4 Tips to Deal With Chew-happy Puppies

For most dogs, chewing a toy or a stick or a bone isn’t just a hobby for young pups, it’s a naturally ingrained method of cleaning and strengthening their teeth.

Plus it’s the funnest thing ever, right? I mean, I’d way rather spend an hour chewing a plastic toy then brushing my teeth for 3 minutes. Wouldn’t you?

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, tips for aggressive chew-happy puppies. If you’ve got a young pit bull terrier, a golden retriever or a beagle, then you’ve likely come home to a chewed up shoe or remote control on more than one occasion. There are plenty of breeds of dogs who take chewing seriously, and there are plenty of chew-happy pups who couldn’t care less what their breed is.

Fortunately for pet owners everywhere there are special ways to help you avoid a shredded couch.

1. Try to Determine the Problem

Sure, maybe your pup is going through a stage that he or she will outgrow. But what if it’s not a phase caused by youth? What if there’s another factor at work?

Ask yourself:

  1. Are your dog’s teeth clean? Dogs will try to work off excess material by finding new things to chew.
  2. Is your dog hungry? Often it’s necessary to restrict, um, chubby dogs to calorie-reduced diets. We all know what it’s like being on a diet.
  3. Is your dog lonely? Dogs will find something to chew to deal with separation anxiety. If your buddy is spending too much time alone, look into a day-care shelter or pay a neighbour to take your buddy for walks.

2. Keep a Calm & Consistent Attitude

Just like children, dogs rarely respond how we think they’ll respond. Yelling and losing your temper will only confuse your dog. It could even encourage them to find something else to chew even better. This is particularly true in the puppy stage when the young’n’s are learning about their surroundings through taste and they’re teething.

Punishing your dog after they’ve chewed something does not help the situation. Remember, he’s a dog – he won’t associate the punishment with an act he already committed. People believe dogs act guilty because they know what they’ve done, when in fact they’re acting that way because they’re frightened by their owners’ threatening demeanour. No, if you don’t catch ‘em in the act, then it’s too late.

3. Exercise & Fresh Air Always Helps

Your dog might be tearing up the sheets because he’s bored, but that’s not his fault. Consistent exercise outside will tucker your dog out and give him an appetite for real food. Dogs who don’t get enough exercise based on their breed, their upbringing and their individual characteristics don’t simply decide to chill out on the couch. A dog with energy needs to do something with that energy, even if it means gnawing on your brand new shoes.

4. Toys!

Finally, the simplest solution of all. There are so many different types of dog toys on the market that the hard part is deciding which works best. Nothing works off the stress like biting into a hard rubber object for hours on end. There are plenty of natural bones on the market, plus rawhides, pig ears, dental-specific KONGS and other teeth-friendly items.

Make sure you avoid table scraps like wings or ribs – these can splinter and be dangerous on the way down.

Sounds like a fun way to grow up! Remember that puppies are just like little kids – they’re trying to figure everything out as they go. It’s not their fault their instincts tell them that your particular shade of green couch will be delicious. Be patient, puppy-profs your house and keep your little buddy moving and your chewing days will be over soon!

photo credit: Puppy via photopin (license)

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