Young pups have a natural tendency to chew on objects that will aid in the formation of healthy teeth. First-time dog owners are surprised to find many objects that fall victim to the incessant chewing habit. Puppies do not look for a favorite shoe, or furniture corner, out of malice or spite. Teething pain, frustration, boredom, loneliness or the compulsion to have fun are more likely reasons. Puppy lovers must provide sufficient options for the pup to chew on throughout the day and night. A bored puppy will occupy his time chewing on anything he finds.
Puppy owners are wise to anticipate the chewing habit and take control from the first day.
• Confined area – A new pup should never be given free reign of the entire house. All of the new sights and sounds are overwhelming. The freedom to go wherever and do anything allows the pup to get into trouble. The laundry room is a great place to keep the young pup when everyone is away from home.
• Crate – A right-sized crate provides a place of safety that the dog will prefer as time passes. A soft cloth and favorite toy should be the only items inside the crate. At times, the pup should be closed inside the crate for short periods.
• Toys – All of the pup’s toys should be within reach inside the designated area. Family members must remember that the toys belong to the pup and should not be removed from the room. Tiny objects must be kept out of the pup’s reach to prevent swallowing or choking.
• Bones – Rawhide and natural bones must be age-appropriate and of the correct size. Favorite types should be in plentiful supply to build healthy chewing habits that will follow the pup into adulthood.
Chewing habits must be channeled in the right way to prevent the development of negative habits. Once a pup learns that expensive leather is appealing to chew, the habit of chewing on favorite shoes will be in place. Avoid the argument through proper training.
• Remove temptation – The pup’s designated room should not contain furniture, shoes, children’s toys or carpet. Exposure to the other rooms of the house must be supervised to protect belongings from the pup’s chewing habit.
• Actively train – Puppy training includes learning to chew appropriately, which requires attention and affirmation. Correcting bad behavior should be rare since toys and bones are available. Avoid raising the voice during the training sessions.
• Invest time – Spending time with the pup is the best way to shape him into a great dog. Games of fetch provide a setting to observe the dog and provide exercise that is essential to growing up strong and healthy.
• Praise good behavior – The owner’s opinion is more valuable than anything to the young pup. Responses to commands must receive appropriate levels of praise. Rewards must outweigh correction for the pup.
Playtime is important to the pup at any age. Time with humans builds emotional connections, which will be the basis for all of the training that will occur throughout life. Ideas for each play session are important to keep the owner and the puppy engaged in meaningful games and exercise. Retaining the puppy’s attention creates the foundation for learning simple commands early and complex behaviors later. No one is more important to the puppy than his owner. He looks forward to time together and receiving attention.