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Dog Chewing Problems - Constant Puppy Chewing? Why?

Sooner or later every dog owner returns home to find some unexpected damage inflicted by his or her dog...or, more specifically, your dog's teeth.  Dog chewing actually is not such a bad thing for a dog to do. It is necessary to the physical and mental health of the dog. However, as you might have guessed, the important point here is not that the dog chews, it is "what" the dog or puppy chews.

For a puppy, one of the most important first survival lessons is the use of its mouth and jaws. Mouthing, by definition, is a puppy's unending desire to bite at your hands, feet, shoes, or hemlines. Because this behavior can be destructive and it hurts, puppy owners usually want it to cease as soon as possible. Yet, one of the biggest mistakes owners make is to come down too hard on a mouthing puppy.

Puppy Mouthing is learning

During the socialization phase of your pet's development, approximately the first 4 to 16 weeks, your puppy is learning what is and what is not appropriate behavior. He will bite constantly at everything that moves, including the tail, ears, and legs of his mother. Because the puppy's milk teeth are so sharp, it takes very little pressure to bring about a quick and startling response from Mom. After perhaps hundreds of these types of encounters, the puppy finally learns to be quite gentle when playing with other members of his canine group. With training and a bit of patience, this important lesson will carry over into your puppy's relationship with people.

As a new puppy owner, you should allow your puppy to mouth, correcting him repeatedly, but in a mild fashion, when he bites a bit too hard. Reacting in a sharp and startling way with a loud "hey" works with many puppies. If you are too harsh in correcting your pet, then your puppy may stop mouthing and fall to learn to be extremely sensitive to situations where his teeth come into contact with human skin. A mature dog that has failed to learn and make this distinction could end up unintentionally injuring someone. This could result in the dog being termed a biter and regretfully become a victim of euthanasia.

Chewing Relief 

During early development, your puppy also uses chewing to constantly sample the taste and texture of many different things in its environment. During teething, chewing helps to relieve the constant dull pain in your pet's gums. Chewing also strengthens the teeth and gums. But one of the main benefits of chewing is often overlooked. Chewing releases tension in your puppy. If your pet builds up excess tension and chewing is something that helps to release that tension, then your puppy might get into the habit of constantly chewing furniture, clothing, and carpeting. 

If you offer your pup one of your old boots to chew, then don't expect him to stop there. He will get a hold of your new leather slippers. He won't be able to make the distinction no matter how much you scold. Therefore, giving your pet his own toys is necessary.  Fortunately, chewing can be directed onto appropriate items so your dog isn't destroying items you value or jeopardizing his own safety.  

Solutions

You also should be mindful of what causes chewing in your pet. Possibly your puppy does not like being left in the dark or home alone for long periods of time. Possibly a lack of human attention leads to boredom, causing your pet to chew just to wile away the hours. Meeting your puppy's behavioral, environmental, nutritional, and maintenance needs will help alleviate boredom. A daily exercise schedule also can help while increasing the human-pet bond. Under normal conditions, your puppy's constant need to chew will diminish as it matures. A healthy and well-balanced dog can easily be satisfied with a rawhide bone or other type of pet chew toy.

  • Play with your dog daily in a safe, fenced-in area. If you donít have a yard, a tennis court can be a good place to play. Fetch is a great game that will use up your dogís excess energy without wearing you out!

  • Go for a walk. Walks should be more than just "bathroom time." On-leash walks are important opportunities for you and your dog to be together. Donít forget to allow time for sniffing, exploring, instruction and praise.

  • Increase your dogís opportunities for mental stimulation. Teach your dog a few commands and/or tricks and practice them daily. If you have time, take an obedience class.

  • Provide your dog with lots of toys.

  • Rotate your dogís toys to refresh his interest in them. "New" toys are always more interesting than old ones.

  • Try different kinds of toys, but when you introduce a new toy, watch your dog to make sure he wonít tear it up and ingest the pieces.

  • Consider the various types of toys that can be stuffed with food. Putting tidbits of food inside chew toys focuses your dogís chewing activities on these toys instead of on unacceptable objects.

  • Make your dogís favorite "off-limits" chew objects unattractive to him by covering them with heavy plastic, aluminum foil, hot pepper sauce or a commercial "anti-chew" product.

 

 
















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