All Puppies need to chew, their new teeth are an irritation and chewing is necessary for them, most dogs enjoy chewing for the rest of their lives.
It is quite essential, to provide your dog with a safe chew of his own – or he will find something that belongs to a human to chew. A puppy, like a baby, puts things in his mouth to find out about them.
When you get a puppy – remember he does not know anything about you, about the way you live or what you want him to do. This is entirely your responsibility and if you cannot take that responsibility then maybe you should reconsider the whole dog owning situation.
Taking responsibility for your own actions is a massive life lesson – and your puppy is going to help you out with this one…..
Chewing is not “naughty”…. we get rather annoyed when its something we value which has been chewed up and ripped apart but we really do have to realise that the dog is doing something deeply rooted in his instinct and not maliciously destroying our possessions – even if we believe we have made it abundantly clear that he must not take our things……..
Look at it from his point of view and see that it makes no real sense to him…. hats, socks, scarves, these are not, for him, what they are for us. We cannot expect a puppy to understand fully our – to him, very weird – sense of the purpose of a scarf. To him, your things are objects which are just THERE and very obviously a play and chew opportunity.
Of course, its necessary to begin to teach “leave” and reward him when he does leave…. but to expect a puppy to understand all manner of human concepts of ownership and sentimental value is unrealistic and to be angry at his lack of comprehension is not at all kind.
It is also necessary to keep things entirely out of reach. If you buy a big puppy who can easily reach table tops etc. then it is your responsibility to make sure that the forbidden fruit is totally out of reach. If the dog has obtained something of yours that you do not want him to have – make a short, sharp noise like “ah ah” , “hey!” or clap your hands, take it away and give a substitute chew or toy, then praise for chewing or playing with that. He will learn quickly. If the toy squeaks he will probably love it.
Accepting responsibility for human error in not putting things away and not teaching clearly is most important for the relationship. If you are constantly angry at a dog for things that he cannot fully comprehend – imagine how that is for him… he does not understand the home
environment, he cannot. He will take months to begin to understand how you live and what the house is.
A dog has a den, not a house full of furniture and ornaments, these are of no importance to him and he will not easily see your point of view.
If you chase a dog about because he has a possession of yours, then it can become a game he will enjoy playing, so don’t teach that one by doing it.
Bitter Apple can be sprayed on furniture to discourage chewing or on feet and legs to discourage licking…. and licking legs and feet can be another solution to boredom, they will make them sore, avoid this by providing alternatives.
Chewing is calming and comforting – a dog who would prefer exercise will frequently acceptchewing something as an alternative – so it is worth considering that if the dog cannot be taken out for some reason, then it is kind to provide an interesting chew for him. A nervous, bored or lonely dog will relieve those emotions by chewing. By chewing whatever is available…. so your choice.
Digging is something else he will decide to do if he is bored, so make sure that he does not have access to your vegetable patch or your very much loved flower bed – also remember that if you are out there digging, he will want to join in…. the smell of the newly-turned soil will attract him, so he may well dig up whatever you have just planted…. again, take responsibility for failing to avoid the situation. Dogs bury things and dig them up, planting flowers is not something they understand.
If the chew is Very Interesting, the enthusiasm for it can be quite impressive, immediate focus and distraction from whatever was on his mind – a useful tool, there may be many occasions when it would be good to have the dog focus on something other than his current focus such as barking at squirrels outside or telling you he wants a walk when it is not possible for you to leave the house at that time.
If you give your dog something old to chew – like a shoe or a towel…. there is no possibility that he will see that the new versions of these are >illegal<
Remember to think of alternative choices for the dog, he is – well, he SHOULD be – an honoured guest in your house, a friend and companion.
If you give him nothing to do except wait for you to take him out, then he may feel more like your prisoner than your friend. So he needs the things to do that a dog enjoys doing. Some dogs will play with toys even in adulthood, most dogs enjoy something good to chew all their lives.
Unfortunately providing something safe to chew is not quite as easy as it sounds. The kind of chews made from animal hide become white and glutinous after being chewed for a while. If swallowed, this can block the gut. A small puppy does not have so much jaw power as a large one so it might be fairly easy to cut off the bits that have turned white and return the chew to the dog – however, a big puppy will easily reach swallowing point quite quickly.
There are many chew ‘bones’ that are made of artificial materials, sometimes attractively flavoured, these are a better choice and are very long lasting.
Real bones which have been treated are available at pet stores and these are good. Again, a big dog is more of a problem because he can bite off sharp pieces. One thing that you can do is to fill the bones with peanut butter or dry food and then he can have a nice time getting that out.
Naturally shed deer antlers are available on the internet, these are said to be extremely good for chewing as safer than bones, very attractive to dogs and actually nutritious.
You can buy Kong toys and do the same, these are more interesting to a dog who plays with toys because they roll in a an erratic manner as well as being chewable – throwable, too, if you have a dog who likes to retrieve.
Buy really tough toys – they cost more but last and do not have inherent dangers.
If he is bored with a toy, the addition of peanut butter, soft cheese or dry food within will re-awaken interest.
I put my dogs toys all together in a bag in the washing machine and wash without detergent, it stops them developing bacteria or being smelly. If you use peanut butter, I think this is necessary sometimes. if you prefer, you can scrub by hand….
Remember that chewing helps to keep teeth clean.
Essentially different from chews but also chewed, toys are something a puppy needs to have and some dogs enjoy all their lives. A young puppy usually loves a soft toy… but he will very likely reach the point where he rips them up.
Charity shops sell soft toys, old cast offs from children. it is necessary to remove eyes and squeakers and any thing swallowable before the dog has it.
If he dismembers it, do not let him swallow the parts, supervision with soft toys is necessary.
Some older dogs just carry them around and never destroy them. I never had a dog like this but I have seen other people’s dogs be gentle with soft toys
Cardboard from packaging is great for a puppy to rip up.
My dog loves plastic flower pots and chases about wildly with them. Once torn, they should be removed in case of a cut mouth.
Hard fizzy drinks bottles with the top and label removed are just great for puppies, they adore playing with them.
Activity balls are available within which you place a bit of something edible, sometimes they roll erratically or make a sound.
Some dogs will play with the commercially available puzzle games.
Some dogs play with bubbles or lights shone on the floor and walls.
You can hang a toy or ball from a wall or tree and let him jump to get it do not encourage him to jump higher than is very easy for him, it could hurt his back. There is a toy called a Flirt Toy which is specially made for this.
Pull toys provide real fun for the dog and exercise, be aware that some dogs become aggressive with this game.
A Raggie is a great pull toy but is also a danger from swallowing the fibres, I give my dog the satisfaction of a brief chew on it but then take it away. The raggie is a treat, he knows where it is and he asks for a play with it. You have to be careful where your hands are, he will not actually mean to bite you but you could get in the way.
Again, it is your responsibility to avoid being bitten, not the dogs fault if he >gets< your hand when playing with a pull toy.
There is no point in listing dog toys here – big pet stores have a good selection and the internet has a massive selection.
Reawaken interest in toys by playing with them yourself and offering him the chance to play with you.
Some types of dog are naturally playful – and some are not. My wolfhounds never have seemed interested in toys after puppyhood but always like to chew. I have never known a wolfhound to retrieve anything they say: ” Why did you throw it away if you want me to get it back for you – if you want it, you get it. ”
Border collies become ball-obsessed rather easily, this can be difficult. Retrievers find thingsthat you do not like and bring them home….Terriers will chase things and are very easy to exercise on wet days by throwing a ball around the house.
Most dogs will play with something, its a voyage of discovery, finding out the personality of your new friend and companion is part of the relationship building process.