by Jenny Turner

Puppies chew on whatever they can get their mouths on for a number of reasons; they’re bored, they have lots of energy, they’re teething, or they’re just learning. Dogs use their mouths as a tool to learn and feel things as they don’t have hands to feel like we do.

Most destructive chewing can be prevented or controlled. Here are some guidelines and suggestions.

Puppy proof the area: If possible, remove all items that the puppy could chew on. Tape over electrical outlets and make sure cords are out of reach.

Confine the puppy to either a crate or secure yard while you are away. Don’t give your puppy run of the whole house while you’re at work, that’s just asking for trouble.

Closely supervise the pup when you are there. This is similar to looking after a small child, you should always be aware of what your pup is doing.

Give your puppy chew toys, such as long lasting dental bones, rawhide products and a Kong. These products are designed to last a long time as chew toys. The Kong is very versatile because you can give it to the pup as is, or you can jam it full of treats to keep the puppy interested, and he’ll have fun trying to get the treats out.

Give your puppy plenty of exercise. A tired dog is less likely to need to find something to amuse himself.

Correction: If you catch your puppy in the acting of chewing on an inappropriate item, simply remove the item and immediately give the puppy an acceptable chew toy. If your pup chews the toy, praise him. It is possible to spray inappropriate items with a product designed to deter chewing, such as bitter apple, which gives the puppy a bad taste, but that’s really only teaching the puppy to move onto another item – which again, won’t necessarily be ideal. It’s best to teach him to use his own chew toys.

Teach the pup to ignore non-toy objects. Place tempting objects on the floor along side your pup’s chew toy and if the pup goes to pick up the incorrect article, cover the article with your hand or foot and direct him to his own toy. When he picks up his toy, praise him.

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