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That’s right, you heard me…
Your puppy might just be devouring your home!
You’ve seen those homes, right? You walk into the house and it looks like a mini-tornado hit in certain places of the home.
Baseboards, furniture corners, wooden steps, door seals, carpet, and more can all fall victim to the vicious little animal running around in your home. Better known by the name, “Puppy”.
All puppies are known for their desire to chew on things. I promise their goal isn’t to eat up your beautiful things but it can appear the exact opposite.
But why do they really want to chew?
1 - Painful gums - puppies are teething. It helps alleviate the pain to rub their gums against an object… therefore, the chew begins on anything they can find.
2 - Playfulness - your puppy is a baby. Babies love to play. It’s fun for them.
3 - Boredom - if your puppy is highly intelligent, it’s likely that they will become bored very easily.
A way for them to deal with boredom is to chew on things.
You know, it’s kind of like when we do destructive things like overeating and binge watch tv out of boredom! Not necessarily the best thing we should be doing, but it keeps us occupied for a bit.
4 - Copycating - Your pup sees other dogs destroying things so they figure that’s how they should roll too!
5 - Curiosity - They see something colorful or fun looking and decide they want to check it out and discover more about it.
6 - Gratifying to rip and tear - Dogs have an innate animal instinct to tear apart and rule over it.
Ever heard of the “alpha dog”? Well, this is one way a dog, and yes even a pup, can establish dominance of their territory.
If we could get inside a pup’s head, I imagine we would learn a couple of other reasons for gnawing and chewing too but these are the main ones for sure.
Disclaimer: This doesn’t guarantee that your home will go 100% puppy chew free but it can tremendously help keep your home (and the valuables in it) safe, for the most part.
Here’s are the Top Things You Can Do:
1 - Your puppy’s gums are swollen and hurting
What You Can Do:
During the time that your pup is teething, I recommend giving them a new chew or teething toy each week. This keeps them engaged and excited about getting a new toy and keeps their mind off of your home and its belongings!
Caution: You should promptly throw away any toys that have been compromised. If pieces are falling off of the toy, then your pup might eat the piece and become sick.
Here are some of my favs:
B - Look in your kitchen! Give them frozen carrots or fruit.
This will be nutritious, yummy, and encourage healthy biting habits. This is much better than them munching on your expensive shoes!
I recommend just one / day. Too many raw fruits and veggies will be way too harsh for a puppy's system and could give them diarrhea.
C - Give Vet IQ teething gel for puppies 4 weeks and older. This can numb their gums and help them deal with those teeth breaking through the gums a whole lot easier.
Warning: DO NOT give baby Orajel or other baby pain medicines to your pup. There are ingredients in human medicines like these that can cause serious complications to your pup including vomiting, depression, breathing difficulties and liver failure.
D - Give softer crushed ice - like the kind you get from convenience store ice dispensers.
Your pup will enjoy munching on this ice and of course, his mouth is going to feel so much better during the process!
Caution: I don’t recommend the large, harder ice cubes that come from ice trays. These can be too hard and cut your puppies gums OR crack their teeth.
Caution: Some recommend freezing a cloth or rag and letting your pup chew on it but I don’t recommend this.
You are sending mixed signals to your pup! The main goal is to discourage your pup from chewing on anything from your home! A rag is going to look very similar to blankets, comforters, and other materials in your home that you DO NOT want them chewing on!
2 - Playfulness - What puppy doesn’t want to play when they aren’t eating and sleeping!
What You Can Do:
A. Establish daily playtime with your pup. Don’t just throw toys to your pup and leave (although, this can be a good thing when you are gone) but really schedule special times to interact and bond with your pup.
Bring some tug and pull toys with you and only use them during this special playtime. Your puppy will start anticipating this playtime with happiness.
You will also be teaching and training your pup that there are special toys that only the two of you play with. He or she will begin to learn boundaries and that certain things are off-limits when playtime is over.
B. Create a safe play place for your pup to reside when you are not there.
You can use removable door gates, dog pens, or a combination to make a puppy friendly zone area.
Fill it full of all kinds of toys!
