Puppies are everywhere around this time of year, which means there is a good chance you have a new member of the family to train and love. Much like parents preparing for their first child, it's important for you to understand the different development stages to come with your growing puppy so you can be ready for them. There are several different stages of puppy growth, and each stage comes with its own set of obstacles to overcome. Here is an overview of what you can expect with your new puppy.
Invest in Durable Chew Toys
Chew toys are used to give your puppy something to gnaw on while his teeth come in. These toys are designed with hard surfaces, and they are usually made from stiff rubber. Stuffed toys are not a good fit for teething puppies because they can rip them open too easily. You want to invest in something that is made to last for the duration of the teething process. Some toys are designed to be stored in the fridge so your dog has something chilly to bite down on. Play around with different options and see what works best for you.
Use Treats to Train Your Puppy
The classic method for teaching teething puppies not to chew on things is to show your dog how to “Leave it.” Using your dog's favorite toy, play tug of war with him for a while so he gets riled up. Then say “Leave it!” and give the dog a treat from your other hand. The dog should drop the toy and go for the treat, assuming he is food driven. If not, you may need to replace a slightly less liked toy with his favorite one.
Use “Leave It” to Show Your Dog What to Chew
Once your dog knows the “Leave It” command, you can use it to show him what he can and cannot chew on. If you notice him gnawing on an inappropriate item, say “Leave it” and give him a treat if he does. Praise the dog when he eats the treat so he knows that is good behavior. Do not punish him for chewing on something without showing him the right way to behave as well.
Keep Your Puppy Contained
It may be best to keep your puppy contained to a certain part of the house while he is going through his teething phase. This is a great time to kennel train your dog so he feels safe in his special area. Use baby gates to block off parts of your home with a lot of furniture or toys that your dog could bite. If you have a laundry room near the back door, you may keep him in there so you can immediately let him outside to run around. Your dog will eventually tire himself out and need to go to sleep, and then you won't have to worry about him chewing on everything.
Spray Deterrents around Your House
You can buy special deterrent spray to squirt around the house so your puppy is less likely to chew on things he's not supposed to. Pay particularly close attention to the legs on chairs and tables, as well as any loose fabric that hands on the bottom of furniture or bedding. If you notice that your dog still chews through the spray, you may need a different deterrent. You may also want to simply move the troublesome piece of furniture out of the way until your dog can control himself.
Follow the tips above, and you will be able to survive the dreaded teething years.