
If your dog is still restless after a really long walk, consider taking him to puppy training classes.
4. Be prudent with punishment.
Timing is crucial. Dogs connect the punishment with what they are doing at the very moment, which means you have to correct the bad behaviour the moment it is happening or immediately after. A delayed punishment after the incident will not prevent your puppy from carrying out undesirable behaviour.
When you see your puppy chewing on an object he is not supposed to, implement the following steps:
- Say ‘no’ whilst your dog is chewing on it.
- Immediately take the object away.
- Replace it with something your dog is allowed to chew.
- Once he starts chewing it, praise him.
Correcting destructive chewing habits entails managing your puppy’s energy and his environment. By providing him with a lot of activities and exciting toys, you are channelling his energy into a more productive direction.