Puppies can be destructive in the home for many reasons but the most common reason is because they are teething. Puppies start losing their baby teeth when they are around four months old and they continue to teeth until they are nearly 18 months old when their lower jaw, which grows very slowly, finally stops growing. That’s a long time to go through some tooth and dental changes! During this entire time you should provide your puppy with plenty of toys and safe things to chew on in order to encourage him to chew on his things instead of yours.
Other reasons puppies chew
While teething is the most common reason that puppies chew on things in the home, there are other reasons, too. Puppies learn by tasting things and putting them in their mouths. That means your puppy wants to lick and chew just about anything that will fit in his mouth. He doesn’t care if it cost 10 cents or $10,000. Your fishing hook is interesting to him and so is your diamond engagement ring. He’ll happily chew on both of them if you leave them lying around. So put things away. If you have a puppy, you have to learn to keep things out of his reach, at least while he’s young. Once he’s about two years old you can start leaving things lying around again but for the first couple of years of your puppy’s life, you have to put things away. Otherwise, your puppy WILL eat your remote control, your sunglasses, your smart phone, your shoes, your purse, your wallet, and anything else he can reach. That’s what puppies do. They put things in their mouths.
Puppies also play with inappropriate things. Your puppy will think books, DVDs, CDs, cushions, and other things in your house make great toys. Puppies love to play and they can make just about anything they find into a toy. For this reason, put away anything you value and anything your puppy could play with. Instead, provide your puppy with LOTS of his own toys and things to chew on. The more things he has of his own, the less likely he is to eat your sofa.
Deterrents to chewing
If your puppy is chewing on woodwork or furniture, you can use bitter apple spray or crème applied to the wood. Bitter apple is easy to obtain from the pet store or online. It is very bitter tasting and when your puppy tastes it, it makes most puppies stop their chewing.
If your puppy is chewing on electrical or computer cords, you can buy plastic casing for the cords online or in pet stores so your puppy can’t electrocute himself or chew through the cords. Try to keep the cords taped down behind furniture as much as possible so your puppy won’t notice them.
If your puppy is getting into cabinets or opening other doors, use childproof locks. They work for puppies, too.
One good way to prevent your puppy from destroying your home is to crate train him. You should not, of course, keep him crated all the time, but it is often a good idea to crate a puppy when you have to be away from home for a couple of hours so he can’t get into things and hurt himself.
Most puppies chew on things because they are teething but puppies also chew on things in the home out of curiosity and because they are playing. Provide your puppy with lots of toys and safe things to chew on to help him teeth and so he can play safely.