A puppy wanting to chew makes you want to scream! Do remember that, like children who search their new world with their hands, so do puppies search with their mouths. While there is a difference between exploratory chewing and problem chewing, the problem chewing is sometimes related to their need for attention, food or tension release. However, most of the time, puppies tend to chew because they are teething. Expect them to do so until they’re about six months old.
The best thing to do is not only puppy proof your house (i.e. remove trash cans and electric cords out of the way) but to provide monitored playtime. If a puppy is left unattended, he could chew on anything from your furniture to your plants.
And, forget about blaming (or hitting or scolding) your puppy for his chewy deeds. Expecting a puppy not to chew is like telling a teething baby to stop crying because you said so. It’s just not going to happen. If you make chew toys available and take away items that should not be chewed, you can get through this phase with minimal damage and most of your hair intact.
There is a need to stop your puppy from chewing on your possessions, but not to stop him from chewing all together. If you haven’t taught him that chewing on certain items are bad, then he could habitually chew on those items later, not knowing what’s okay to chew on and what’s not. Indoors, be sure to pick up anything that the puppy could believe is a toy. Be sure that remote controls, socks and shoes are out of the way. If your puppy does chew on anything, especially furniture, then give him a play toy to chew as a substitute. Then, tell him “good boy,” so that you are constantly reinforcing the habit. There are some products you can buy at pet stores that can be safely applied to furniture that make the taste unappealing.
You may want to avoid giving your dog old socks or shoes to chew on. Later, even as a dog, don’t be surprised if he searches out these items to chew upon while playing or laying indoors. Also, you may think twice about giving your puppy toys that resemble your children’s for these same reasons.
As stated, a certain amount of teething is normal, but puppies may chew because they’re bored. Be sure to give your puppy plenty of physical and mental activities each day. When inside, rotate your puppy or dog’s toys so that he doesn’t become bored with the same old thing. Other experts suggest that buying a play ball and stuffing it with some tasty goodies might keep him busy chewing for hours! Another idea is to soak a clean washcloth in clean water. Then, ring it out and put it in the freezer. Once frozen, your puppy will love to chew on it as it comforts their raw gums.
If your puppy continues to teeth on items that you’re trying to keep him from, then you may consider contacting a vet, especially if it’s after his first six months of age. The vet may look at his gums and/or may even be able to recommend a puppy or dog behaviorist to help explain what’s causing his chewing anxiety. Perhaps there is something else (internal or external) that’s bothering your pup or dog.