All puppies go through a chewing stage. Some fall in love with shoes and will gnaw through your Fendi's , your Ferragamo's and gasp, your Manolo's in a flash. They will even chew your Dollar Store mock crocs, dogs are not snobs when it comes to "woofing" down a good shoe. You want to protect your shoes, of course, but you also want to teach your dog better manners as well. Chewing is normal, chewing shoes is unacceptable. He must learn what he can and cannot chew on, so you must provide him with a good replacement. Chewing is usually at its very worst when the puppy is teething- just like a baby they are losing their needle sharp puppy teeth and growing in their big dog teeth, and that can be stressful and painful. Chewing is the way that they cope with this pain, and how they will speed up the process by pulling the puppy teeth out. You will know its time when you are playing tug of war with him and he pulls back with a slightly gap toothed smile and you find his sharp tooth imbedded in the toy.
Your puppy is just like a baby, exploring his world by sniffing, mouthing and sometimes chomping on everything they can reach. Crate training your dog can help save your shoes, but it will stop his inherent need to chew, chew, chew, so be ready to give him safe, yet fun toys to sink his puppy fangs into.
Anything that a dog can fit comfortably into their mouth is too small for them. The minute you see that they can accomplish this, take that item away out of reach. Before buying a toy, tug on it and see if pieces come off into your hand, if they do they will end up swallowed by your pet making them unsafe. Look for any hard, sharp or unfinished edges, as well as any attachments that could be pulled off and swallowed. Just as you would with an infant's toy, thoroughly inspect the eyes or other facial features, or better yet, opt for toys that have these stamped on instead.
Never substitute your old shoes or personal clothing pieces for your puppy's toys. They cannot tell the difference between an old, smelly gym shoe and this year's hottest stiletto heeled pump so don't set yourself up for that heart break. If you let him chew on one shoe or shirt, he will assume he has the green light for all of them- your closet will suddenly become Fido's new toy box. Give your puppy the right toys to chew on and everyone will be happier.
One last thing: if you allow your puppy to bite and chew on your fingers and toes during play time, then he will think it is okay to bite all humans that come near him, a very bad idea especially if there are small children in the household. Puppy teeth hurt- trust me, my Pavlova just sank her needle fangs into my big toe just this second and we all should be glad that I do not type what I think!
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