Puppies are really cute, but they can also really destroy your house. And don’t fool yourself into thinking they will just outgrow it – while it’s said that puppies chew more than adult dogs, a puppy that is allowed to chew whatever it wants has the potential to become a problem chewer as an adult.
Tips for keeping your furniture from being shredded by your latest addition to the family.
1. Give your puppy its own space. You can’t remove all the furniture from your home, so you need to have a furniture-free area for your puppy. A crate is ideal, or a small room or gated-off area in the home.
2. Give your puppy lots of appropriate chew toys. After all, chewing is a natural need and should be satisfied. If your puppy is teething, you can put rubber-type toys in the refrigerator first to help soothe your puppy’s gums.
3. Get your puppy interested in the toys by smearing a little peanut butter on them or some other tasty substance. You don’t need much; just enough to attract the puppy to the toy (they have an excellent sense of smell, after all). Then praise your puppy for chewing on the toy.
4. Make sure the toys do not resemble anything you don’t want your puppy to chew. For example, fringed rope toys might be a bad idea if you have a rug with fringes that you don’t want chewed. Soft, plush toys can feel similar in a puppy’s mouth as couch pillows and upholstered chairs. If you have a lot of leather or vinyl furniture, don’t get toys that have that type of rubber or leather texture.
5. Make sure your puppy has a lot of exercise. This not only takes time away from chewing – puppy can’t chew when he’s out walking with you – but it also tires your puppy out so he will be more likely to sleep than chew when left alone.
6. Age-appropriate training is essential. Again, this helps prevent destructive chewing by teaching your puppy the house rules. It also takes time and mental energy, which will tire your puppy out.
7. Make it taste bad. There are commercial sprays available that are supposed to make off-limit objects (like your furniture) taste bad, thus deterring chewing.
8. Be consistent in your response to inappropriate chewing. When you see your puppy starting to put its mouth on a piece of furniture, say “no” firmly, give the puppy’s neck scruff a gentle shake (this is what mother dogs do), and direct the puppy to a chew toy. Then praise the puppy for chewing on the right thing.