Help! My puppy is teething
A quick guide to coping with teething puppies.
Dogs, just like humans, need to teethe. Cutting new adult teeth can be quite a lengthy process in some breeds. The urge to chew during this time is strong and if left to their own devices, puppies will indiscriminately chew anything – furniture, bedding, electrical wires, mobile phones – nothing is safe from a teething puppy unless you train your puppy.
Training is the key.
The first thing is to buy some good quality toys that are designed to be chewed. Hard rubber and heavy duty rope toys are ideal. You need to spend time with your puppy, praising it when it chews on the toys you offer and saying a firm ‘no’ when it chews on things that are not allowed. Always when your puppy chews on the wrong thing, re direct its behaviour by offering it the right thing. Some toys which have been frozen will help alleviate painful gums. Dogs are smart and they soon learn what is theirs and what they are not allowed to have. Be patient and put in the necessary time.
Next, confine your puppy to one area of the house, particularly when you are out. Bathrooms, the laundry, even kitchens are ideal as they are non carpeted and easier to clean. This area needs to be puppy proofed. Paint cupboards and other chewable surfaces with a commercial ‘anti chew’ paint. Cover power cords and unplug unnecessary items.
Never allow your puppy to chew on anything old, such as old socks or blankets, just because you don’t want the items any more. Remember, dogs can’t discriminate between a cleaning rag and your new jeans – all they will know is that you let them chew a similar cloth before and that makes ALL cloth items up for grabs. You need to inspect your home and the areas you allow your puppy into in the same way you would ‘toddler’ proof your home for little children. Think like a dog!
Some breeders and vets swear by crate training your dog. This means you keep your puppy in a large, comfortable crate or cage when they are alone. Put toys in the crate for it to play with and your puppy will be safe and secure while you are not there.
Give your puppy lots of opportunities to socialise with other people and other animals. The strong urge to chew will usually be accompanied by an equally strong urge to bite or mouth other living things. Say ‘ouch!’ or something similar loudly and sternly if you get nipped. Then redirect your puppy to an appropriate toy. Be consistent because a biting dog is a liability so this needs to be stopped every time until the behaviour is extinguished.
Finally, keep your dog occupied
Exercise it (gently for young puppies), play with it, cuddle it. Unstimulated dogs often chew out of boredom. If you put the time in when your dog is young, chewing and biting will never be a problem when they get older.