Is chewing normal? And if it is, can I somehow get him to do it less often?
You want your puppy to chew his toys… not you, your shoes, books or furniture. Here’s how to correct problem chewing.
Why Puppies Chew
Puppies chew for many reasons:
- To release pent-up energy
- Teething, which generally occurs between three and six months of age
- Separation anxiety or boredom (likely if your puppy only chews when he is alone)
- Because the puppy simply finds chewing enjoyable
If chewing only happens when left alone, try confinement (click here to see our guide to crate-training), and speak to a qualified puppy trainer or behaviorist.
Something to keep in mind: some behavior that looks like chewing or biting is actually exploratory “mouthing.” Puppies learn about an object's feel and texture with their mouths in the way people learn those things by feeling with their hands.
Correcting Problem Chewing
- Buy appropriate chew toys.
- Say "no" or "eh" in a low voice when you see something you don’t want him chewing. (It's a sound similar to a mother's growl, which your puppy will take as a sign of disapproval).
- If your puppy stops to look at you, praise him calmly and give your puppy a preferred chew toy.
- Do not use old shoes, socks or gloves, as that will actually train your puppy to chew your things.
- Keep things you don’t want him to chew out of his reach.
- Praise your puppy whenever you see him chewing a puppy toy. This teaches your puppy that it is not chewing that is wrong—just chewing the wrong things.
- Rotate chew toys to provide novelty.
- Confine your puppy in a safe area or crate your puppy when you aren’t home.
- Make your puppy exercise often. (Click here to learn how much exercise puppies need.)
- Reward and praise your puppy for chewing the right thing. Don’t yell at him for chewing the wrong thing.