Teething: It’s not just for toddlers. How to handle your puppy’s teething troubles
When most people bring home their cute new puppies, the furthest thing from their minds is the stressful time of teething. Just as with babies teething, puppies will want to chew on everything they can get their mouth on. This can lead to total destruction of your belongings, but there are tried and true ways to help prevent this from happening, and help you and your pup get through the teething period with ease.
Many people bring home their new pup and leave them out to romp around the house when they’re not home. Inevitably, this leads to chewing on shoes, books, socks, the couch, and any number of other things. The best way to prevent destructive chewing is to crate train your dog. To do this, you will need a crate that is just big enough for your dog to turn around in. Make the crate a safe and happy place for your dog. Provide him with stimulating toys while he is in the crate. Crate training your dog will not only prevent destructive chewing, but will also aid in potty training and create a positive and safe environment for your dog to be when you’re not around. Some people think that keeping a dog in a crate when they’re not around is cruel. This is not the case at all. Dogs by nature like small, darkened places and tend to feel very safe in crates. Almost all dog trainers today believe that crate training is a necessary and positive part of your puppy’s development. If your dog is crated while you are not home, they will not have the opportunity to chew on your belongings and other harmful things such as power cords.
The next most important thing to teach your dog when he is teething is which toys are his and what is off limits. Purchase good things to chew on such as Kong toys or Bully Sticks. Kongs are made of tough rubber and can be filled with goodies such as peanut butter or cheese. They are excellent chew toys and wonderful for the teething period. Bully Sticks are 100% natural and 100% digestible dog chews that are low in fat and great for your dog to chew on. Other chew toys that could be used are Nylabones which are made out of solid hard plastic and have bumps on them to soothe teething gums or other toys made of hard rubber or plastic. Reinforce which toy is for your dog by giving him his chew toy and saying something like, “Here is your toy, good boy!” If your dog chooses something that he is not to chew on, take it away and replace it with one of his chew toys repeating, “This is your toy, good boy!” With persistence, he will learn what is his to chew on and what he is not to chew on.
Another important thing to train your dog during the teething period is bite inhibition. In packs of dogs, the mother or other dogs would teach this to the pups, but in a home situation, it is up to you. Teething puppies will put their mouths on you and you must teach them at an early age that this is not acceptable. Just as mentioned above, every time they exhibit mouthing behavior, you must redirect them to an acceptable chew toy. Another important factor in bite inhibition and limiting mouthing behavior is proper socialization. It is very important in this stage to take your dog to a puppy class or puppy play group. Many good trainers offer these services. When allowed to play with other pups, your dog will learn what is acceptable play behavior. The other dogs will help your dog to learn that biting is not appropriate. You must also socialize your dog to many different kinds of people and situations. This will help your dog to not be afraid of new things and will significantly lower the potential for biting.
By following the above advice as well as the advice of your veterinarian, you can rest assured that the teething period will be a positive learning period for you and your puppy.