- Provide several of a variety of toys for your puppy.
- Teach your puppy to play with these toys.
- Praise puppy every time you see him chewing or playing with his toys on his own.
- Teach your puppy to get a toy to greet you. Each time your pup runs up to greet you or anyone else, encourage him to find and get a toy. All humans, especially the owners should always be greeted by a dog with toy in mouth.
- Any area that the pup has access to must be kept clear and clean. Put out of puppy's reach anything you don't want him to chew or destroy, such as trash, shoes, hazards, etc. Your dog does not know what is valuable or dangerous and what is not.
- If you find your puppy with your best shoe in mouth, distract him away from it and replace the shoe with one of his toys. Praise him for chewing his toy. Do not reprimand him for chewing your shoe. Reprimand yourself for leaving it out where he could find it.
- Booby traps items and articles to show your puppy that these things are no fun to chew, in fact, they are an annoyance even to touch.
- Do not allow unsupervised access to 'unchewables.'
- Do not chase the puppy in an attempt to take something away.
- Do not reprimand excessively. A verbal warning should be enough. A loud startling noise is even better. It gets the puppy's attention without the puppy associating it with you. As soon as the puppy is distracted, show him what to chew and praise him for chewing it.
Dog and Puppy Chewing
Chewing, ripping, shredding, tearing up and generally destroying stuff is as normal for dogs as tail-wagging. If you have a dog, expect chewing. Provide him with his own toys and teach him to use them or he will destructively chew anything available, such as your furniture, carpet, clothing or shoes.
Dogs do not chew and destroy your house and belongings because they are angry, jealous or spiteful. They do it because they are dogs. They may be lonely, bored, frustrated or anxious, but they are not malicious, vindictive or petty. Active dogs can become restless when left alone for long periods. If you always come home at a certain time and you are late, your dog may become anxious.
Your dog does not punish you for being late by destructive chewing. The dogs' chewing is a form of occupational therapy to relieve stress and release energy. If you come home and find that your dog has destroyed something, do not punish the dog.
Passive Training to Prevent Chewing Problems
Until your dog can be trusted not to destroy your home and yard, do not give him free, unsupervised run of your house. Give him a pleasant area or room of his own where he can enjoy himself and relax when you are not home or are unable to supervise him. Literally litter his room with a wide variety of toys. Since he will have no other choice of things to chew, he will learn to chew and play with his own toys. Make the toys enticing. Soak rawhide and long marrow bones in different flavored soups. Let them dry and give a different flavor to the dog each time you leave him alone. Sterilized marrow bones and Kong toys can be stuffed with liver treats or cheese. The dog will be entertained for hours trying to extricate the treats from the toy. Bury these toys in the dog's digging pit.
Active Training to Prevent Destructive Chewing
When you are home, take time to teach your dog to play with her toys and to seek them out whenever she feels like chewing. Always lavish your dog with praise every time you see her playing with or chewing on one of her toys. Teach your dog to "find" her toys. Scatter several toys in different rooms throughout the house. Tell her to "find it," then immediately lead her from room to room encouraging her to pick up a toy when she sees one. When she does so, reward with praise, affection, play and even a food treat, then continue the game.
Most destructive chewing occurs just before the owner returns home. The dog is anxiously anticipating the owner's return and this energy is released by chewing. You can prevent your dog from indiscriminately chewing whatever is handy and instead chew her own toys. Whenever you return home, insist that your dog greet you with a toy in her mouth. At first you will have to help her by telling her to "find" her toy. Do not give your usual home coming greeting until she has a toy firmly in her mouth. Within a few days, your dog will realize that you never say hello unless she has a toy in her mouth. Now when your dog starts anticipating your return, she will automatically begin looking for a toy with which to gain your greeting and approval when you do return. If a toy is already in her mouth, she will be likely to chew on it, rather than on the furniture, to release tension.
If you catch your dog in the act of chewing a forbidden item, you can sternly scold her with a verbal warning. Immediately direct your dog to one of her own toys and praise her for chewing it. This will teach your dog not to chew forbidden items when you are present, but it probably will not discourage the dog from investigating these items when you are not there. The only way to prevent your dog from chewing these things is to make them inherently unattractive. There are many products in pet stores that are designed to apply to furniture, etc that are safe but repulsive to dogs. Why chew on something that is boring, distasteful or unpleasant when there are plenty of fun, exciting and tasty things to chew on? Common Sense and Chewing.
By far the simplest way to keep your dog from chewing on forbidden items is to prevent access to them. Put your shoes in the closet and shut the door. Place the trash outside. Keep doors closed; keep valuables out of reach. Praise and reward your dog profusely for chewing her own toys.