Chewing is part of normal puppy behavior. Puppies use their mouths to explore their environment and learn about the world. Chewing isn’t a destructive behavior unless your puppy is chewing on the wrong thing. Fortunately, it’s possible to teach your Labradoodle puppy to only chew on acceptable items.
The benefits of appropriate chewing
The teething process typically starts when puppies are 3 months old. You can expect your Labradoodle puppy to be teething until the adult molars come in at 6 to 7 months of age. Chewing is a natural instinct that facilitates teething and soothes sore gums. Your puppy may also enjoy chewing for fun, or to alleviate boredom. For these reasons, it’s important to provide your puppy with a variety of appropriate chew toys.
Offering a variety of chew toys
If you go to any pet store, you’ll see a variety of edible and inedible chew toys. Try different items and see what your puppy enjoys the most. Don’t confuse your puppy by offering old socks or shoes. Your puppy cannot tell the difference between old and new. You can also put a wet towel in the freezer and give it to your puppy to alleviate teething pain.
Puppy-proofing your home
Providing your puppy with appropriate chew toys isn’t enough to prevent destructive chewing. You will need to teach your puppy to only chew on certain items. While your puppy is learning, it’s best to remove temptation. Pick up or secure any inappropriate items your puppy might chew on. This includes clothes, shoes, papers, trash, and electronic devices.
Using taste deterrents
You can coat inappropriate items with taste deterrents, like Bitter Apple® spray, to make them unappealing to your puppy. Keep in mind that most spray deterrents have to be reapplied frequently to maintain effectiveness.
Supervising your puppy
Always keep an eye on your puppy in the house. When not confined, it’s best to keep your puppy in the same room as you at all times. When you’re away from home, confine your puppy to a crate or exercise pen with fresh water and plenty of appropriate chew toys.
Catching and correcting mistakes
It’s important to realize that mistakes will happen. Despite your best efforts, your puppy will probably find something inappropriate to chew on. If you see your puppy chewing on an inappropriate item, interrupt the behavior and give your puppy a chew toy. Praise your puppy for taking it.
You can only correct the behavior if you catch your puppy in the act. Do not try to punish your puppy if you find a chewed up item, even if it’s minutes later. Your puppy will not associate the punishment with the act. Never yell at or hit your puppy under any circumstances.
Management and supervision is the key to success
These simple tips can help you prevent destructive chewing. Always remember to be patient with your puppy. In time, your puppy will learn to understand the rules and grow into a well-behaved adult Labradoodle.