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My Puppy Keeps Chewing What Do I Do?

Jeanneane Kutsukos

First, always keep in mind that it is natural for a puppy to chew. The puppy is not doing this to annoy you, but because it is a normal function of a puppy, just as it is in a human baby.

Keep this in mind, and be sure not to ever hit or strongly punish the puppy for doing what is natural to it. Everything goes into the mouth, and everything is chewed.

Chew Toys!

What we need to do is to teach the puppy what is correct to chew on, and what is not. Be sure to supply your puppy with a variety of toys that are permissible for it to chew. Nylabones are excellent, but stay away from the ones with the sharp points on them. Watch carefully! When the knobs on the end are gone, you have to throw it away. There is also a Nylaring that costs a little more but lasts a lot longer.

Another good item is the Kong, which is made of hard rubber and lasts a long time. Please keep in mind that cheap toys are not worth the money, the puppy can destroy them too easily and can choke on the pieces that it chews. Chew ropes are also good, but again, watch to see if it starts coming apart. Take it away immediately at that point. Squeaky toys are also handy, but again, you must be careful to throw it away when it starts to get a hole. The squeaker can choke the puppy.

Teach Your Puppy What it CAN Chew!

Always have one of his chew toys handy. Each time the puppy chews on something other than one of the toys, firmly tell the puppy "no" and give the puppy one of his own chew toys. When the puppy starts chewing on the proper item, say "Good Puppy" (Good boy or good girl is fine also.) This teaches it what is acceptable to chew on and what is not.

The “Ouch” Method

Anytime the puppy is biting, and especially during a play session, say "ouch" and immediately stop playing. This lets the puppy know that the biting is unacceptable. This method is called "ouching" and everyone in the family should do it.

The Puppy-Proof Method

Use your intelligence to help keep the puppy away from unwanted chewing. If the pup chews on shoes, keep them in your closet with the door closed. Keep books and other chewables out of the pup’s reach. Go through your home (on your hands and knees if necessary) and look to see what is tempting for your puppy to chew on. Eliminate any unsafe or inappropriate items.

The Bitter Apple Method

Another handy aide to help prevent chewing -- is a product called Bitter Apple. It can be purchased at pet stores and through pet catalogs. Be sure to test spot it prior to spraying on a good piece of furniture. It must be reapplied daily, as it wears off in approximately 24 hours. There is also available a Bitter Apple for furniture that lasts longer.

Puppy’s Toy Box

You can have a toy box for your puppy and have all the toys kept in it. Then they are handy and you also know where to get one when you need one. The pup will eventually learn where they are and get a toy out by itself. Every once in a while, put a little treat (milk bones are great!) in the toy box to get the pup used to looking in it.

Be sure to use lots of praise anytime the pup is doing something right, whether it is chewing on the right toy, eliminating outside, sitting when told, etc.

Written and Contributed by Jeanneane Kutsukos

Pro Dog Training, 561-575-1244
Pro Dog Training, Inc.,
Springfield, VA,
copyright 9/1/97