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Chewing is a very normal behavior for puppies and dogs. They use their mouths for grasping food, gaining information about the environment, relieving boredom and reducing tension.
Chewing appears to be great fun. However, it could become a major problem when valued objects are damaged.
When you couple strong jaws with the curiosity and high energy of an exploring puppy, the result is an incredible chewing machine! The speed at which puppies can wreak havoc in a house, and the extent of damage they can do, can really take you by surprise.
There are a variety of reasons why a puppy might chew.
Dogs make good pets because they have a very social nature and plenty of energy to share in activities with us. In return, we need to provide enough exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction to avoid destructive behavior.Return to Top
Puppies usually pass time or relieve boredom by using their mouths, which may result in household destruction. But puppies don't know they are simply entertaining themselves.
Sometimes we unwittingly contribute to a puppy's problem with improper training. Puppies don't know the difference between old shoes and new shoes, or between stuffed toys and the corner of a stuffed couch.
Likewise, tug-of-war games can set your puppy up to fail. A puppy or dog entertained by tearing a towel is tempted to attack curtains fluttering in a breeze.Return to Top
Most often, getting a second pet to help correct a chewing problem isn't the best idea. In some cases, a new pet may distract the destructive pet away from chewing, but it is just as likely that the problems could double, especially if the newcomer is another puppy.Return to Top
The first step in correcting a chewing problem is to guide your puppy's chewing toward acceptable chew toys.
Give your pet plenty of praise every time he chews on his toys. Occasionally give a small reward, such as IAMS' Puppy Formula Biscuits, to strongly reinforce the behavior.Return to Top
Until you can trust your puppy, he must be under constant supervision or confined to a safe area. And even when he's with you, he might sneak off by himself to chew. Consider using a leash to keep him within eyesight. A crate, dog run, or safe room will keep him out of trouble when he can't be watched.
As your puppy is allowed more freedom, he can be taught to avoid forbidden objects if you make them taste bad. Choose an effective, commercial, bitter- or hot-tasting spray to safeguard objects. If he has the habit of chewing specific items, such as clothing, make sure that all clothing is out of reach except one or two items that are sprayed with a bad-tasting spray.
Every day, move the items to new positions around the house. In four or five days, change the type of item. This teaches the dog to leave your clothing alone because he associates them with a bad taste.
"Booby traps" are successful since they punish your puppy during the act and do not require your presence. A stack of empty beverage cans set up to fall over when something moves can be effective in safeguarding certain objects. Motion-activated alarms are often effective in teaching a puppy to stay off furniture or out of plants.Return to Top
This information was provided by Wayne Hunthausen, DVM, Director of Animal Behavior Consultations in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
NOTE: Gender has been referenced in this brochure only to enhance readability of the text.
The Iams Company 2006. The Iams Company. All rights reserved worldwide.Return to Top