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Are you having trouble with your puppy chewing up your things? Puppy chewing is one of the biggest complaints from puppy owners; the other is toilet training. However, chewing is a very normal thing for dogs to do. Why do puppies chew things? There are several reasons why they do this. Some of these are as follows –

TEETHING – chewing helps to ease their teething discomfort. Puppies start getting their permanent teeth at around 4 months of age. This process is usually completed at around 7 months. Large molars at the back of their mouth can be particularly painful for them. Chewing can help ease this pain.

EXPLORING – dogs, just like children, learn a lot about their surroundings through touch and taste Puppies enjoy exploring their environment. Taste and texture can give a puppy a lot of information about where they live. However, they don’t really need that much information about your favourite shoes or handbag!

BOREDOM – a puppy with nothing to do can be just like a young child. They are capable of creating their own form of entertainment! Among other things, puppies will often include chewing as a boredom buster.

Right now you may be asking, ‘what can I do about our furry family member’s behavior?’ Here are some suggestions which can help –

Puppy proof your home - while puppies are young, it makes perfect sense to ‘puppy proof’ your home. Remove and pack away anything you don’t wish your puppy to explore with their teeth! This can include such things as throw rugs, plants, shoes and bags, books and other favorite possessions.

Rather than removing furniture, it is possible to buy bitter tasting solutions which can be applied to the legs of furniture, to discourage puppies from chewing these pieces.

Crate train your puppy - in the long run, crate training your dog has many benefits. It is a very successful way of discouraging your dog from destroying your home when you are unable to supervise him. It also gives them a safe haven when they need to get away from unwelcome advances, and helps them to feel more comfortable if they need to be transported at any time in their life.

Puppy pre-school - puppy pre-school is a great way to teach your little friend manners as well as socialization with other dogs. It is also a great way for you to gain a positive relationship with your pup. This means that when you tell your puppy to stop chewing something, he is more likely to obey you. Puppy training can give your pup a chance to be active, which in turn, helps to alleviate boredom.

Exercise – dogs love to be exercised. Taking him for a walk, a run, a play in the park or a swim in the surf is a great way to exercise your dog (and yourself!) And they will love you for it. They will come home quite tired and contented and they will be less likely looking for something ‘to do’.

Give him something to chew - find things that your pup is allowed to chew: puppy chews, safe and sturdy chew toys and the like. Be careful not to give replicas of things that you don’t wish him to chew, such as an old shoe – they can’t tell the difference between and old shoe and your very expensive brand new Nikes!

All puppies chew things to some degree, but don’t be too complacent. Don’t assume your young dog will grow out of this behavior. He needs to be guided into the behavior you want, or the problem will continue. Deal with this problem while junior is still young and you stand a better chance of stopping his destructive habits.

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Katherine Reed

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