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Top Ten Ways to Stop Your Puppy From Destructive Chewing

6. Discipline when appropriate. The puppy needs to be taught early on that he can only chew on those things that have been given to him, but before he is mentally and emotionally mature enough to understand and remember these lessons, you will need to keep everything else out of his reach.

 

7. Correct then divert. When you do find him chewing on an inappropriate object, correct him (taking hold of the scruff of the neck and giving a quick shake) and then divert his attention to the object that you have chosen as appropriate for him to chew. This object can be a nylon bone that is meat-scented, or a heavy-duty rubber toy that cannot be shredded. Nylon bones are superior in that they are durable, safe and non-damaging to the teeth. Squeaky toys, rubber toys and raw-hide bones are also favorites for puppies, but they are not as durable, and the squeaker can be chewed out and swallowed, or the rubber shredded and swallowed, both of which can be choking or intestinal hazards. If he obeys and chews on the appropriate object, praise him.

 

8. Do not give your puppy an old shoe or old socks to chew on. You are unintentionally teaching him that it is acceptable to chew on shoes and socks, and there will come a day when one of your very favorite or very expensive shoes ends up as puppy fodder. Your puppy — and dog, for that matter — cannot be expected to distinguish which shoes are the good ones and which ones are for him.

 

9. Create "real life" scenarios. As your puppy matures, tempt him by scattering a few different objects on the floor, including his nylon bone. The purpose of this is to teach him to ignore the objects that are forbidden to him. While we still advise not leaving objects lying around, it is bound to happen eventually, and training your puppy — as he reaches the mature age to remember and obey his lessons — will ensure his safety (and the safety of your possessions). Let your puppy lie down and pretend that you are busy doing something when all the while you are keeping an eye on him. When you see him begin to take a forbidden object into his mouth, reprimand him with a firm (not loud) "No!" and give him the nylon bone. Repeating this type of exercise will teach him not to chew on other objects except the bone when you are with him. As it becomes clear that he is learning the lesson, you can try leaving the room for a short while (less than 30 seconds). Immediately return so that you can catch him if he takes a forbidden object into his mouth and immediately reprimand him, again giving him his nylon bone to replace the object. Repeating this exercise will teach him to chew only on his nylon bone even when you are not around. Again, the best prevention is to not leave anything to chance. Pick everything up except what your dog is allowed to chew.

 

10. Exercise daily. Age and breed appropriate exercise makes it so your puppy every day so that he does not get bored. It also helps to keep his energy levels balanced and his metabolism at normal levels. Boredom and high energy levels are some of the most common reasons for destructive behavior.

 

Image: Adrian Scottow / via Flickr

 

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