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How to Prevent Destructive Puppy Behavior

Stopping Puppy Destruction

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Puppies Chewing - Photo of Chewing Puppy
Photo © Bukowsky18 on flickr

For puppies, the entire world is a chew toy. Puppies explore the world with their mouths. Unfortunately, their explorations are not limited to their own toys. Your shoes, furniture, children's toys, and anything else lying around the house is fair game for a teething puppy. It is mind-boggling how much damage one small puppy can do to your home when left unattended. It is also dangerous, as your puppy can chew things that may harm him. While it takes time and training to completely end your puppy's destructive behavior, there are some things you can do to improve the problem until your puppy is completely trained.

Puppy-Proof Your Home

Puppies should not have the full run of your home until they are completely trained is supervised. Many people choose to use the kitchen since it is easier to clean up accidents off an uncarpeted floor. Once you have decided on the areas your puppy will be allowed to play, take a good look around and begin puppy-proofing. Pick up or move any objects that your puppy might decide to chew. Get down at his level to see what might appeal to him. Remove or cover any electrical wires, houseplants, garbage pails, children's toys, and anything else you don't want your puppy to chew or knock over.

Crate Train Your Puppy

While crate training is usually talked about in terms of housebreaking, it is also a good tool for curbing destructive puppies. When you are not able to supervise your puppy, crating can keep him and your home safe. If you do not have a crate, you can confine him to a small, puppy-proof room such as a bathroom or kitchen.

Provide Your Puppy with Toys

Puppies need to chew. Chewing allows them to ease teething pain, and it alleviates boredom. If you do not provide your puppy with his own toys, he will start finding things on his own – like your shoes and furniture. To prevent your puppy from getting in the habit of inappropriate chewing, make sure you provide him with lots of toys of his own. Toys that work well for puppies are small Kong toys, stuffed animals with squeakers inside, and nylon bones. There is some controversy over the safety of things like rawhides, pig's ears, and other edible chews. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian before giving any of these items to your puppy.

Rotate Your Puppy's Toys

Since puppies chew to alleviate boredom, it is a good idea to rotate your puppy's toys every few days. If your puppy is given the same toys day after day, he may become bored with them. He will be looking for something new and interesting to sink his teeth into. If you change his toys around every few days, you will be keeping your pup interested in the things you want him to chew, and he is less likely to start gnawing on the kitchen cabinets.

Redirect Your Puppy When He Makes a Mistake

When you see your puppy begin to chew on something inappropriate, do not scold him. Instead, move him away from the object and redirect him to something you want him to chew. Make his toy more interesting by squeaking a squeaky toy or shaking a bone while talking to him in a happy tone of voice. Give him lots of praise for chewing his toys.

Give Your Puppy Plenty of Exercise

A tired puppy is a happy puppy. Be sure to give your puppy enough playtime and cuddle time. If he has had all of his vaccinations, make walks part of his daily routine. If he is left to his own devices, your puppy is going to start looking for his own ways to burn off energy. This leads to destructive behavior. A puppy who gets regular exercise is much more likely to be well-behaved.

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