Puppy Chewing Problems

Chewing is a natural part of a puppy’s behavior.  Dogs use their sense of taste to explore their world much like a small child.  Most everything that a puppy encounters may eventually end up in their mouths.  Chewing is also a way that puppies release some pent up energy or frustration.  This is most likely the reason for destructive chewing.  Puppies will also chew when they are losing their puppy teeth and are cutting their adult teeth.  During this time, you will see long periods of gnawing in one spot of their mouth, usually to one side or the other.

Although chewing is natural, it is definitely not a desirable behavior.  Almost every puppy owner will have to deal with their puppy destroying something they value at one point or another.  There are several things you can do to help prevent and minimize the damage your puppy’s chewing can cause.

Out of reach, out of mind, out of site 

First, try to keep valuable objects out of your puppy’s reach; especially things like jewelry or items that could be ingested and cause trauma to your puppy.  For items that cannot be moved such as cords or furniture, there is a taste deterrent that can be sprayed on those items.  See the taste deterrent section for product and usage information for Bitter Apple.bitter apple  Obviously, keeping as many things away from your puppy as possible is a big help in avoiding destruction.  

It is 9 o’clock, do you know where your puppy is?
          Watch him or put him up

Keeping an eye on your puppy is another obvious, but necessary step in preventing destructive chewing.  When you can’t be home with your puppy or are busy doing something where you can’t keep an eye on him, he needs to be in his crate or in an enclosed area where he can’t do any damage.   You will, of course, not want to leave him in his crate all the time to avoid chewing or two things will happen; your puppy will become stressed from being closed in too much and he will never learn how to behave the right way.  Give your puppy opportunities to roam the house under your close supervision and work on teaching him what is and isn’t appropriate to chew.  

Give him a good chewing alternative

Providing different kinds of puppy safe chew toys will also help prevent destructive chewing.  Have several around the house and when you see your puppy beginning to chew on something he shouldn’t, tell him “no” and give him an appropriate chew toy.  Soon he will learn what he can chew on and will readily choose it over your personal items.  

Chewing is playful to them… not us, so YELP!

If your puppy is chewing on you or someone you love, there are ways to stop and prevent that problem too.  First, puppies chew on each other when they are young and interacting with their litter.  It is one form of play for them which is why, when you play with your puppy, he begins to mouth and chew on your fingers or toes.  If he was chewing on a littermate and he hurt them, the littermate would yelp and immediately stop the play.  That is what we must do as well.  If your puppy begins to mouth or bite you, yelp like a puppy and stand up and walk away without saying anything else.  After a minute or two, try to play with him again.  After several repetitions, your puppy will start to understand how hard is too hard and will ease up on his mouthing.  You can also use the previously mentioned taste deterrent on your hands but remember to wash them before you eat or you will have an unpleasant dining experience.  

Good luck…your table legs are counting on you!

Planning and staying one step ahead of your puppy is the most effective way to prevent destructive chewing.  Giving him objects he can chew will save your valuables and give your puppy a safe outlet to act out one of his most natural behaviors. 

-Question: My dog will now stop chewing our plants?

We already made some significant progress with our puppy. Meanwhile there one specific behaviour of our dog for which I need a proper method of correction. She is biting and chewing the flowers, buds, leafs, sprouts of the existing plants in our garden. She got sick for a couple of times and threw up. My wife is getting very frusturated when she sees the mass in the garden. Besides, in Autumn, our garden will grow poisonous mushrooms and I do not know how to stop our dog from eating them.
Thanks for your support.


It is a very frustrating and scary situation when your dog is getting sick from eating plants.  It is also a difficult situation to remedy.  First I would look into purchasing a taste deterrent that is safe to put on your plants.  One that I’ve found online, though never tried, is called Four Paws Keep Off dog and cat repellent.  It needs to be applied daily but may work to keep your puppy from chewing the plants.  I have a feeling that this behavior is due to curiosity and potentially a little boredom (if she’s left outside for any length of time) so, hopefully, she will outgrow it, especially if she gets out of the habit.
Also, being strict about watching her is required.  I would be outside with her whenever she is out to make sure you can correct the behavior when it happens.  If you leave her alone, and she eats the plants and you find it after the fact, you can’t discipline and she will have just been rewarded for chewing the plants.  You must catch her in the act and make it an unpleasant experience.  The best way to do that is to use a penny can.  Read the Jumping section under Problem Behaviors to see how to use and make a penny can.
The idea of poisonous mushrooms in your yard scares me the most.  Mushrooms are very dangerous things for a dog to get a hold of and can kill a dog.  My dogs don’t usually eat plants but I am still meticulous about removing any mushroom I see as soon as I see it.  I highly recommend that you be vigilant about watching for mushrooms and remove any and all at the first sign of them. 
I hope these suggestions help.. let me know.

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