Puppy Chewing

SYS! Save your shoes by training your puppy to chew the right things.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
3-minute read
Episode #1

Like all young animals, puppies explore the world and ask questions about it. Human babies use words and hands; puppies use their jaws and teeth. They will experiment on anything in reach, including your furniture, your shoes, and, of course, you. Does this taste good? Will it squeak? Chewing also helps puppies develop their jaws. And it soothes the pain of teething.

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Preventing your puppy from nipping people warrants its own podcast, and I’ll talk about that subject in a future episode. But for today I’ll be explaining how to keep your puppy busy and content without sacrificing everything you own.

How to Get Your Puppy to Stop Chewing

Make sure your puppy has appropriate outlets to satisfy her need to chew. Dogs have individual preferences in chew toys. Many, maybe most, love the hollow rubber shapes that can be stuffed with food (these toys are also excellent for preventing food theft once your dog gets older). The brand you’re likeliest to see is Kong. If your puppy’s easily discouraged, start with a mixture of half canned and half dry food. Succeeding at easy chewing jobs will help her learn to stay on task. As she gets better and better at excavating, you can up the ante. For maximum chewing time, wedge biscuits into the bottom of the toy, pack it with food, and then freeze it overnight.

Use some of your puppy’s food for this kind of training and use stuffed toys to satiate the rest of your puppy’s desire to chew. By using this combination of training, you’ll meet his daily needs for chewing and mental exercise. This training is also great for bad-weather busywork to keep an energetic puppy from climbing the walls.

Some toys aren’t made for excavation; instead, you fill them with dry food. The dog shakes, pushes, or tosses


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).