Puppy vs. Your Home: Overcoming Chewing

Shoes, rugs, baseboards, chairs: the list of household items that could fall prey to your puppy could go on forever! Problematic chewing can range in severity from a minor nuisance to downright dangerous–making it vital to address this behavior quickly.

There are two key elements to addressing your puppy’s chewing:

  • Monitor your puppy closely
  • Provide appropriate toys

Monitor Your Puppy Closely:

Have Buddy wear a leash at all times when you are home. This will help you keep him close. We recommend tethering him to furniture (something he cannot pull) near you so you can keep an eye on him and quickly get a hold of him if he begins to chew. If you are having trouble with Buddy chewing on the leash too much, look into getting a tie-out or a thin chain type leash that will be less fun for him to chew on.

If you cannot closely monitor him or need a break, put him in his crate.

Provide Appropriate Toys:

Buddy should have access to 8-10 appropriate toys at all times. Appropriate toys are those that can provide an alternative chewing outlet without being easily destroyed or posing a choking hazard. Appropriate toys include:

  • Kongs
  • antlers
  • cow bones
  • nylabones.

You should avoid giving your puppy any plush, fabric or rope toys as these resemble items in your home. When Buddy picks up an appropriate toy, praise and pet him while the toy is in his mouth. Stop all attention immediately if he drops the toy.

Inappropriate Chewing:

Buddy should be monitored so you are able to deliver a verbal reprimand–a loud, firm “NO”– if he chews on an inappropriate item. (NOTE: Please do not use this correction if your puppy is biting you–this will be addressed in our play biting post)

After 3 days of practicing toy play, begin doing “set-ups.” Scatter several toys and 2-3 inappropriate items on the floor. Deliver a verbal reprimand (NO!!!) when he picks up the inappropriate item and praise if he picks up a toy.

Typically, we recommend waiting until you have had at least one week free of chewing corrections before allowing your puppy more freedom in your presence. It will still be vital to contain your puppy when you are unable to monitor their behavior and generally we recommend crating/containing your puppy in your absence until they are one year old.

If you are experiencing any growling or excessive biting when trying to remove an inappropriate item or toy from your puppy, please discontinue this program and contact us. You may also contact us if you are looking for more individualized help! Beyond the Dog is available for private in home consultations, video consultations or behavior assessments.