Chewing & Biting:
For puppies the entire world is a chew toy. Puppies, like babies, explore the world with their mouths. Unfortunately, their explorations are not limited to their own toys. Your shoes, furniture, children's toys, and anything else lying around your house are fair game for a teething puppy. By providing them with toys that indulge their teething instincts, you’re more likely to spare your shoes and socks from destruction with providing proper toys.
*Young animals love to chew when they are teething. Keep electrical wires out of reach, or use a natural pet- repellent spray.
Why Do Puppies Chew?
Most of the time, chewing is normal behavior for puppies and dogs, and it serves many purposes, such as strengthening their jaws and relieving anxiety.
Like babies, puppies experience discomfort while teething, and gnawing or chewing on things provides some relief. Boredom is another reason that puppies chew. Dogs are social animals and need stimulation for their mental health. If you're not exercising your pup enough or giving it sufficient one-on-one time, it may seek attention by chewing inappropriate objects. This probably isn't news to most people, especially those with a new puppy at home. Rather than trying to prevent a puppy from chewing, teach him which things are appropriate chew toys.
Confinement is one of the tools in your arsenal when it comes to chew-training. It allows you to prevent your puppy from having the opportunity to chew on furniture, shoes, toys, or anything else you don't want him to have.
Redirecting him to appropriate toys is another part of chew training. It's not enough to tell your dog "no" when he picks up something you don't want him to have. Instead, you need to redirect him to something he can have, like a dog chew or a Kong.
Let’s First, determine why the dog is chewing.
Dogs, especially puppies are extremely playful and investigative. While play with people and other dogs is an important part of socialization and social development, exploration and object play are important ways for dogs to learn about their environment. Therefore it is a normal behavior for puppies to investigate their environment by sniffing, tasting and perhaps chewing on objects throughout the home. Dogs that chew may also be scavenging for food (as in garbage raiding), playing (as in the dog chews apart a book or couch), teething (dogs 3 to 6 months of age that chew on household objects (, or satisfying a natural urge to chew and gnaw (which may serve to help
teeth and gums to stay healthy). Some dogs may chew because they receive attention (even if it is negative) or treats form their owners each time they chew, and the owners are inadvertently rewarding the behavior. Chewing and destructive behaviors may also be a response to anxiety. Dogs that are confined in areas where they are insecure may dig and chew in an attempt to escape. Dogs that are in a state of conflict, arousal or anxiety, such as separation anxiety, may turn to chewing and other forms of destructiveness as an outlet.
How can proper chewing be encouraged.
Before considering how inappropriate chewing might be diagnosed and the real key is to provide some appropriate outlets for your dog’s chewing “needs.” Begin with a few toys with a variety of tastes, odors, and textures to determine what appeals most to the pet. Although plastic, nylon or rubber toys may be the most durable, products that can be torn apart such as a rawhide or pig’s ears may be more like natural prey and wood products that attract most dogs. The Kong is a durable chew toy, but its appeal can be greatly enhanced by placing a treat in it.
Puppies explore their worlds with their mouths. Like a one-year-old child, everything must be put in their mouth and tasted. Puppies begin to roughhouse with each other even before they leave their mother, and chewing and biting are a part of that play. It is a common interaction with puppies and at habit is transferred to their new human family.
Because many dogs, particularly retrievers and other hunting breeds retain this oral habit for life it is essential for puppies to learn proper bite control from the beginning. As with all aspects of puppy training, remember the key word- consistency.
•Puppies with good bite control use the mouth without inflicting harm to skin the skin.
•If a puppy has poor bite control, i.e. scratches skin or causes bleeding, a trainer should be consulted. •Puppies have sharp teeth and weak jaw; they cause pain without damage. This is good because pain causes us to instruct our puppies to be careful with our skin.
•Humans should require puppies to be gentle, even if it doesn’t hurt; puppies need to practice good control. Puppies may come in contact with people who are very young or very old; these people have thinner, softer skin and can be harmed by a puppy that is too rough with the mouth.
•Distraction is the most useful strategy when a puppy is mouthing too much. Distract with toys. Try a variety of toy types, balls of different size (not too small), soft floppy lamb’s wool types, knotted rope (no tug of war), and soft squeaky latex. Rotate the toy selection to keep them interesting.
•Avoid play together without toys. Do not become your puppy’s favorite chew toy.
THINGS YOU CAN DO
•Verbal reprimand, that is like the mother’s yip or bark, meant to startle the pup
•Negative sounds can work well like AAAT, AAAT. A soda can with a few pennies or rocks to shake also are a good source for negative reinforcement.
•Praise your puppy when the appropriate behavior is given; if the puppy is playing nice, say “good puppy!”
•If your puppy is being too rough, stop playing, get up and leave or put the puppy outside. Your puppy wants to be with you. If he must behave in order to enjoy your attention, he will.
•Do not give your puppy and old shoe, or slipper or old anything that was once yours. Puppies cannot distinguish between a new shoe and an old shoe, and will not contain their chewing to old shoes only. Specific dog toys are much better.
Bite inhibition is an important part of puppy training. It involves teaching your puppy to use his teeth gently. Puppies begin to learn bite inhibition from their mothers and through interaction with littermates. Many puppies need to keep learning this once they go into a home. Begin teaching your puppy bite inhibition by allowing him to use his mouth when you are playing with him, ending the playtime if he uses his teeth too hard. Once your puppy learns that the fun stops when he bites too hard, you should begin to see him using his mouth much more gently. You may also try letting out a yelp sound to remind him to be careful.
Bite inhibition is important because it keeps you safe from those needle-like puppy teeth. It also helps prevent a serious bite from occurring when your puppy grows into adulthood. Should he ever feel the need to use his teeth to defend himself, teaching your puppy bite inhibition can mean the difference between a harmless nip and a serious bite.