Puppy chewing can be very annoying and difficult issues for owners. However chewing and biting are natural dog instincts. They are also self-rewarding behaviours, therefore ignoring them will not make them go away. Chewing especially is a behaviour dogs enjoy, it can alleviate stress, feel good and keep their teeth clean. Ignoring the behaviour in the hope it will go away (extinction) will not work as the dog will just carry on regardless.
Because these behaviours are hard wired and natural instead of eradicating them they should be re directed into something else. Something like chew toys, natural treats, Kong toys, etc. They just need enough things to get their teeth into that is not the family or their things, this is especially true when puppies are teething from around 4 months of age.
Ways to deal with puppy chewing include,
- Diverting the dog onto something else or swapping what he is chewing for something of his.
- Providing chew toys/bones/natural treats, treat filled Kong toys or boredom breakers.
- Taking responsibility for your own things (put them away).
- Making sure the dog gets plenty of exercise, stimulation and is not left on his own too much.
- Crates can also help to keep the dog away from things you do not want him getting into.
- Make sure you supervise the dog (especially to start with) so he knows what he can and cannot chew, also do not chase the dog around if he gets something he should not have as this will just make it a big game.
- With puppies – teach them what they can and cannot chew by placing 3 things on the floor 2 of which are his and 1 is yours, if he picks up his toy praise him a lot but if he picks up the thing that belongs to you just ignore him – in theory he will get the point to play with his things only and interact with you.