The man on the phone was upset. His pup had just seriously damaged an heirloom chair when he was eating his own breakfast. “He was just out of my sight for a minute!” I nodded at my end of the line. Yup. I know that one, though it hasn’t happened to me recently because I have these five tricks up my sleeve:
- Keep the pup in sight!
In today’s world of open floor plans it is not always a simple task to keep your puppy in view. If you have standard doorways, install gates. If you have wide doorways, use expens or wide gates. If you cannot close off an area, put your puppy on leash or tether them to something stationary (in view) with the leash attached to a flat collar. Or, put them in a playpen in your line of sight. But this is not optional. Repeat after me: Out of sight is into trouble.
- Suspect silence
If I have a pup out of the crate with me, I listen for silence. Silence makes me leap from me chair as silence often means the pup is wildly entertained and wildly entertained often means chewing something they like and I wish they wouldn’t.
- Use toys tactically
Tactical toy use means keeping the best put away until you need it. I need time in the AM to wake up before I start puppy training so I save the best dog chews for that time. The routine is I get up, pup and I go out together, we come back in, I present the toy/chewy with great flourish and excitement. Pup grabs said chewy and gets to work on it and I make coffee. Perfection. What do I use? Food dispensing toys, stuffed kongs, himalayan dog chews, or US bully sticks.
- Put away the priceless
Pups can seem to be drawn to the most expensive or personally cherished items in your home. It’s apparently some sort of dog rule. Put things away until the pup is older, calmer, and more predictable. Yes, yes, they need to learn not to chew your stuff but they can learn that just as well on an inexpensive chair as an antique one.
- Lead them not into temptation
Pups love wicker (Look! Indoor sticks!), fabrics, anything that can be shaken or unstuffed (shaken and unstuffed? BLISS!) your shoes, garbage cans, remote controls and anything else that crunches, unravels, unstuffs and/or smells like you. Just put things away for now. Save you and your pup the wear-and-tear. It’s not cheating to remove the removable; it’s sensible. If you cannot put items away, consider applying a thin layer of liquid hand soap or an anti-chew spray prophylactically (test on a small area before applying liberally). Once your pup has grown up a bit, you can bring things back. Until then, taking the easy route is – well – easier.
These five tricks help me get through the puppy chewing stage with my good humor, my stuff and my bond to the pup intact. And that’s a win/win for all concerned.