Chewing

Puppies NEED to chew. They are getting ready to drop their deciduous teeth and grow their adult dentition.  The puppy teeth only remain for three to seven months.  During this time chewing provides satisfaction, pain relief and loosens the baby teeth.  Chewing should be encouraged. The problem lies with what to chew.

Bringing a puppy into the house should be similar to having a child.  Everything needs to be puppy proof.  If your pup can’t be trusted to stay out of trouble, it should be contained in a safe area.  A crate is perfect for this and can be used to assist with housebreaking as well.  Puppy proof includes keeping your shoes, electric cords and Grandma’s rocker out of the way of uncontrolled puppy teeth.  When the pup can be trusted or supervised when access to these is available then, and only then, should it be allowed to do so.

When the pup starts to chew on un-permitted things, it should be redirected to a good thing.  No drama just a quick no and then provide an approved chew.  For some reason the smoked beef shank bones are particularly attractive to most dogs.  Nylabones and Kong toys stuffed with Peanut butter or the yogurt filling (Kong Stuffing) are good alternatives if you aren’t fond of the smell of smoked beef breath.

Vigilance is the key to keeping the pup focused on the right things.  Eventually, when redirected enough times they will get the message and then choose their own favorite thing.  Then you can bring Grandma’s rocker back out.

Should you need to find a deterrent is needed for chewing on the furniture or some other precious item, hot sauce works quite well (some pups do like the taste).  A paste can be made of crushed cayenne pepper and spread on the item if hot sauce is not effective.  The pup will only return to this item once.  Have some water available so that the pup doesn’t suffer too long.  Most puppies will learn quickly that the smell of cayenne means no chewing.  In the days of slavery, running slaves would leave cayenne on their trail to deter the bloodhounds.  It was quite effective.

Biting

Ah, puppy teeth.  I currently have a just healed badge from puppy teeth.  Even experienced trainers have moments of weakness.  I was introducing myself to a greedy little pup and got snagged.  Oops.

Puppy biting should not be allowed, ever!  In the litter, when a pup gets aggressive with its litter mates, the pups let out a yipe.  If the offender repeats the offense, the other pups will shun the offender.  Ignoring the pup when it bites is one way to deter the behavior.  Corrective action should escalate if the pup continues.  The first offense should produce a loud ouch from you.  This is similar to the litter mates yipe. A second offense should have the ouch and you should briefly turn your back on the pup.  A third offense should be met with a timeout and initially include the loud ouch.

If the behavior persists after this, a corrective action can be used.  Grasp the pups snout and roll its upper lip into the mouth so that if the pup bites it hurts.  A thumb or finger on top of the tongue is also effective.  Put it in far enough to create a gag from the pup hold it until the pup tries to get away then release.  You are trying to create discomfort on the part of the pup when it bites.

Dogs repeat things that are fun, if they aren’t fun, the behavior won’t be repeated.  If they are always uncomfortable they chance of getting them again is significantly reduced.  Consistency is the key.  Always have a response that does not reward the action.