Destructive Chewing by Puppies and
is a normal part of being a dog –
especially of being a puppy.
Puppies, just like infants, explore
their new world by putting things in their
mouths. Also, puppies are teething until they’re
about 6 months old and chewing makes the
puppies gums feel better.
puppies and older dogs, just like children,
need to be taught what is OK to chew on and
what is not.
Puppies cannot be expected to know
what is OK to chew or what their humans do
not want them to chew.
Puppies are not born knowing that
chewing on chew toys is fine, but chewing on
the $100 new shoes is not OK.
Dogs depend on their humans to kindly
teach them what they can chew on and what
is almost inevitable that a new puppy will
chew up something that you value.
Accept that this will happen.
However, with appropriate training,
you can minimize the damage by teaching your
dog what is off limits for chewing and what
he can chew on to his little heart’s
a dog what he can and cannot chew on is best
accomplished by using behavioral
The basic steps for behavioral
modification can be reviewed under the
General Guidelines of the Pet Training
section of this website.
The primary components of behavioral
providing immediate positive reinforcement
providing alternatives to the undesired
helping your dog avoid situations where he
has an opportunity to do what you do not what him to do
giving verbal reprimands only when the dog
is in the process of doing what you do not want him to do
never using physical punishment and never
Denver Dumb Friends league (http://www.ddfl.org/behavior/pupchew.htm)
offers the following specific steps that you
can take to use behavioral modification to
teach your dog what he can and cannot chew
on. The following tips are adapted from
Providing immediate positive reinforcement While
your puppy is chewing on a chew toy that he
can chew on you should praise him.
Providing alternatives to the undesired behavior
Provide your puppy with lots of
You can rotate the toys that your
puppy has in order to spark interest in
providing the various types of toys that can
be stuffed with food.
Also, for puppies that are teething,
try freezing a wet washcloth for him to chew
Helping your dog avoid situations where he has an opportunity to do what
you do not want him to do
your house by; (1) putting the trash
out of reach or inside a container with a
locking lid, (2) keeping socks, clothes,
shoes, eyeglasses, briefcases, children’s
toys and TV remotes off the floor and put
away in a puppy-safe place, (3) not giving
your puppy old socks, old shoes or old
children’s toys that resemble items that
are off-limits, (4) closely supervising your
dog at all times while he is learning, and
(5) confining your puppy to a small, safe
area such as a laundry room while you are
you can make unacceptable chew items
unpleasant to your puppy by coating them
with “Bitter Apple” or covering them
with aluminum foil or hot pepper sauce.
Giving verbal reprimands only when the dog is in the process of doing
what you do not want him to do
If, and only if, you catch your puppy
chewing on something he shouldn’t,
interrupt the behavior with a loud noise,
then offer him an acceptable chew toy
instead and praise him lavishly when he
takes the toy in his mouth.
Never use physical punishment and never punish after-the-fact
If you discover a chewed item even
minutes after he’s chewed it, you’re too
late to administer a correction.
Animals associate punishment with
what they’re doing at the time they’re
being punished. Punishment after-the-fact, as well as all forms of physical
punishment, will not only fail to eliminate
the undesirable behavior, but will produce
other bad behaviors such as aggression or
remember to give your puppy lots of
Be sure that your puppy gets lots of
time around people.
He will not learn appropriate
behavior while alone in the house or yard.
He can only learn the rules of your
house when he is with you.
although destructive chewing by puppies is
nothing more than normal puppy behavior,
adult dogs can exhibit destructive chewing
behaviors for a variety of reasons, which
can occasionally be the cause of chewing
problems in puppies, as well. Examples include separation anxiety, fear-related behaviors
and attention-getting behaviors.
For help with these problems, you can
contact a professional animal behaviorist or
you can contact Denver Dumb Friends League
behavioral experts by phone (1-877-738-0217)
or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
hope that we have given you some information
to chew on.