Welcoming a puppy into your home is exciting, but it’s not always a peaceful transition for the puppy or your family. Puppies are truly like children and are likely to make a mess of your home until they know the rules and can practice self-control.
Likely, your new pup has been chewing on your shoes, couches, and socks. The good news is this is completely normal behavior. Yes, it’s frustrating, and you may lose a few socks over it. However, as their new puppy parent, it’s important for you to understand why they are chewing and learn techniques to teach them that that’s not acceptable in your home.
Why do puppies chew everything?
Dogs chew because it’s how they explore and learn about their new world. Later, as their adult teeth start coming in, chewing can help them find relief from sore gums. It can also be a way to communicate that they have anxiety or are bored.
If you’ve got a new puppy who seems to be eating its way through your house, here are five ways you can correct this behavior:
1. Puppy proof your home
When your babies grow into toddlers and start walking, you baby-proof your home to keep them and your precious China, safe. Likewise, when you get a puppy, you want to ensure that you’re protecting it from any danger in your home. This may include placing any objects they can chew or choke on in cupboards or up high and using baby gates to limit access to certain areas of your home at first.
2. Supervise your puppy
Likely you’ll be doing a lot of cuddling and playing with your puppy. This close supervision is important in the early weeks to help you get to know your dog’s personality and to catch anything dangerous, like chewing, early. Correcting their behavior is often easier to do when they are young.
We always recommend positive reinforcement strategies. Reward good behavior with kibble treats and verbal praise in a happy voice. Young dogs really enjoy the Go! Solutions Carnivore Chicken, Turkey + Duck Puppy Recipe as their reward because it’s tasty and perfectly made for tiny puppy teeth.
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3. Provide chew toys
An effective training strategy is to redirect the bad behavior towards something good. Buy your pet a couple of different toys that are appropriate for chewing (like KONG toys filled with wet food, lick mats, and kibble dispensers). Make sure they always have one nearby, so if you notice them chewing on your pant leg again, you can tell them “No” and redirect them towards something they can chew and reward them.
4. Exercise and play with them
One of the reasons your pup is excessively chewing is because they’re bored. Ensure they have lots of time for play or walks. These activities will also tire them out, so they get a good nap. They’re also fun ways for you and your family to strengthen your bond and connection to your newest family member.
5. Use deterrents
Aside from removing the items they seem to enjoy chewing, you can spray them with a bitter apple spray. Dogs typically don’t like this bitter flavor. If your dog is obsessively licking or biting their arm or tail, or a surgery site, spray this non-toxic spray to their fur.
We suggest avoiding using angry language or scolding your pup when you catch them chewing on your stuff. Look for ways to redirect to something positive and eliminate any potential items, especially items that can’t be replaced like your Grandma's handmade quilt, from their reach.
Lastly, be patient. Your new puppy is overwhelmed and learning about the world around them. They rely on you to show them the rules of your home. Just follow these tips, and they’ll stop chewing your shoelaces in no time.