Confine the chewing dog in his crate whenever you are unable to supervise his activity. Leave him with a couple of acceptable chewies. ACCEPTABLE CHEWIES are toys that are not easily consumed, ones that may change their form as the dog gnaws at them. Nylabones, beef marrow bones, large rawhide knots all become more interesting to the dog as he works on them; the chewing action creates all sorts of lumps and depressions that keep most canines enraptured for hours. KongTM toys can be stuffed with a variety of goodies including some of the dog’s breakfast, challenging him to work for his meal. Old shoes, towels, scrap wood, or phonebooks are not acceptable chew toys. Dogs cannot differentiate between old shoes and new shoes, or scrap wood from kitchen cabinetry. Don’t confuse your dog by giving him anything that may be mistaken for a forbidden object.
4. Discourage inappropriate chewing. By following step two you will have already minimized the amount of mischief your young dog can get into. If you do find your dog chewing on something inappropriate correct the dog by taking the object away and scolding him. Direct his attentions to an appropriate chew object and give praise when he chews on said object. Gradually, your dog will learn what objects are his and which are not. Sometimes it can be difficult to discourage chewing if the pattern is already established. Taste deterrents such as bitter apple can applied to the object, the noxious taste will hopefully deter the determined chewer and he will learn to leave the object alone.
2. Puppy proofing. Look around your environment for possible dangers to your inquisitive puppy. Place household cleaners and chemicals out of reach along with potentially toxic plants. Electrical cords should be covered or made inaccessible to prevent chewing on them resulting in electrocution. Remove objects of curiosity that might appeal to your puppy such as shoes and socks, children’s toys and the like. Block access to rooms that have not been puppy proofed and consider crate training your dog for the times when he cannot be supervised.
Janice M. writes, “My yellow Labrador Retriever pup is about 5 months old. Anytime I try to reward/pet him on the head or scratch behind his ears, he turns his head to chew on my hand. He does this with my husband and our 5-year-old. Our 5-year-old doesn’t like to pet him because of the puppy’s chewing. Why is he doing this? He has plenty of toys and chews in the house and yard.”
There are many chews on the market today that can be considered safer for dogs because they are digestible and not too hard for teeth. It is important to remember that even large chunks from digestible chews can still cause GI upset or blockage. Always supervise your dog after giving it chews. If the dog seems to be swallowing large chunks, take the chew away. Furthermore, if the dog develops vomiting, diarrhea, or other signs of illness, see your vet right away.