A puppy chewing furniture is a fairly common issue. Puppies use their mouths as a way of exploring things. Chewing is a normal behavior, but it can be a problem if they’re chewing objects such as your shoes, furniture, or YOU! If this habit isn’t corrected early on, it can lead to the destruction of your property on a very large scale, not to mention medical problems for the dog if they’re eating stuff they chew. Learning how to get a puppy to stop chewing furniture (and everything else!) should be considered an urgent priority.
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Possible Causes for Puppies Chewing
There are several possible causes for your puppy’s destructive chewing. By identifying why your puppy is behaving this way, you’ll find it easier to figure out how to stop it.
Teething. Just like with human babies, teething is a painful process for puppies. They do tend to chew more during this time because their gums are so irritated, and the chewing helps to relieve the discomfort.
They’re babies! Just like little humans, puppies like to put things in their mouths. It’s how they explore the world around them. Usually, just like with human babies, puppies will outgrow this habit over time. The best thing to do is puppy proof your house in the meantime, and definitely begin establishing yourself as the pack leader so you can be the boss in the chewing department as well as other unwanted behaviors that can come up as the puppy grows. You can read my article about establishing yourself as the pack leader HERE.
Separation anxiety. If the puppy is chewing furniture or other items while you’re away from home, then he may be suffering from separation anxiety. This needs to be addressed by discovering the underlying issue for the anxiety and taking steps to correct it. You can read my article about solving separation anxiety in dogs HERE. If your puppy or dog is not just chewing on furniture, but absolutely destroying it, he’s likely suffering from separation anxiety.
Instinct. Chewing is a normal, natural behavior, not only for puppies, but for adult dogs as well. “Normal,” that is, if it’s not excessive. If you learn to calmly and immediately correct your puppy or dog when he’s chewing on something other than his own chew toys, then this won’t be a problem.
Boredom. Puppies have an enormous amount of energy, as do many breeds of adult dogs. They have to direct that energy somewhere – and that might just end up being your coffee table! Evaluate whether your puppy is getting enough physical activity. Is he being taken for a walk every day? Are his walks long enough? How about mental stimulation – does he have toys to play with? They say a tired dog is a good dog. This is absolutely true.
Medical issues. I had a miniature dachshund named Maggie years ago who suddenly started eating rocks from the driveway. She would eat the rocks, then eventually poop them out and the poor dog would cry every time she went to the bathroom because pooping out rocks is painful! I took her to the vet and he said it’s likely she had a vitamin deficiency and was eating rocks to try to compensate. He suggested giving her a daily multivitamin. I did, and it worked! She stopped eating the rocks within just a few days.
So if your puppy is chewing on furniture or other things, he may have some sort of nutritional deficiency and he’s trying to compensate for it. I do suggest a daily multivitamin. You can purchase vitamins here. Your puppy may also be suffering from gastrointestinal issues. This might cause him to use chewing to bring on vomiting, trying to make himself feel better. If the chewing started suddenly, that’s an additional indicator that he may need a vet visit to see if he’s having a problem.
Here are some steps you can take to get ahead of this problem before it’s too late. Later in this article, I’ll be referring you to a dog training website called The Online Dog Trainer that will offer much more advanced help as well.
Puppy proof your home. Look around for any possible dangers to your puppy. Put household cleaners and chemicals out of his reach, as well as any potentially toxic plants. Make sure electrical cords are either made inaccessible or covered. Your puppy chewing on those could result in electrocution. Also remove items that are likely to appeal to your puppy like shoes, socks, children’s toys, etc. And block access to rooms you don’t want the puppy in with baby gates. You might also consider crate training your puppy for the times when he cannot be supervised. You can view my video about puppy crate training, HERE.
Show them what to chew on. The best way to encourage appropriate chewing is to provide chew toys for your puppy to enjoy. You can find a nice selection of inexpensive puppy chew toys HERE. Make sure you’re giving toys that are appropriate for puppies, and make sure the toy doesn’t have any small parts that can be broken off and swallowed. I don’t recommend rawhide or bones for puppies or adult dogs because they can be chewed down into smaller pieces that can be choked on. Toys like nylabones and greenies are appropriate for puppies, and dental chew sticks are also good since they also help combat dental disease. Again, you can find a selection of such toys HERE.
Redirect them if they’re chewing on something they shouldn’t. If you’ve followed the steps we’ve already talked about, then you’ve already minimized the amount of stuff your puppy can get his paws on! But if you do find your puppy chewing on something that’s not his, redirect the dog to one of his own toys.
Lastly, engage in playtime with your puppy. Like I said earlier in this article, a tired dog is a good dog. Spend time playing with your puppy and make sure he gets lots of exercise. Throw a ball for him, run around with him in the yard. This will not only provide your puppy with healthy exercise but will also help create a wonderful bond for the two of you. And take advantage of the fact that if you have children, they likely have the same high energy levels as your puppy!
Doggy Dan’s dog training website, The Online Dog Trainer, has more than 250 step-by-step videos covering every dog and puppy training issue you can think of! Doggy Dan also includes his puppy training program called “Project Moses,” where he videotapes his weekly training sessions with his new puppy, Moses, from the time he gets Moses at age 8 weeks, all the way up to one year! This training is absolutely priceless if you have a new puppy! I definitely encourage you to check out Doggy Dan’s training videos – your entire household will thank you for it! Please come back and comment below to let me know how you make out! Debra 🙂
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