Chewing: Puppies and Dogs
Tips for Dealing with Puppy and
Adult Dogs That Chew
Chewing is a very normal behavior for puppies and dogs. They use
their mouths for grasping food, gaining information about the
environment, relieving boredom, and reducing tension.
Chewing appears to be great fun. However,
chewing could become a major problem when valued objects are
WHY DO DOGS CHEW?
When you couple strong jaws with the curiosity and high energy
of an exploring puppy, the result is an incredible chewing
machine! The speed at which puppies can wreak havoc in a house,
and the extent of damage they can do, can really take you by
surprise. There are a variety of reasons why a puppy might chew.
SOME REASONS WHY DOGS AND PUPPIES CHEW
behind a wall, such as a high pitched heater motor or the
scurrying footsteps of a mouse, might trigger investigative
- A delay
in feeding time may send a hungry dog off chewing into
cabinets as he searches for food.
spilled on a piece of furniture can cause a puppy to tear
into it with his teeth in hopes of finding something tasty
good pets because they have a very social nature and plenty of
energy to share in activities with us. In return, we need to
provide enough exercise, mental stimulation, and social
interaction to avoid destructive behavior.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR PUPPY'S WORLD
Puppies usually pass time or break the boredom by using their
mouths, which may result in destructive behavior. Household
destruction occurs because puppies are simply entertaining
unwittingly contribute to a puppy's problem by improper
training. Puppies are unable to determine the difference between
old shoes and new shoes, or between stuffed toys and the corner
of a stuffed couch.
tug-of-war games can set the puppy up to fail. A puppy or dog
entertained by tearing a towel is tempted to attack curtains
fluttering in a breeze.
A SECOND PET?
It is usually not the best course of action to get a second pet
to help correct a chewing problem. In some cases, a second pet
may serve to distract the destructive pet away from chewing. But
it is just as likely that the problems could double, especially
if the second pet is another puppy.
The first step in correcting a chewing problem is to guide your
puppy's chewing toward acceptable chew toys.
- Choose a
variety of good quality, safe products. When your puppy
shows you what he likes, buy several more of the same type.
rubber toys work well since biscuits can be wedged inside
for your puppy to pry out. This gives him a job to do and
helps keep his focus away from your possessions.
way of keeping your puppy focused on putting his mouth on
the toys is to teach him to play fetch.
take proper chewing for granted. Take an active roll in
rewarding desirable chewing with lots of encouragement and
your pet plenty of praise every time he chews on his toys.
Occasionally give a small reward, such as IamsŪ Puppy
Formula Biscuits for Puppies, to strongly reinforce the
Until you can trust your puppy, he must be under constant
supervision or confined to a safe area. During times when he is
with you, he might sneak off by himself to chew. Consider using
a leash to keep him within eyesight. A crate, dog run, or safe
room will keep him out of trouble when he cannot be watched.
As your puppy
is allowed more freedom, he can be taught to avoid forbidden
objects if you make them taste bad. Choose an effective,
commercial, bitter- or hot-tasting spray to safeguard objects.
If he has the habit of chewing specific items, such as clothing,
make sure that all clothing is out of reach except one or two
items that are sprayed with a bad-tasting spray.
move the items to new positions around the house. In four or
five days change the type of item. This teaches the dog to leave
your clothing alone because he associates them with a bad taste.
are successful since they punish your puppy during the act and
do not require your presence. A stack of empty beverage cans set
up to fall over when something moves can be effective in
safeguarding certain objects. Motion-activated alarms are often
effective in teaching a puppy to stay off furniture or out of
Corrections and reprimands are rarely effective by
- Under no
circumstances should your puppy be spanked, slapped, kicked,
or physically punished in any way. There is a risk he will
become hand shy or a fear-biter. Instead, offer a verbal
reprimand followed by encouragement to chew on a proper chew
- To be
most effective, the reprimand must be given during or
immediately after the misbehavior, and every time it occurs.
Reprimands can backfire by either teaching the dog to be
sneaky about chewing, or by teaching him not to chew
anything, even toys, in your presence.
information was provided by Wayne Hunthausen, DVM,
Director of Animal Behavior Consultations in the Kansas City