Puppies can learn what’s OK to chew
I adopted a puppy that is teething. Is there anything I can do to stop it from chewing?
Answer: Puppies begin losing baby teeth at about 3 1/2 months old. Although annoying to you, chewing helps aid teething and makes tender gums feel better, which might lead to chewing on furniture, shoes or the remote control -- all behaviors that should be discouraged.
To alleviate pressure on its gums, offer frozen treats. Chicken broth, carrot juice or yogurt frozen in ice cube trays are quick and easy teething snacks. Freezing chewable toys dipped in chicken broth or carrot juice is another idea. Whatever method you choose should be approved by your veterinarian first.
Giving a puppy rawhide to ease discomfort is not recommended because of the risk of choking. If you are concerned about chicken broth or carrot juice staining carpets and floors, give your pup these yummy teething aids in her crate, which will also teach her to enjoy that private space.
If she nibbles on inappropriate items, interrupt with a loud noise -- one that she associates with chewing and not with you -- then, offer her an acceptable chew toy and provide praise when she takes the toy in her mouth.
Dog-proof your house by keeping chewable items out of your pup's reach, or make them less appealing by spraying "Bitter Apple" or other chew deterrents made for dogs.
Q: How can we train it to understand that putting its teeth on our skin and clothing is not acceptable?
A: You want your pup to learn bite inhibition: control over how much force it uses with its jaw. If it bites or nips, say "ouch" loudly and quickly. Fold your arms and walk away from it. The "ouch" startles the puppy, and the arm folding and walking away is the consequence of its unwelcome action. It'll start to understand that if it puts her teeth on you or your clothes, you'll interrupt the behavior and it'll lose her playmate. Continue training until teething has ended.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.