Chewing Tips

Puppies explore and learn by chewing and digging. They can be compared to a 3 to 4 month old human infant…EVERYTHING goes in the mouth. Another reason a puppy may chew is due to being bored or having too much pent up energy. As a puppy/dog parent, how can you stop your puppy from chewing? The two best ways to fix this issue are adequate exercise and chew toys. Training will also have some benefits. Here are a few helpful tips…

Chew Toys

1. All puppies need something that they are allowed to chew on. Make sure to give your puppy chew toys in its crate, rest area, or room, and always have one or two available around the house. By providing your pup with plenty of toys to chew on, he/she will be less likely to chew up your stuff.

2. Buy an assortment of chew toys. Do not just buy three toys of the same type. Instead, mix it up. For example, buy a soft squeaky toy, a canvas squeaky toy, a rope toy, and a denta-stick or long-lasting chew bone. This way, there is less of a chance that your puppy will get bored. With just one kind of toy, they may decide that something else is more interesting. 

3. Offer a few safe, but interesting, household items. For example, an empty water bottle, a sock tied in a knot, and a tennis ball.

Do not give your puppy stuffed animals unless you want them to think that all stuffies are theirs. If you have children and they are willing to share their stuffed toys, then this is acceptable, but you need to remember that to a puppy/dog, a stuffed animal is a stuffed animal, no matter who it “belongs” to. In addition, if you give a stuffed animal, make sure it is not filled with “beans” and the eyes are sewn on, not plastic. Plastic eyes can be a choking hazard.

Pick up

Items that may be interesting to a puppy should be kept off the floor unless you are watching them.

This includes, but is not limited to:


1. Remember that your puppy should get at least 30 minutes of one-on-one play time with you EVERY day. This will also help keep your puppy focused and not leave him/her with as much pent-up energy. As the puppy ages, the length of playtime should be adjusted to fit the energy level of your individual dog.

2. Puppies are like two-year-old children…you have to redirect them while they are playing.  

3. If your puppy is chewing on something that he/she is not supposed to, take away the item, lightly (verbally) scold your puppy, and then replace the item with something your puppy is allowed to chew on.

4. When your pup starts chewing on the toys that he/she should PRAISE your puppy, and maybe even throw in a treat. Again, positive reinforcement works best with dogs. In time, your dog will learn what is acceptable to chew and what is not.

Other Training

If just verbally scolding and redirecting your puppy does not work, then you can use a spray bottle of water. Unless your puppy/dog is like mine the spray bottle is more of an award. 

 The “water trick” does not work on all puppies. Some puppies love water so they do not believe that being sprayed with water is necessarily bad. If it does work on your puppy, its effectiveness may wear off in time. 

Another option you can use if your puppy is not responding to verbal scolding is a fly swatter. The fly swatter should not be used to hit the dog. It is only to be used to hit the wall or the floor.  

This redirection will give you time to tell your puppy “no.” Then, replace what your puppy thinks is a “chew toy” with a toy or chewy your puppy is actually supposed to be chewing on.

Playing Keep Away

Sometimes, puppies think it is a game to grab something they are not supposed to have and run from you. Usually, small dogs can find somewhere to hide like under a chair or under the bed.

If your puppy runs when you are trying to take away the item, it is a more difficult issue. Not only do you have to correct them, but you have to catch them first. If your puppy runs from you, try to get in front of him/her before they get to their hiding place. Once the puppy sees that he/she cannot get by you, they usually know that they are in trouble. Often, they drop the item he/she is chewing on. 

1. If you catch your puppy before he/she drops the item, take away whatever your puppy is chewing on, say NO.

2. Trade Game – Instead of fighting your puppy for the item that it has, trade up. This means that you are going to get something your puppy is supposed to have and trade one item for another.   

3. Once your puppy is happily playing with/chewing on the traded item. Praise your puppy for chewing on his/her allowed toys.

Cute is Not Always Right

Speaking from experience, cute is not always right. Although it is cute to watch a puppy destroy a newspaper or a stuffed toy, you will regret it later. Your puppy does not know the difference between newspapers, bills, money, etc. Bad habits are hard to break and much easier to prevent. Remember that what they learn as puppies will continue as adults. When your adult dog decides to destroy a bunch of paper or your child’s toy, it is not so amusing. Be firm. Allow your puppy to play with THEIR TOYS ONLY!

If these training measures do not work for you, please contact me. I will be happy to try to help you with additional ideas and information.

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