When it comes to puppy biting and chewing, your new puppy has a secret name.
This is how it works, you get to name us when you come to pick us up. Secretly,
we name ourselves with a name that totally fits our personality and temperament.
While all of us are cute and cuddly the first few days, once we get used to our new
humans and our new home – let the games begin! Our inner secret names come out
big time. Cute and cuddly turns into names like Tornado, Puddles, Piddles, Trouble or in my case, Tasmanian Devil – that’s Taz for short, thank you.
Graphic Courtesy Of: Taz by Robert McKimson Warner Brothers & Loony Tunes.
Before you know it, you have a whirling dervish of chewing and biting along with furniture stuffing flying and shoes left in tatters. Oh, and for the record, if you give us an old shoe or slipper to play with please remember that we cannot tell the difference between old and new. So while we may be cute chewing on that old shoe, I assure you – you will not think we are cute chewing on one of your expensive heels or loafers.
We love to bite and chew – anything and everything. That is the way we communicate – we love to love-bite and chew, it is how we play and have fun. Biting and chewing is how we learn about each other and what’s what. It is also how we learn our limits and your tolerance threshold and breaking point. I had a litter-mate who thought her name was Darn-it Daffney.
We really don’t mean to hurt you with our biting, we just get really excited and rambunctious. Our Veterinarian suggested that my mom yell OUCH!!!! when I bite too hard. The last thing we want to do is hurt you – our only goal in life is to please you. After a few well voiced ouchs, we will get the point and just mouth-play after that.
It is really confusing and hard for us to understand reprimands, spanking and punishment – we are not old enough to wrap our heads around that kind of treatment yet. Again, chewing and biting is the way we express the pleasure of your company, play with you and show our love. Give us a few days to learn not to hurt you in the process.
There are several things you can do to when it comes to our puppy love biting and chewing that will curb the behavior without deterring our playful and loving nature, not to mention our natural instinct to chew.
Our birth-Moms Call It The R.E.S.T. Method.
Replace– Be sure to buy us toys to chew on instead of your furniture, shoes and you. There are SmartBones®, ropes, semi-hard rubber toys and Nylabone® products.
Be sure we know where to find then and that they are always available – just in case the urge to chew hits (you snack from time to time, don’t you?). When a puppy has to chew he has to chew. Yelling ‘NO’ simply doesn’t work. We need a replacement to chew on.
Energize– A lot of times wee-little ones just need to play and biting you is our invitation for you to play with us.
Instead of scolding us, take a few minutes out of your day to play with us. We need some high-energy playful games. We love to wrestle around, chase and be chased or playing fetch with a ball. Once the games begin, we forget about the biting and chewing.
Playing can be a bonus for you to. It will get you up and out of your chair and moving around, which is great (according to Dr. Oz) and it will burn lots of energy for us wee-ones so we will settle in for a nap or nite-nite.
Just be sure to take us outside immediately after playing so we can do our duty and not become pee-ones!
Settle – Sometimes, when we get overexcited, we start to nip and bite. You will see the difference when we go from having playful fun to frantic showing of teeth, growling, and nipping and biting again.
You need to remind us we have go over your tolerance threshold and settle us down by petting rhythmically, keeping us in one position, preferably down on our side. Lower your voice and hold us until you feel us relax.
When we relax, then you can start with the “good boy/girl” praise, make eye contact with us and say it again and then gently letting us get up and romp around.
Pushing us away translates into yet another game, inciting our instinct to play – most likely rougher than before.
Trap– If your puppy has free-run of your home it will be more difficult to control our chewing.
By nature, we love to have our own rooms. That is why you will find us hiding under the beds or other furniture. We need a safe place to retreat to that has puppy-friendly materials and toys in place for our chewing pleasure and entertainment.
We think of our creates as our rooms. We feel safe in there. Putting a piece of fabric over the exposed side of the create and across the top will give us a private place to curl up and nap, sleep or just relax – knowing that we will not be getting into trouble again anytime soon.
I know, our puppy biting and chewing is really hard on your sanity, but it is also hard for us to give up. It is up to you to help us to stop puppy biting and chewing by teaching us that this is not acceptable behavior. Be patient, it may take some time. Remember, we have the attention span of a gnat, but over time we will learn right from wrong. Just take a deep breath and remember the four simple tips – Replace, Energize, Settle and Trap before yelling or punishing us. We will eventually come to an understanding and enjoy a long and, wonderful relationship.
And yes, the older we get the more we will understand that you are the boss and head of the pack. Well, at least we will let you believe that.
The Taz graphic is by Robert McKimson
Warner Brothers & Loony
Tunes are registered trademarks.