Most of us have figured out by now you can’t actually stop a puppy from chewing.
Puppies (and a lot of dogs) need to chew!
But, you can prevent them from chewing inappropriate objects like shoes and furniture by providing them with appropriate items like bones and toys.
Here are some of my tips to stop inappropriate chewing. Now that we have an adolescent foster dog, I’ve used all of these recently!
Please list your own tips in the comments to help myself and others.
How to stop a puppy from chewing
1. Keep everything picked up.
I try to”puppy proof” our living room the best I can by at least keeping items off the ground. This is the room foster dog Lana spends most time in when she is not in her kennel.
Lana will grab stray socks, cups, pens or pretty much anything that happens to be on the floor, so I do my best to keep things off the floor! I also make sure there are no cell phone chargers, head phone chords, etc., dangling at her eye level.
We keep our shoes on a small shelf, and after telling her “no” a few times, she understands shoes on the shelf are off limits. But, she is an older puppy (about 9 months) and is learning some self-control. Younger puppies will be more likely to grab shoes laces, chords, etc. I also wouldn’t trust Lana for more than 3 minutes or so unsupervised.
2. Keep two toys out at a time for your puppy to chew.
I keep 2 to 4 toys out for Lana at a time. To keep her interested, I rotate which toys are out at one time. She has about 5 favorite toys to chew and play with, so whenever she is not in her kennel, I choose a few toys to give her.
That way, if she tries to chew or grab something like the remote control or a sock, I can calmly say “no” and then offer her a rope toy or ball. “Good girl!”
3. Provide different types of toys.
It helps if you know what types of toys your puppy likes to chew the most. My foster puppy loves to chew on rubber Kong-type toys, balls and rope toys. She doesn’t care as much for plastic squeaky toys, and I don’t give her plush toys because she ruins them immediately.
Offering a variety of toys helps to keep the puppy’s interest. I also like to mix up the kinds of treats I use to stuff in Kongs and other treat-dispensing toys. One day it might be peanut butter and a biscuit. The next it might be treats from Green Bark Gummies, etc.
4. Calmly say “no” when your puppy chews something inappropriate.
I don’t ignore unwanted behavior, I calmly and firmly tell my foster puppy “no” when she chews something inappropriate. Then I instantly offer her a toy and reward her.
Some trainers will tell you to just ignore unwanted behavior, which is a great idea for many scenarios. For chewing, I like to catch the puppy right before she has a chance to chew or right as she has the item and tell her “no.”
Look at this crazy dog:
5. Use a kennel or gated-off area when you can’t supervise.
When I can’t supervise Lana, she is in her kennel. That’s just the way it has to be for now. I can leave her for 3 minutes or so while I’m just doing something in another room, but even if I leave to take a shower she is either in the bathroom with me or in her kennel.
Leaving her alone for even 10 minutes would give her way too much time to chew something she shouldn’t.
I like to recommend a kennel (crate), but you could also try gating off a bathroom or kitchen area or perhaps using an exercise pen, which is a gate set up sort of like a toddler’s “play pen.”
6. Train your puppy to lie down and stay.
Teaching your puppy all the basic obedience commands like sit, down, stay and come will help her build more self-control overall.
The most helpful command when dealing with chewing is “stay.” That way, you can put your puppy in a down/stay, and she will stay there for at least short periods of time. Start with just a second or two, of course, and slowly work up to 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 mins, etc.
7. Provide lots of exercise.
Increasing your puppy’s exercise is not going to stop her from chewing, but it will decrease her energy overall which means she is more likely to relax and just lie down.
OK … sometimes it may seem like your puppy is never going to be tired, but increased exercise can only help. Make sure your puppy is getting time to run and play in an off-leash area if possible, and make sure to take her on long walks.
See my post on walking a puppy before she’s had her vaccinations.
8. Use a bitter apple no-chew spray.
I haven’t used this type of product with Lana, but I’ve used it with past puppies. If your puppy just can’t seem to stop putting her mouth on something like her leash or your hands, you can spray bitter apple spray for puppies right on the leash or on your table leg or whatever it is she can’t seem to stop chewing.
Bitter apple spray is just as it sounds. It’s a bad-tasting spray that will not harm your puppy but will hopefully stop her from chewing furniture, her leash, etc. Some puppies don’t seem to even notice the spray, while it does work well for others.
What tips do the rest of you have to stop a puppy from chewing?
Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click on one of those links and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.
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