How to Stop Your Puppy from Chewing Everything
So you've just expanded your family by 4 paws and everything is new and exciting until... you find them chewing your favourite sneakers, eating holes through your underwear, gnawing on the skirting boards or attacking your clothes that are hanging from the clothes horse. Disaster ensues, the human Dad threatens to send your baby back to where he came from when he finds his Playstation cords have succumbed to puppy teeth and you're already racking up quite the list of furniture you'll need to replace when he grows out of it. But some babies don't grow out of it, so here's our top tips for teaching it out of them as quick as possible and putting a stop to their cheeky behaviour before you lose any more valuables.
Option 1 - the Quick Fix
Until you have the time (and patience) to teach it out of them, you'll need a quick fix solution that actually works. And that solution is none other than Deep Heat. Forget all the fancy sprays you can buy from the pet store that drip down your furniture and leave a half-strength taste that's supposed to deter them.
Deep Heat, when applied thickly, stays on wherever you put it, is safe for your puppy to lick or ingest and tastes disgusting! Some puppies will be deterred instantly by the smell whilst others won't take long to realise that their favourite pastime of chewing on your chair legs suddenly tastes gross.
We have tried and tested this trick with great results - deep heat all along our skirting boards, deep heat on the bottom of a towel that we hung from the clothes horse and deep heat all over an old shoe that we put next to our good shoes on the shoe rack. We watched Bowie as a cheeky baby attempt to continue chewing all the things he loved and gave up in about 20 seconds after realising it was no longer a fun experience. He stopped even bothering to go near the shoe rack and our clothes and home were safe from the wrath of his puppy teeth!
Option 2 - the Better Offer
Sometimes Deep Heat isn't an option if your puppy's choice of chewing subject can't be lathered in a thick cream, so enter the first training exercise.
Puppies love to chew for multiple reasons - be it that they are teething and their gums need relief or that they are just keeping themselves entertained.
To stop the behaviour, say a simple 'no' and make sure you have other things ready to offer your baby quickly as a better alternative to what they are chewing. That might be toys, puzzle games with hidden treats, empty toilet rolls or the cardboard gift box that your most recent PUPSTYLE delivery arrived in. Anything that you're happy for your dog to chew in future can be offered now.
To encourage them to swap their chewing from one thing to another, make sure the new offer is OVER-THE-TOP EXCITING! Use a high pitched 'fun' voice, say all your puppy's favourite words like "want to play?" and be ready to play with your puppy for at least 7 minutes which will make them realise that chewing the floor rug was so boring in comparison to this new game. Do this every time and they'll eventually learn to go for the 'fun' things first when they're looking for something to chew on.
Option 3 - When Chewing turns to Biting
Sometimes when you've spent time training your puppy to choose the better offer than chewing your favourite things, the extra time playing with you leads to them biting and leaving little puppy teeth marks all over your hands and arms. Even though it's all fun and games, this behaviour is one that you want to stop quickly to avoid your puppy doing this to someone else (like a child or another dog who won't tolerate biting like you might). We have two ways that we've used with success to discourage puppies from biting and teach them that it's not okay.
1. Yelp! Yep - puppies learn everything from their fur brothers and sisters, but once they've come to their forever home, it's up to you to act like a dog and speak in their language to help them understand. If your puppy were to bite his siblings too hard, they would yelp loudly and your puppy would know he's gone too far. When the same thing happens to you, make a high-pitched, loud yelp sound to tell your puppy that he's hurt you and move your hand away. It might take a few goes for them to realise it's not a game, but they'll know to either stop or go lighter next time which is on the way to nipping the behaviour in the bud.
2. Hold their tongue down. Whilst we prefer the positive reinforcement methods explained above, if the biting just won't stop and you've exhausted all other options, we'd recommend trying this just a couple of times to teach them that biting or chewing is the wrong thing to do. This should not be your go-to way of managing biting but can be used safely if your cheeky puppy just won't learn from all the other ways. When your puppy's mouth is open whilst biting you, put your thumb on top of their tongue and hold it down to the bottom of their mouth for a few seconds. This is uncomfortable for them and they'll stop immediately to get themselves out of the situation. Do this a couple of times in a row and you won't need to use this method again as they've learnt quickly that biting leads to an unpleasant situation.