Getting Your Puppy To Stop Chewing Furniture
Anyone who brings a new puppy home and doesn't expect there to be a little bit of chewing going on has never been around a puppy. Young dogs have young teeth and they simply need to break them in. To do so, they chew – and chew and chew. This doesn't mean it's necessary to write off the kitchen table or 10 pairs of shoes, however. There are things puppy owners can do to discourage them from chewing on what they shouldn't be biting.
While some people might be under the impression that spankings and other harsh forms of punishment are required to break a puppy of the chewing habit, this is simply not so. Anyone with a little patience and a willingness to work with their new dog will find there are much better options out there. It's even possible to teach him to chew on something he's allowed to while avoiding those items he's not.
Ideas for helping a puppy chew where he should include:
- Chew toys. These wonderful little creations are meant to ensure a new puppy has something that's his or hers to chew on at will. Since chewing behavior is about as normal for a puppy as breathing is, this is a great way to embrace it. Encourage the puppy to chew on its toy. Make it a desired play object. When the puppy is chewing on something he or she shouldn't, use firm language to correct it. Don't resort to hitting. Move the puppy, if necessary, away from the disallowed object and onto his dog bed and then give him his toy. Remember when picking out chew toys, however, it's not a good idea to get those that resemble objects they're not allowed to chew on. Encouraging a puppy to chew on an old shoe might just result in a closet full of them getting destroyed down the road, for example.
- Positive reinforcement. Chew toys alone don't always do the trick. Sometimes it's necessary to add some positive and negative reinforcements to the mix. As stated above, reward the puppy for behaving well and scold him for doing something he shouldn't.
- Sprays. There are some scented sprays that can be used to discourage a puppy from chewing on particular objects. They can work well on couches, table legs, chairs, and other items.
Training a puppy takes time and patience. In the case of training a puppy to not chew on things he shouldn't, it also requires a little common sense. When he's rewarded for doing what he should and scolded for doing otherwise, the process will take hold. Just remember that chewing behavior is very normal and very necessary, and just like the puppy stage, it too will pass.
- Cut off access. If training is still under way, make sure you take responsibility for what the puppy can or cannot chew. Close bedroom and closet doors, pick up shoes and so on. When you're not home, consider crating the puppy with a comfortable crate pad to make sure he doesn't have access to things he shouldn't.