Why Do Puppies Chew, and How to Stop It

Chewing is a common complaint among those caring for dogs younger than a year old. They’re likely to chew for several reasons. For one, they’re curious creatures and they don’t have opposable thumbs. Their mouths are how they examine objects. Also, from four to eight months of age, they will shed all of their puppy teeth and grow a set of permanent teeth. Chewing helps with teething discomfort. Also, chewing gives a bored pup something to do, and dogs with separation anxiety will likely chew their owners’ items. Finally, some dogs, such as retrievers, were bred to use their mouths.

So how do you stop it?

  • Create a safe haven for your puppy: Use a dog crate or small, carefully dog-proofed area. When dog-proofing an area, get down at puppy eye level to scope out potential problems such as electrical wires or drapery cords. When you can’t supervise your puppy, place him or her in this safe haven with an approved chew toy.
  • Remember, the puppy does not need access to the entire house. Close bedroom doors or install pet gates during the animal’s chewing period.
  • Invest in a variety of chew toys appropriate to the size and chewing preferences of your dog. Check out Tri-County Humane Society’s store for a variety of toys (all the proceeds go back to the animals.) Watch your pet with the chew toys when he or she first tries them to make sure it’s appropriate. Alternate the chewies to keep interest high, saving the best for crate time or when puppy is left alone.
  • Give feedback. When the puppy eyes a table leg, say “eck” or “phooey” and then draw puppy’s attention to an acceptable chew toy. When you catch the puppy chewing on an appropriate toy, make sure to praise him or her with a treat.
  • Try anti-chew products.  If the table leg or rug fringe remains your dog’s favorite chew toy, use a commercial anti-chew product.  Tri-County Humane Society sells bitter apple sprays that are safe for pets and can be highly effective!

 

Source: Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

Rebels with Paws - Surviving a Canine's Adolescence

hotdog_face_35267Those weeks of careful monitoring have finally paid off—you're now the proud caretaker of a housebroken pup! But wait, is that a yellow stain partway up the drapes? And after you unclip Rex's leash in the dog run, and he maniacally bounds around for 45 minutes, it still takes a ten-minute game of "catch me if you can" to get him back on-leash to go home. What gives? Your puppy has grown into a teenager.

The Wide World of Spots

From the age of six to 18 months, your dog undergoes adolescence—that gawky stage between puppyhood and adulthood. Physically, your dog has his adult teeth, but he still needs to chew on hard toys. That cottony puppy coat is falling out during one tremendous shedding cycle, allowing the adult coat to grow in. He has almost reached his adult height, but for now is all loose elbows and gangly movement.

And what movement! During adolescence, the domestic canine resembles a perpetual-motion machine that requires superhuman stamina to wear out. It's a good idea to find your pup a friendly pack of other canine adolescents to run with in the safety of an urban dog run or suburban fenced-in yard. If your dog lacks canine friends, send him or her out with your resident human teen to fetch a Frisbee or go jogging.

Read more: Rebels with Paws - Surviving a Canine's Adolescence

Puppy Preparedness: Ready the Home for a New Canine Arrival

maggie_23384Bringing home a new puppy is truly one of life's joys.  Thoughtful pre-puppy preparations and a well-planned first 24 hours can give your fuzzy bundle of  promise a head-start and make your dreams of the perfect family dog come true.

Before the Big Day

Once household discussions have established that everyone wants a dog of a certain age and breed, where to get the pup — from a shelter or reputable breeder — is more or less determined. Now, family meetings should cover scheduling:
Who will take the pup to the papers or backyard and when?
Who will be in charge of feedings three to four times a day?
Who will make veterinary appointments for vaccinations and deworming?

Read more: Puppy Preparedness: Ready the Home for a New Canine Arrival

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