It’s easy to dismiss chewing and play biting as normal puppy behaviour. However, these can become more serious, long-term issues if they’re not handled correctly. Training your puppy to behave takes time, but getting started on dealing with problems as soon as possible can help speed this up.
Puppies chew on objects around the home as a way of exploring their environment. Chewing can also provide pain relief when puppies have teeth coming in. While this behaviour is common, it can become destructive when puppies chew up furniture, clothing and other inappropriate items. Chewing can also be hazardous, such as when puppies chew on wires.
If your puppy’s chewing is destructive, try the following:
- Redirect your puppy’s behaviour by giving him something more appropriate to chew on, such as chew toys or puzzle toys that you can fill with treats or food.
- Make sure that wires and other hazardous objects aren’t within your dog’s reach.
- Give your puppy a stern “no” when you catch him chewing on something inappropriate.
Puppies will use their teeth when play fighting, but this behaviour should be quickly discouraged before it becomes a bigger problem. While play biting might seem harmless when your puppy is small, keep in mind that puppy teeth are very sharp and can puncture skin easily. Letting your puppy play bite also teaches him that it’s alright for him to use his teeth on you and other people, which can become dangerous when he’s an adult dog.
If your puppy is play biting, try the following:
- Distract your puppy with toys when you’re playing with him.
- Don’t roughhouse or play games that encourage your puppy to play bite.
- Yelp or make a high-pitched sound when your puppy bites, then praise him when he stops.
When trying to correct puppy behavioural issues, keep in mind that consistency is important. With time and practice, your puppy will learn the proper ways to behave.
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