So you got a new puppy this holiday season and so far, his chewing has cost you more then what you spent on Christmas presents. Before your puppy starts chewing up your wallet or needs surgery to remove something, he's swallowed, let’s look at ways to stop you puppy from chewing things he shouldn't.
Where do you start? First, are you reasonably sure that your puppy is healthy? There is a medical condition called Pica that can cause your puppy to chew and eat non-food items to try to deal with nausea. If you reasonably sure that puppy has, a clean bill of health then lets move on.
With dogs, in general you need to accept that chewing is a normal healthy activity and is part of a puppy's development. Just like children, puppies learn from exploring everything around them and part of that exploring is chewing. Also like children, puppies don't know what is safe and what is dangerous, they need your protection and guidance to teach them what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.
The number one thing to always remember when training your dog is consistency. When training your dog not to chew you will need to chose a word or sound that means "No" or "Bad". I would however not recommend using the words "No" or "Bad", training a new dog can be challenging enough, in the beginning you will be correcting the dog a fair bit and who wants to continually be saying "No" or "Bad", this can leave a person feeling very negative about the whole experience. "Ah Ah" is what I have found to be quite effective. With consistent training using "Ah Ah" or whatever command you choose your dog should learn to respond instantly.
When you catch you puppy chewing on anything they are not suppose to say "Ah Ah" take the item away and replace it with a toy they are allowed to chew on. Get you puppy to start chewing on the toy and then praise them. You may need to try a chemical additive such as Bitter Apple on any items your dog habitually chews on. In later articles, we will talk about crate training, which is another effective way to stop chewing behavior.
Remember the best way for your dog to learn not to chew unacceptable household items is by not letting them even start. By keeping items out of reach of you dog he will only chew on his toys. Dogs are creatures of habit, the more times they chew shoes the more difficult it will be to get them to stop. If for most of their puppy years all they've chewed on is their toys they will mostly likely only chew on their toys. Remember the key to all dog training is consistency, so don't give up and you'll soon have a very happy relationship with your new friend.
Obinna Heche: Los Angeles- California
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