Is your puppy like a human baby?
Absolutely so! Just as you would care for a baby at your house, so should you care for your puppy. There are lots of things you should take into consideration, even if you don't think they are important, they really are......
Here are several tips, and methods you can consider doing to help grow a positive relationship between you and your puppy.
'Don't give your puppy an old sock or shoe to chew on.
Puppies can't determine between new and old.'
By giving your puppy objects that resemble items you do not want them to chew on, you will be encouraging this behavior that much more.
Young puppies will chew on whatever they can get their mouths on for mulitiple reasons-
*They are bored and want to play.
Without you there, life for your dog just isn't too entertaining. So they make do with your stuff, and you aren't there to correct them. A dog does not differentiate between a remote control and a chew toy. Both are chew toys to them. What they do know is that you react in an unpleasant manner when it's the remote control and remain calm when they goes for the chew toy. So, naturally, they'll wait until you're gone before tasting the forbidden fruit!
*They have a lot of energy and it needs to go somewhere!
Exercise is very important for all dogs. Certain breeds need more than others depending on the characteristics of that breed. Take time to exercise your dog frequently. Use this as quality time between the two of you. Have family members share in the responsibility. Others have used this as their exercise time as well, and have steady walking routines with their dogs as a personal weight management tool.
*They are teething and are relieving the pressure.
Not unlike their wild dog family, domestic dogs are first nourished from their mothers in the form of milk, and sucking at this stage has two advantages. One, a lack of teeth makes it easier for the pup to create the vacuum needed to get milk from the mother. Two, toothless gums pose less of a threat to delicate nipples, a real plus because infected nipples can lead to infected milk glands (mastitis) and undermine the health of both the mother and the pup.
As the baby puppy teeth grow in and mature, they make the gradual transition from milk to solid food and experience the behavioral changes that go with that. Instead of sucking, they pick things up and carry them around, chew on their mothers' ears and tails, jump on their littermates and grab them by the neck. Mastering these gentler mouthy behaviors later enables adult animals to carry objects (including their own pups), play, and mate without harming the objects of their attention.
*They are just curious and exploring.
Puppies will learn through their mouths. as this is their tool for receiving information about the world around them. They explore by taste and texture. In addition, a puppy may chew around teething time. By nature they are inclined to use their mouths whenever they can. With proper owner guidance, though, many dogs learn to use chewing not only to relieve stress, but also just to enjoy themselves, the same way we humans might sip a relaxing cup of coffee. Certain breeds seem predisposed to chewing (Labrador retrievers, for instance)
When your dog leisurely chews with that faraway look in their eyes, could the activity evoke ancient memories of the wild dog gnawing on a choice morsel with their pack mates? Or could the chewing remind them of the times they chewed the mother's tail after nursing? Better yet, could they be pondering how much fun they had playing fetch with the owner that morning?
*They are experiencing Separation Anxiety.
Each day when you come home, you make a mental record of the destruction...today they chewed the remote control into a gnarled piece of plastic, and there's a bite out of your slippers. And the list just keeps getting longer and longer. Why is your normally happy and obedient dog pulling this Jekyll-and-Hyde routine?
Separation anxiety is another serious cause behind chewing. Highly dependant dogs may feel abandoned when their owners are away, and may chew when alone to relieve anxiety and stress. Chew marks near doors indicate "barrier frustration," in which the dog is trying to break through the barrier to find his way to you. Dogs that chew as a result of separation anxiety often show other signs of this condition. They may follow you from room to room, shadowing you excessively. greet you in an over-exuberant way when you return after being gone, and sometimes vocalize, or will nonstop howl, bark, chew destructively, and may even urinate or defecate when separated from you. Some dogs with separation anxiety panic when they are unable to follow their owners around from room to room. If you suspect separation anxiety to be the cause of your dog's problem, contact your local veterinarian. You may need to institute an independence program to modify the behavior.
Before you leave, try adding your scent into your dog's toys. Rub the bone or toys between your hands and give it to your pup as you are leaving. Be sure and exercise your puppy to help relieve boredom and burn off energy - two factors that lead to destructive chewing. Make your exit of low importance key to help avoid separation anxiety.
Can most destructive chewing behavior can be prevented and/or controlled?
Yes, through patience, proper training, and repeated lessons with you as the teacher.
You can help prevent problem chewing by directing your pup's chewing inclination toward "good" objects, by following these simple guidelines:
Just like a human baby, you will need to "puppy-proof" the area you will be keeping the puppy in. If at all possible, remove all items your puppy could possibly chew on. This can include socks, shoes, furniture, plants, electrical cords, pictures, knick-knacks, collectibles, etc. from anywhere in which you keep your puppy. Use tape or child prevention electrical plug covers over electrical outlets.
Giving your puppy free run of the house while you are away is an invitation for destructive chewing by your puppy. Remember, just like a baby, puppies learn about the world through their mouths, and your house is the classroom.
Keep them in the area you puppy-proof. If they are allowed out of the area, you should be there to supervise them directly.
Always know where your puppy is, and what they are doing....Always!
Give your puppy plenty of chew toys. The focus of your puppies chewing behavior should be directed toward these items you select. There are many items to choose from, including Gumabone and Nylabone-type products. Rawhide bones, especially high quality varieties satisfy more than just chewing urges. There are also many safe, long-lasting chew toys that are made especially for teething puppies that will keep them occupied and content for hours. Examples would be knotted rawhide, compressed rawhide and durable rubber teething products ie: Kong toys, that satisfy your puppy's need for chewing and add gum stimulation. The items shouldn't be similar things you don't want your puppy to chew. Remember, your puppy can't tell the difference between your new shoes and an old pair.
Be throrough, consistent and correct chewing of inappropriate objects.
For this to work, you must cattch your puppy in the act. If you catch your puppy chewing on "bad" items remove the item immediately and give them a "good"chew toy. When the puppy takes the good toy, praise them lavishly for doing so.
Always reinforce desired behavior with praise.
Is there anything else I can do?
You can also teach the puppy to ignore "bad" items. if they are always chewing the wrong things. You will need to set aside some quality time here. Place "bad" objects on the floor along with your puppies "good" toys and then act like you are not watching or paying attention.
At the precise moment they start to mouth one of the "bad"items, in a stern voice, correct the with a firm 'No!' and point out the correct "good" item. Soon enough they will learn they can only have the "good" items when you are present.
After this has been accomplished, you will need to leave the area for short periods of time, a good starting number would be one to two minutes. When you suddenly appear from nowhere, see what they are playing with, and you may catch them red-handed. The is the only time corrective action should be taken. Correct the puppy again, and give them a "good" item, praising when it is accepted. If your puppy continues to chew on "bad" items while you are away, further sessions like this may be needed, or else you will have to crate or confine your puppy when you are away. When successful, you will have removed a major stumbling block in developing a healthy relationship between you and your puppy.
If needed, you can spray or treat the '"bad" items with a chew deterrent like Grannick's Bitter Apple or Chew Stop that will give it a very bad taste. In the case of furniture, you can rub bath soap on the legs of the furniture as a deterrent.
Have a battery of 15-20 toys at the ready. Only give your dog 5 toys at a time, and rotate the others in and out on a daily basis, or every other day. This keeps the interest in the toys, and the dogs sees something new every so often.