Ahhh, puppy chewing. One of the most natural dog behaviors and one of the most destructive. Managing your puppy's chewing can be quite exhausting.Today, we're going to focus on puppies, why they chew, and how to help the problem. For puppies and adolescent dogs, chewing is part of their development. Dogs go through several teething phases before they are a year old. They should generally complete them all by seven months or so. If they seem to still be teething after that, it's best to take them to your vet to rule out any dental issues. For a complete picture of the teething timeline, please check out the AKC's article here https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/timeline-of-puppy-teething/
During the teething stages, their gums will itch and hurt sometimes nonstop. Chewing helps soothe that feeling. Your best line of defense is to provide a lot of chew toys. And I mean a lot! Get the cheap ones and scatter them everywhere. Also try different kinds: plush toys, plush toys with squeakers, rubber toys, kongs, bully sticks, tug toys, etc. It's also a good idea to provide your puppy with things like frozen strawberries and banana slices. The cold soothes their gums by reducing inflammation. Provide them with a lick mat. Licking isn't the same as chewing but it does tire out the mouth. Puppies also need to be fed three times per day so make sure they are getting the nutrition they need so hunger isn't motivating their chewing.
You'll also want to keep your puppy away from things they shouldn't chew on. Hide electrical cords, put away your shoes in a closet, don't leave kids toys laying around (by the way, this is a great motivator if you are trying to get your kids to pick up after themselves). Use baby gates to keep your puppy away from tricky areas. Close your int
erior doors. Get an exercise pen for the living room so your puppy can still be near you but not biting on everything in sight while you are having dinner or relaxing. At four months, you should also be able to start teaching the "drop it" cue for when your puppy has something they shouldn't.
If your puppy bites your hands, do your best high pitch dog yelp and turn away. Don't look at them. Wait a long beat and turn back to them, start petting again. If they start biting again, repeat the process. When you puppy starts trotting toward you, you can also head them off at the pass by putting a toy in their mouth. If they are having one of those moments when they are out of control, then it's best to put them in their exercise pen with chew toys or take them outside for a bit.
Also, engage with them in ways other than petting. Excessive chewing can also be the result of boredom. Take them for short walks on leash (once they've been vaccinated) or in your backyard. Take them to a friend's house or to run errands with you. A lot of hardware stores are pet friendly and this is a great way to get them acclimated to strangers and loud noises. Hide treats around the room for them to find. Play hide n seek in your house. Start teaching basic cues like "sit", "stay", and "come". When dogs have to use their brains, they tire a lot more quickly.
Above all, be patient. Be very very patient. This too shall pass.