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Behaviour & Training

Chewing & Destructive Behaviour

Why Do Puppies Chew And Destroy Things?

Puppies chew things – it's a fact of life! As for why they do it, there are a number of reasons:

  • Inquisitive exploration – mouths are the most sensitive part of a puppy, so they learn the most about something by putting it in their mouth.
  • Teething - chewing helps their little teeth break through the gums and relieves the pain.
  • They're just bored – hey, if we could do it, we probably would!

While most dogs grow out of destructive chewing, it can develop into a real problem when your belongings are damaged or completely destroyed. It can also be dangerous, and even fatal, for your puppy. So you need to take action now.

How Do I Control My Puppy's Chewing Habits?

Yes, it's frustrating seeing your brand new shoes or lounge suite looking like they've gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson, but there are some things you can do to curb the destructive habits:

  • Send puppy to their room
  • When you are not around to police your puppy's chewing, confine them to a room without precious belongings or dangerous items. Even when you are there, try to keep the things that you don't want pup chomping on well out of reach.
  • Give them a chewable alternative

The ideal chew toy varies from one puppy to the next - depending on the size of their mouth, their teeth, chewing capabilities and personal taste. The staff at your veterinary clinic can help you choose the perfect toys for puppy to get his or her teeth into.

Keep several toys on hand and don't leave them all out for at once. Just like kids at Christmas time, an overdose of toys reduces the novelty value of each. Swap them around to keep your puppy interested.

How Not To Deal With Chewing Problems

If you find your puppy chewing something they shouldn't be, keep your cool. Distract them with one of their chew toys instead. When your puppy takes the chew toy, reassure them with some verbal praise.

Additional Information

The Merck Veterinary Manual

Veterinary Partner: The Canine Behaviour Series
By: Kathy Diamond Davis, Trainer

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