PUPPY TEETHING PHASE
First things first, dogs communicate A LOT through their mouths.. just look at the way dog on dog interactions happen. On top of this innate desire to want to mouth and bite everything, puppies start mouthing things from birth. Like a teething baby, puppies need regular opportunities to chew on things as well. Below are our tips on how to tackle the nipping/biting phase...
Management and Prevention - Start by ‘puppy proofing' your house with the help of baby gates, puppy pens, crates e.t.c. So you have safe areas where you can pop your puppy if you are not supervising him/her. This immediately prevents them from chewing on things they shouldn’t like shoes and electrical cords or perhaps following you down the hallway gnawing on your Achilles tendon!!
Appropriate Outlets - It’s very easy to jump to reprimanding a puppy for biting something they shouldn’t, but puppies need to explore things with their mouth in order to learn and grow.
Give your puppy LOT’S of enrichment in their puppy pen. This means things they ARE allowed to chew and destroy; Commercial products like KONGs, ice blocks with stock (outside in Summer), a cardboard box/toilet paper roll with some biscuits or a treat inside or a pigs ear (in moderation). Always supervise your puppy with any new/homemade enrichment items first time round.
Play Tug! Playing with your pup is such a great way to bond. Teach them a safe game of tug-o-war (we have a video on our page on how to do this) and this immediately puts something between your skin and their teeth. If you are wanting cuddles on the couch, and they are wanting to chew your ear off.. literally.. put them in the pen with something TO chew rather than fight them for a cuddle.
Divert and Distract - If your puppy has grabbed something they shouldn’t have, such as a shoe avoid chasing after them. As soon as you place your attention on the item it immediately becomes a game and more valuable. Instead pretend like there’s something really interesting in another area of the room and when your puppy comes over to investigate get excited, praise them and give one of their toys to play with.