Here are some tips to keep your young dog learning the right lessons.
Puppies like to explore new tastes, textures, movement and of course, smells. This leads to problems when the household becomes a playground, the kids become chew toys, and the cat becomes the subject of ‘Wacky Races’ around the home! Here’s some ideas to save your sanity and teach puppy how to play nicely.
Distract your puppy by providing a wide range of hollow toys made to contain food, and buy several different types to keep him interested.
It is not wise to allow puppies to have toys that they may chew to pieces. They can easily eat bits of these, so only buy extra strong items for chewing. In particular, soft toys could be damaged by any puppy and are often not safe for the puppy to be left to chew.
Squeaky toys can be pulled to pieces by any puppy wishing to ‘kill’ their prey, but this builds a destructive habit. It is not long before the puppy moves onto chewing shoes and even mobile phones, since the textures are similar. Rubber toys that are hollow, with food pastes that can be squirted or smeared inside, make puppies enjoy chewing without damage.
For the puppy that likes to empty the stuffing from a toy, provide a range of ‘empty’ toys, that are designed to have no stuffing at all, or super tough toys that do not have seams for the puppy to pull apart. One range of soft toys has a very tough inner lining and no seams at all, and these are particularly long-lasting.
Remember, it is far better to build a good habit than to break a bad one!
Karen Wild is an APBC registered behaviourist and qualified dog trainer with 20 years experience. Her practice ‘Pawprint’ offers behaviour referrals for vet practices and puppy classes in the local area. Karen is a training and behaviour contributor for Dogs Today magazine and author of ‘What your Dog Wants’. To find out more visit www.karenwild.co.uk or call 01778 560465.