How to stop your puppy from chewing on your stuff

Golden Retriever Puppy chewing slipper on floor, close-up
Step away from the slipper, little buddy (Picture: Getty Images)

Puppies are pretty synonymous with chewing – between teething, curiosity and a need to expend all that energy, it’s one of their favourite things to do.

Given that over a quarter (27%) of dog owners would consider giving up their puppy if they displayed behaviour mistakenly identified as ‘problematic’ for their age, it’s very important that people keep this in mind.

Unfortunately, according to a survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted by puppy training coaching app Zigzag, 42% of respondents thought chewing furniture and possessions is ‘problematic’ behaviour in puppies aged between eight weeks to three months.

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While, no, it’s not ideal, and not the kind of thing you want to encourage, it’s exceedingly normal.

With that in mind, if you’re looking to train your puppy out of the habit of chewing your stuff, Lorna Winter, director of the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter and co-founder and head of training at the app, has some tips for you…

Puppy-proof your place

First off, you should make it harder for your little bud to find things to chew that you don’t want them to.

‘Move things out of reach,’ instructs Lorna.

Be Diligent about Vet Visits. “Don’t wait for the signs,” Dr. Becker stresses. Focus on “prevention first.” Pets age fast, and when it comes to illness they are programmed to mask weakness, “they’re naturally secretive.” One to two visits a year is ideal, but if you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate, and don’t self-diagnose. “In the last two years I’ve seen four or five cases where people went to the internet for help, and by the time they get to the vet it’s too late,” says Dr. Becker.

‘It won’t be forever but just through the puppyhood phase.’

Brown Cockapoo puppy chewing a chair
Distraction is key (Picture: Getty Images)

Try not to chase them around

Unless they’ve got something dangerous in their mouth, you want to try not to chase them around to get it back, because you run the risk of them thinking it’s all just a fun game.

‘Avoid chasing your pup if they do grab hold of your possessions,’ says Lorna.

‘It’s best to ignore them and reward them when they pick up their own toys – encouraging them using jiggling motions will help entice them to their toys.’

Make sure your pet is in good company. Pets get lonely and depressed just like people do when they spend too much time alone. Cats are generally better on their own, but dogs and especially puppies don’t do well left to their own devices for extended periods of time.

Don’t give them tatty versions of stuff you like

It might seem like a good idea, but it’s likely your pup won’t spot the difference between, say, old and new slippers.

‘Don’t give them old shoes or items to play with,’ says Lorna, ‘as your puppy will not be able to differentiate them from new ones.’

Let them shred their own toys

Puppies are liable to destroy their toys – and that’s just fine.

Lorna says: ‘Let them chew and rip their toys apart.

‘Puppies aren’t toddlers who are going to cherish their first teddy into adulthood, they want to rip them up.

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‘This is a very natural behaviour that is very important to let them do – otherwise it’s your sofa, or cushions etc.’

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