3 Easy Steps to a Nondestructive Puppyhood
Destructive behavior in puppies is not necessarily part of puppyhood. I am always surprised to hear puppy owners say that they can’t wait to get out of the puppy destruction phase. If you set your puppy up to win you will never have to succumb to this myth about puppies and you will enjoy your puppy that much more.
In the domestication of dogs, we tend to forget their natural and instinctive needs, thereby creating situations where the dog fails to meet our standards within the boundaries of living in our homes, not their natural state in nature.
What is the difference in the puppy’s mind between a tree limb and a wooden table leg? Why does your puppy drag your socks or under garments to their bed and sleep on them? Is she being destructive or trying to have your scent as close as possible, akin to sleeping next to mom or in a puppy pile? When they bring you a stick from the forest for you play chase or the remote control are they trying to be destructive or invite you to a game of chase? If you can try to see it from a puppy’s point of view you’ll be in a lot better shape to train your puppy to choose the right toys ensuring a destructive free puppyhood.
Dogs do need to chew, even more so when they are teething but teething is over by 6 months of age. People complain of teething and destruction well into maturity. Chewing and destruction are NOT synonymous though. When you realize how to manage puppies you will never have to go through the destruction phase again.
The key to a joyful puppyhood is pretty simple. You only need to follow these three simple steps. Supply appropriate toys, exercise and a training program. Meeting your puppy’s needs with physical and mental stimulation and tons of toys, you won’t ever need to replace a shoe, a remote control or your socks… again!
Follow these 3 simple steps: Exercise, Toys and Training
1- Puppies need exercise, physical stimulation. This means that they need to have two wipe out sessions a day. Providing this exercise regime by playing with other dogs, going someplace safe off leash where she can be a dog, sniff, socialize, chase butterflies, climb over logs, run up hills, play fetch, etc. will leave her too tired to chew.
2- Puppies also need to be mentally stimulated with training. A dog left alone in your home or in a backyard can wreak havoc by digging, destroying furniture, pulling up drip lines, etc. They are bored mentally and physically and have no guidance or choices for stimulation. Stimulating their minds comes in the form of training, interactive play and exposure to the world, people and places. The first four months they should meet one hundred faces in one hundred days, people and animal faces, all sizes and ages.
3- Chewing is natural and necessary for puppies. Supplying appropriate toys for them to chew on is essential in raising puppies. A puppy begins teething at 4 months and finishes with a new set of adult teeth by 6-7 months of age. During the teething phase they may want to chew more, due to the pain. If a dog is destructive after 6 months of age, she is not teething any longer; it has become a chewing and/or destruction problem. Offering appropriate things to chew on and play with is part of teaching them what is theirs and what’s not. Ice cubes also help during the teething phase.
Supplying appropriate toys:
We can set the puppy up to win by supplying and encouraging the appropriate toys to satisfy their chewing needs.
I suggest that you have at least 10-15 toys for the puppy to chew and to play with and they are used for different purposes. If you don’t supply toys, your puppy will have no choice but to find his own toys, to chew on and I can assure you, that these will not be things you will want him to have.
This is a list of toys and their purpose: You can also see more about toys here: https://shewhisperer.com/avoid-toxic-toys/
- Squeaky toy (interactive)
- Fluffy toy (act as a littermate, for comfort in crate or confined space)
- Nylabones (chew and interactive)
- Ball (interactive) unless it’s a rubber ball or kong. Tennis balls are not a chew toy.
- Rope toy (chew and interactive)
- Homemade toys, i.e. plastic water bottle, remove cap and paper wrapper (interactive), clean socks that don’t have matches, tied in knots, like the rope toys, can make a big long knotted sock toy, or put a ball in one and tie it in a knot, make a big round sock knotted toy, get creative but make sure it’s safe. (interactive)
- Marrow bones from the butcher
- Antlers (deer, elk)
Only leave safe chew toys with your puppy when she is alone and the others for when you are playing/interacting with her.
Make a toy box or area for all of these toys to live.
Puppy proof your home.
- Remove all things dangerous or valuable.
- Remove things at puppy level, i.e. magazines in a rack or on lower shelves.
- Close all doors to rooms you’re not using.
- Confine puppy to the room you are in not giving them free run of the house.
- The only things left on the floor should be his toys. You may leave your shoes on the floor, but in the same place, (in your closet, by the front door, in the mud room, etc)
- Baby toys and dog toys are very similar to puppy toys, so it’s very important for the puppy to have her own toys in her own area so that she may learn what is hers and what is not. Pick up after the children, especially toys that are small, potentially life threatening to a puppy.
- Bundle electrical wires, making them unaccessible.
Setting your puppy up to WIN is easy with these 3 simple steps.