So you just brought home a new puppy. Everything's great. She's cute and cuddly. Has puppy breath and gives great puppy kisses. She's catching on to her potty training. And everyone in the family loves her, to include your current 7 year old dog. It's been a while since you've had a puppy. You've missed every great moment... Until, you remember one thing... Chewed shoes and teeth prints on the furniture.
You're puppy is teething...
Puppies will instinctively chew, not because they want to punish you for leaving her home alone and locking her in a crate. Puppies chew because they need to. When teething, puppies will chew to alleviate as much discomfort as they can. Think about it, if you had 42 adult teeth growing in, you'd want to alleviate the pain.
Signs of Teething
- Swollen, inflamed gums
- Bleeding gums
- Missing teeth
- Teeth prints on your nice things.
Help Alleviate Teething Discomfort
You don't want your puppy to be in pain or feel discomfort. But what can you do? Many things...
- Frozen fruits and vegetables such as carrots, strawberries, watermelon, apples, sweet potatoe, etc.
- Puppy teething toys found at pet stores
- Freeze natural bones that you've filled with peanut butter, cheese wiz, cream cheese, etc. (STAY AWAY from rawhides as they do not digest properly in a dog's body)
- You can put broth in ice cubes, and freeze them before giving it to your puppy. The taste alone will entice your puppy to chew them.
- Dip knotted socks or towels (remember knotting them will create a difference between a forbidden object such as new socks and an object that the puppy can chew, such as old socks) into broth and freeze before giving it to the puppy.
Stop Destructive Chewing
If you are still having a problem with you puppy chewing, here are a few suggestions that you could try in order to stop chewing on "forbidden objects."
- Crate train the puppy if you are not able to watch it. This will prevent the puppy from getting a hold of any "forbidden items."
- Remove any "forbidden items" from the puppies reach.
- Use commercial sprays, such as Bitter Apple, to discourage chewing. If you go this route, purcahse one brand, try it on only a small portion of something that the puppy likes to chew. If the puppy likes the flavor, then you don't want to enhance her chewing. By putting it only one a small portion of a chair, you can test out the brand you purchased. If she likes that one, take it back and purchase a different one.
- Do not give your puppy old shoes or socks to chew on- your puppy cannot differentiate old items from your brand new ones and will chew on both. What you can do it take old socks or towels and tie them in knots, this will create a difference between socks and towels the puppy can chew versus those that she cannot. There will be a differen shape to the item.
- Provide plenty of puppy approved toys. Remember puppies have sharp teeth, so flimsy plastic toys will not last long.
- Chewing is a great opportunity to teach the 'Leave it' command, in which the dog, or puppy in this case, learns to leave something alone when told. You can, also, incorporate the 'Drop it' command as well.
During this stage in a puppy's life, you can incorporate basic obedience. Teaching basic commands younger, will give you more time as the puppy grows to teach the fun stuff, like tricks. Also, by beginning basic obedience at a young age, you can perfect the basic obedience commands, such as stay, come, wait, down, etc. Whether you work on obedience solely at home or join a puppy class, it's something that should be considered before you think about adding tricks to the curriculum.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. The methods outlined above may or may not work for your pet. If you have any concerns, you should consult a veterinarian.