It has happened to most dog owners. You bring your adorable puppy home for the first time and things seem fine at first. Then, suddenly, you wake up to utter chaos. Your precious pooch has chewed his or her way through cords, carpets, clothing, shoes, blankets, and has left a trail of toilet paper all around your home!
After dealing with this for a few days, you are at your limit. You wonder if this is normal behavior. Should you consult your vet or another dog owner? Should you rely on Internet searches for explanations and tips? Perhaps your puppy requires obedience training?
Before you run to the vet in a panic or invest time and lots of money with a trainer, there are some basic facts to know about puppies that destroy things.
You will be relieved to find out that chewing is perfectly normal and common behavior for puppies. Puppies often get bored and restless, and chewing on anything relieves the boredom. Perhaps more serious (but also common) is chewing because of separation anxiety or a desire for attention. You may notice that leaving your canine friend alone for too long seems to spur chewing. Puppies will often gnaw on anything in sight to deal with an absent owner, too.
It is also important to remember that puppies between 3 and 6 months of age could be teething. This is also normal, but destructive. Puppies who are teething are known to take a chomp out of anything, even a dangling finger, so be careful during this timeframe! You should also know that this is temporary and that most will outgrow this annoying behavior when their teething processes are complete.
There are some simple solutions. The goal to keep in mind is that puppies will chew, the key is to get them to chew on the right items (and not necessarily your fingers or your brand new area rug). Providing ample chew toys and leaving them scattered around their play area is a great first step. A teething puppy can benefit from toys made specifically for relieving this type of pain. Any pet store should have a decent selection of teething toys.
Another great idea is to puppy-proof your home. You will have to adjust for life with a puppy. In short, you’ll have to ensure that your valuables and personal items are picked up regularly. Move frequently chewed items up off the floor, if possible. Keep doors shut. Secure electrical cords up high, or tuck them behind furniture. This will give your puppy less to chew on and the opportunity to find his or her new chew toys.
If your puppy still seems to gnaw on everything, it might be time to increase daytime activity or socialize your pet. A tired puppy might be less inclined to nervously chew on household items, so frequent walks, trips to a dog park, or even letting him or her play with a friend’s dog might be just the ticket. If your puppy behaves well, or if you experience decreased chewing, reward them! Positive reinforcement is important.
Caring for your pets requires patience, but the rewards are great. Like you, we adore our canine friends and the Angels’ Eyes team strives to make your dog happy and healthy. Visit Angels’ Eyes online for more information about our tear-stain removal products, as well as stories, photos, and advice about puppies and dogs.