Problem: C H E W I N G

Is your puppy chewing on everything in sight?  Unfortunately,  the whole world is a giant chew toy to them especially in the early puppy stage.  They chew to relieve pain from teething, they chew to relieve stress, they chew if they are bored, and they chew just to get attention from you!  You yell at them to stop right?  Attention, whether good or bad, they just got it.

Many people believe their dog purposely seeks out those all so important items to chew.  Rest assured that is not the case.  Dog’s do not do things in spite, even though it often appears that way. Please know that’s just not the case, dogs don’t do things in spite.  As with a child, and with a new puppy you must proof your home of all items that they can either be hurt on or destroy.  Sometimes it helps to lower yourself to their level, just to see what looks enticing.  Don’t forget the electrical cords, the new rugs that have that awesome fringe to chew on, and the coffee table book.

Many new puppy owners make the mistake of giving to much freedom to fast.  They find out the hard way.  Please don’t think that they will know the difference between the beautiful moldings or cabinets, its all a chew toy to them.  So what are we to do?  You can’t have eyes behind your head and follow this new arrival around 24/7 right?

You must give them something to do, and something to chew.  If you can’t watch them they have to go into the crate.  No exceptions.  They are to quick and you would never forgive yourself if your puppy ingested something that made him ill or worse yet caused him physical damage and pain.

You need to show your puppy what is appropriate for him to chew.  Teething pups like items that are cool and hard.  Many pet stores sell teething rings that can be filled with water and then frozen.  You can even take some clean small pieces of a towel, get them wet, twist into shapes and freeze.  The cold helps sooth their swollen gums.

Please be very cautious of the “squeaky” toys.  Use them with complete supervision.  Often the “squeaker” can easily be chewed out and swallowed.  That’s something that is sure to hurt coming out of the other end!  There are many toys on the market now that can be stuffed with treats, cheez wiz, or even peanut butter that will keep your puppy busy for hours.  Kong has several products on the market for all shapes and sizes of puppies.

You must learn to anticipate your puppies chewing mood.  Wondering how to do that?  Just know its all the time, unless you see their eyes closed!  There is a product called Bitter Apple that can be sprayed on items you do not wish the puppy to chew.  (Please consult the manufacturers label for what it is safe to spray it on.)  Puppies often don’t like the taste and therefore stay away.  A homemade form of this is to simply take some fresh rosemary sprigs and  mince them very fine to release the flavor, then mix them with water in a small spray bottle..  You can then spray this safely on most anything with the same results as the Bitter Apple.

You can play the Good Toy –  Bad Toy game with your puppy.  First, have three toys the puppy is allowed to play with and one toy he is not allowed to have (like your shoe!).  Spread them out on the floor.   If the pup goes after the toy he is allowed to have, praise him and play with him with that toy. If he goes to the object he shouldn’t have, ignore him. Always encourage him to the toys he can play with.  If he just keeps going towards the toy he should not have, pick them all up and walk away.  You can try to play again later.

If you really want to make things sink in you can play the game with a little trick up your sleeve.  Put a dab of peanut butter on the good toys and spray the bad toy with the Bitter Apple or Rosemary Water we talked about earlier.  When he gets the taste on your shoe now, he will associate it with the shoe.  The correction came from the shoe, not you.  This makes it more likely to stick when your not looking.  Lets say you forgot to pick up your shoes in the hallway and the puppy sees them.  He instantly remembers that terrible taste and leaves them alone.  This is called taste aversion.  It is just like if we eat something that makes us sick, we remember it.  We often won’t eat that food again, because seeing it makes us think back to how it made us feel.  Same thing for the puppy!

If you need help in training your puppy not to chew things contact Kim Paciotti at 704-877-7821 or by email at  Visit our website at and The Carolinas Premier Dog Club

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