Puppy chewing problem: simple training techniques!

Narrated from: Dog Training

When you acquire a new dog, you should do some research on the breed – many dog breeds are prone to chewing. This is especially true of the Labrador Retriever – the most popular dog breed in the world!

Chewing can be a nasty problem – you see, dogs learn through their mouths, as they have no hands. So, you, as a human, would probe an unfamiliar item with your fingers, then take it in your hand and examine it more thoroughly, but a dog would use its mouth. Unfortunately for dog owners, some of the brightest and most lovable dog breeds are quite curious, which means they will chew on anything. Such a dog could cause a lot of chaos in the house.

Fortunately, the problem can be resolved easily with some appropriate training while the dog is still growing. This is a vital task if you have just obtained a Labrador Retriever, sincea Lab with a chewing habit would literally eat the house from inside to out.

Many people believe that if they give their puppy an old shoe to chew on, then the puppy will learn to only chew older and unneeded shoes (and other items). This might be true for some dog breeds, but for the majority the trick doesn’t work – Labrador retriever puppies for instance wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between your old shoe and your new shoes (no matter how smelly the old ones are). So, the puppy would just get the following message: “Hey, here is a shoe for you! You can chew on shoes anytime you want!”

When you are training a chew-prone puppy, you have to work slowly and methodically. During the puppy’s first days in the house, it is important to keep the puppy confined in a crate. This is for the puppy’s own protection. A larger area might be puppy-proofed – which means that all items you don’t want the puppy to chew on should be removed. Pay special attention to any dangerous gadgets and to securing power cords. You should only let the puppy out of the crate/puppy-proofed area under constant supervision.

The next step is to provide appropriate chew toys. The toys shouldn’t resemble anything you don’t want the puppy to chew on. Chew toys will keep the puppy occupied while it is in its crate. Also, they are very good for Labradors who suffer from separation anxiety – before you leave the puppy alone you can rub the chew toy on your hands and your smell should comfort the puppy when you are not in the room. Choose chew toys that are resistant and made especially for teething puppies.

The next step is correction. Be on the watch when the puppy can chew on things other than chew toys. At the beginning, stop the pup with a stern “No!” and replace the object with a chew toy. If the puppy accepts the toy, praise it, but not too vigorously.

If the puppy is persistent and has a favorite object to chew on (a lady’s brand new shoes for instance), then you could treat the object with a chew-deterring substance. There are special products on the market designed specifically for chewing puppies - Drs. Foster and Smith Chew Stop, for example.

If the puppy shows improvement, then you have to test it. Leave a chew toy on the floor along with a tempting object (well, not something too valuable!), then pretend you are not paying attention. If the pup goes for the forbidden object, stop it with a “No!” and point the puppy’s attention to the chew toy. This should be done until the puppy stops paying attention to the “bait” objects while you are in the room.

The next step is to leave the puppy alone in the room – however, some puppies are notorious cheats. So the first few times, you should return quickly to the room. If you catch the puppy chewing behind your back, then you should reprimand it in some way.
However, some puppies wouldn’t get the lesson – the final technique would be to keep the puppy confined for a while. The puppy would be confined while you are away, with only its chew toys. In time, the pup should learn that chewing gets it into trouble.

In the end, your puppy will be ready to be left alone in the house – and chances are high that the house will still be in one piece when you get back!

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