I don't think I have had a client who hasn't said "my puppy is chewing everything"! Which is completely and utterly normal. Frustrating...yes, but also a stage of development that they will grow out of fairly quickly if you help them.
Why is my puppy chewing everything?
Your puppy is exploring the world! Human toddlers put everything they can in their mouths, and it is the same with puppies. This could be leaves, flowers, clothes, paper, anything that they can get their mouths around!
Another big reason that a puppy chews is because they are teething! Puppies will go through a teething stage from about 4 1/2 months up to 7 months. They will lose all those needle sharp baby puppy teeth and develop their adult teeth. Their gums will be sore and chewing helps take the edge off of that feeling.
Do puppies grow out of chewing?
They grow out of chewing for teething reasons definitely. It is up to you as the owner to let them know what is and isn't appropriate to chew on so that 'bad' chewing doesn't become a habit or routine.
How can I get my puppy to stop chewing everything in sight?
If your dog is bored, and you aren't around to entertain him or take him for a walk, the chances are he is going to find something to do himself. A nice tasty bit of leather shoe would keep him occupied for hours. Especially if he is a teething puppy and his gums hurt!
This is going to sound snarky and harsh, but not at all how I mean it. The first step is to not leave anything you don't want to be chewed in easy reach of your puppy! Pick up your shoes, papers, books, coats, kids toys etc and put them away. This at least decreases the chance and opportunity they have to destroy these things.
Instead of always telling your dog what NOT to do, tell him what he can do. Give him different types of toys; ones he can chew, squeak, chase etc. Interact and engage with him as he plays.
You can use Bitter Apple spray or other chew deterrent products to keep him away from furniture legs, curtains, sideboards and anything else. Spray a little onto the item and it should taste nasty to your puppy. However, in my experience, only 50% of dogs seem to dislike the bitter apple taste. I have also used a nettle spray, and even a very small amount of Tabasco/hot sauce at times!
My puppy also bites and nips when we are playing, what can I do?
A lot of this occurs because the puppy is very excited and doesn't know what to do with himself!
When he starts to nip or bite at you, take your hands away from him and ignore him/stop interacting with him.
Some puppies will then kick it up a notch and go for your clothes. If he starts to bite your clothes, stand up and move away from him until he is settled.
I really recommend having toys on hand that you can give him instead of your clothing or hands! This is telling him what he is allowed to chew or bite on. When he is biting something he is allowed to, praise him and engage with him.
It is very tempting to push him away or say “stop ” etc when he is nipping at you but the pushing him away is turning it into a game. He will keep coming back for more.
Try to let your body language and you taking away your attention be how you communicate with him in this instance. As soon as he is settled (whether that is he sits, keeps all 4 paws on the floor, or any other calm behaviour), then turn back around and interact with him again.
Some puppies also react to a high pitch "Ow". This is mimicking the sound made by their litter mates, and other dogs, to show that the play and biting has gotten too hard.
What are some good chew toys for my puppy?
Take a look at our blog post about rawhide as there are lots of great chews that we have listed in that post for them to enjoy!
Other great purchases include soft rubber toys like Kongs that you can stuff with some peanut butter, cheese, kibble, or just leave plain for them to chew on. Make sure you get the appropriate size and type of rubber for your puppy. They shouldn't be the Kong Extreme (usually black coloured) as they use a very hard rubber that is too tough for puppy teeth.
Don't forget you can contact us for our puppy training sessions to help you stop any of this unwanted chewing and biting. Head to our services page to book!