My Puppy Wants to Chew Everything, What Now?

Baxter Ridgeback/15 weeks old/ IG: https://www.instagram.com/baxter_ridgeback_mdp

Puppy nipping can be frustrating, but thankfully it usually only last between the fourth and sixth month of a puppies life. Now, the reason they are chewing on everything they see is because they need to rock those teeth lose. Also, they don’t have hands, and can only interact with the world by using their mouth. The need to chew combined with their level of curiosity is what defines how intense their nipping will become. We will discuss what usually causes puppies to nip, and how to manage this.

What Causes Puppy Nipping?

There are a few things that cause puppy nipping aka oral displacement behavior to increase.

  1. The environment stimulation is high.
  2. Dog gets excited.
  3. Curiosity, and they need to further examine something. They don’t have hands, so they can only use their mouth.
  4. They need to rock the puppy teeth lose.

How to Limit Puppy Nipping.

Here are a few ways you can manage puppy nipping. First, document when they are most active, when behavioral issues really present themselves.

  1. Do a constructive activity ( running, recall, small obstacles). Being outside offers the most stimulation
  2. Vet check, desensitize unnatural behaviors like face to face, and rubbing and grabbing paws
  3. 2a. Long slow strokes from shoulder to tip of tail (if no reaction, reward with a high value treat like a piece of turkey hotdog)
  4. 2b. Long slow strokes from shoulder to back, and hover near the back (if no reaction, reward)
  5. Holding natural chew (jerky, pig ear, etc.) in hand while they avoid your fingers (if no reaction, reward) teaches them to be careful with their mouth
  6. Place hand underneath collar (if no reaction, reward)
  7. Group socialization. Other dogs are great at teaching pups how to behave.
  8. Redirect them to an appropriate item to chew when they are nipping.
  9. Lower your emotional level. The more your behavior changes, the more your pup thinks you’re giving them attention.

Hopefully, this has helped you understand puppy nipping. Remember, it’s natural, it’s frustrating, and it’s normal. Be patient and redirect their oral displacement behavior towards an acceptable chew item. These aren’t the only ways to limit puppy nipping, but it’s a start.

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