Let’s start with addressing the reason behind why puppies chew. The most obvious reason that puppies chewing happens is because they are teething. Chewing while teething reduces some of the pain associated with cutting teeth. This is a natural behavior in puppies, so expect that puppy chewing will not go away. It is when your furniture, clothes, or other valuables are involved that learning how to train a puppy not to chew becomes invaluable.
The more destructive puppy chewing behaviors that are usually due to nervousness, boredom, or loneliness, which are most commonly because of lack of exercise, improper training, or leaving a puppy for long periods of time by itself.
Some simple preventative steps to prevent unwanted puppy chewing:
1. Start your day with your puppy by exercising. A relaxed, tired, less stressed puppy will have less energy to expend and will spend less time looking for an outlet like destructive chewing. Try to continue exercising your puppy with regular outings (even by letting them run around when taking them outside to use the bathroom). Use most of the time with your puppy as activity time, that is time you can use to train and walk them.
2. Put the items away you don’t want to be chewed up. Puppy-proof your house. This means shoes, clothes, books, pillows, or any other chewable type item should not be left lying around the house and out of the puppy’s reach. Don’t tempt your puppy.
3. Remember that puppies have a sense of smell. Don’t leave food on your coffee table, or crumbs for that matter. Even a few morsels of food may be too strong a temptation for a hungry puppy and you may be surprised at how agile a puppy can be. In fact, they may be able to get to your food and gulp it down before you can reach over and try to retrieve it.
4. Set boundaries. Put your puppy in a dog exercise pen or crate. If you have seen your puppy start to nibble on your sofa or coffee table leg, and would rather not put your puppy in a pen or crate, put your puppy in another room that is not accessible to your valuables or furniture.
5. Give your puppy plenty of chewable rubber toys and chewing nylabones. And place them near to each other in the room your puppy is in. Don’t give your puppy an old shoe to chew on. The puppy may associate chewing with the item you give it and you don’t want your puppy chewing on your shoes.
6. When your puppy is practicing destructive chewing, do the following
- Say NO!, in a loud voice.
- Give your puppy rubber bone or a healthy alternative and praise, petting your puppy.
Don’t expect a miracle overnight, however, with time and patience learning how to train a puppy not to chew will become like second nature. It just takes a little bit of practice, the above steps, and a lot of love.