Chew toys, cuddle toys, and puzzles will surely keep your pup engaged until they are ready for a nap. And guess what, not one thing in your house fell victim.
Wow, now that’s a wonderful day for both you and your pup!!
3 - A bored puppy is a destructive puppy
What You Can Do:
A. As we have already discussed, give lots and lots of a variety of toys in a controlled environment. I recommend that you keep the toys rotating in and out too.
Don’t leave a toy there forever. Remove them for a time and introduce other newer ones.
Puppies will even get bored with the same toy! Keep them guessing.
Try to introduce at least 2 new toys a week to your pup.
Wouldn’t you get excited if someone was bringing you new surprises weekly? It’s gonna grab their attention and they are not even going to have time to tear up the house!
B. Play music for your pup or play a tv show about animals. This engages their eyes and ears and gives them another form of entertainment.
4 - Copycating - your puppy is bound to imitate what they see older dogs doing - good or bad!
What You Can Do:
A. Be careful which doggies you expose to your pup. I know this sounds silly but it is the same principle that we have all heard about our children.
You want to make sure they are around those that will be a good influence on their behavior and not a bad one.
B. Enroll your dog in basic puppy obedience training. This is another great way to bond with your pup while they learn some basic commands.
Just another way to invest in raising your pup right and getting them around positive influences for great behavior.
5 - Curiosity - You know, they say that curiosity killed the cat but I bet it has gotten a lot of pups into some serious trouble too!!
What You Can Do:
A. Well, you shouldn’t want to take away that spunky curiosity that makes your puppy so adorable. However, you can manage it. You get to decide what types of things you introduce to your pup, whether it’s a new toy, meeting a new friend, going to a new place, etc.
All the activities you engage in with your pup will shape and mold them. Make sure you let your pup discover with you at their side. That way, you can tell them with a loving but firm, “NO”, if it’s something they should stay away from.
Or, a “GET IT GIRL” command if it’s something they are allowed to do.
They will begin to see the correlation with your commands, tones, and attitude and whether or not they can engage with it or should stay far, far away from it!
Your puppy really does want to please you. But, it’s all ON YOU to be the responsible pet parent and raise your pup right.
You get to control when and how they are introduced to new things and experiences.
6 - Oh, what fun it is to Rip & Tear!
Okay, you’re never going to take their instinct away. But you can direct it to the proper channels.
Teach, don’t wait for them to tear up the wrong things, then go crazy mad yelling….
What You Can Do:
A. Do Rip & Tear exercises with your pup.
Give them a toy that is meant to be ripped, tugged, and pulled on. Tell them to "rip it", etc.
Play with your pup and the toy together.
Then afterward, reward with a small training treat. Say, "good girl" or "good boy".
Then, on purpose, introduce something from your home to them. But do not say "rip or tear". Calmly show it to them. If they attempt to grab it, say "NO". and take it away.
Over time, your pup will learn about proper ripping and tearing and things that are NOT meant to be ripped and torn.
They get to rip and tear with your approval AND learn when they shouldn’t.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
You are actually teaching them which things they can rip and tear.
If you are diligent with this exercise and work on it multiple times a week, your pup will learn the difference in what they can devour!
And it WILL NOT be your home!
For more puppy tips from a leading expert, check out this video!
Remember, your pup really doesn't want to devour your home. It only appears that way to you.
The first step in solving this huge dilemma is to understand what drives your pup to chew. Teething, the urge to rip, boredom, and playfulness can all contribute to the rip and tear effect in your home.
Be very intentional to address each of these issues.
Weekly, change out a large variety of toys, spend quality time with your pup, create safe physical boundaries for them to live in while you're away, and actually teach your pup which things they can devour are among some of the things you can do.
These actions with persistence will make your life with your new pup so much more enjoyable!
Do you have a new puppy?
What are some of the challenges you are having?
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For more puppy tips from Pet Hangout, check out Puppy Problem Solutions How to Stay Strong and Be Champion, 8 Tips for Starting Your Puppy Out on the Right Path, Top 50 Kicking Boy Puppy Names You need to Know, and Top 50 Adorable Girl Puppy Names You Need to Know.