The top two challenges for puppy owners are housebreaking and puppy biting. Everyone acknowledges that it is normal for puppies to bite and chew, but they are always blown away by HOW MUCH they incessantly bite and chew. Many owners are shocked, because they thought they signed up for a cute little puppy and they got a T-rex dinosaur who is always on the attack.
So here are three reasons why puppies bite, and how to solve them…
Teething: Just like babies, puppy’s go through teething as their new teeth come in. Some owners forget this concept. This is the reason why your puppy seeks out cold hard items to chew on…the steel legs of a chair, iron base of a table, knobs of a kitchen draw, etc.
So in order to help relieve your dog’s teething gums, provide them a suitable cold item for them to play with. A Kong toy stuffed with wet dog food or a little creamy peanut butter and frozen, is my typical go-to. Some companies sell products specifically designed for this purpose. The key is the cold.
Pent Up Energy: I tell puppy owners all the time, as soon as you let your puppy out of the crate, take them immediately outside to go to the bathroom and tire them out. I feel it’s important to preemptively drain their energy in a productive manner. This will help to “take the edge off” of their biting/chewing and also help to develop the bond between you and your new dog. Take your dog to the bathroom, on a short walk, light play session and a little obedience training – this will go a long way. A puppy with too much pent up energy will no doubt get into mischief. It is better to be proactive in relieving their energy, then it is to wait until they start getting into trouble.
Overtired: This is a big one that is so often overlooked. Most owners get the concept of tiring their dog out, but they forget that puppies need a lot of sleep. Most of a puppy’s day is sleeping. Just like a small child, an overtired puppy is more likely to not listen and get into a chewing frenzy. If you feel like your dog has been sufficiently tired out, but they are still going at a 100mph, it is time to have them relax.
This is when I use their crate as a safe place for them to feel secure and sleep. The crate is never a punishment, and they will not interpret it as such. Proper crate training is essential and one of the first things I do with all puppies and adult dogs. Puppies will often “go-go-go” even when they are tired. They don’t always appropriately self-regulate, electively choosing to sleep. Sometimes we need to act as the thinking adult humans that we are, and help them make the right choices.
Puppies bite, chew, and are A LOT of work. If your lifestyle can not handle this, do not get a puppy. Instead, adopt a dog who is 6+ months old. You will have an amazing dog without the hassles, headaches, and extra work of a puppy. However if you do choose a puppy, make sure to give them suitable cold toys for their teething, preemptively drain their energy, and then let them get the adequate sleep they require at this age. It is a very simple formula that will help both you and your dog.
Putnam Dog Trainer Steve Reid of S.R. Dog Training is the best choice for puppy training and dog training in Westchester NY and Connecticut. Read more at www.srdogtraining.com and www.Facebook.com/SRDogTraining.