Ah puppies! Remember the day when you first saw that sweet like bundle of sweetness? Maybe they were the cutest little walking fluff ball you have ever seen with sweet smelling baby breath. Or perhaps you got sucked in by those adorable little wrinkles and tiny little paws. When you first brought them home, madly in love with their puppy play antics and abundance of curiosity. But then, just like that your precious baby Fido became a land shark, consuming everything in it's path and none of it was edible. How did something so snuggly and cute so quickly become a little terror? Of course, there are still loving moments of affection and cuddles, but there is also a lot of chasing, nipping, consuming or maybe just destroying all the material objects in your home, and maybe even parts of your home as well. We have all been there. You think you have them entertained long enough for a quick trip to the bathroom alone only to come out and find them eating your baseboards instead of that toy you gave them.....puppies are not for the faint of heart!
Good news! This will pass. If you teach them what they can chew and provide them with the proper outlets to do so. You see, like human children, puppies teethe and they need to chew to get some relief for their poor little gums. Also like human children, they explore the world through taste, and scent, but today we talk about the mouth and those sharp little shark teeth. How do we make sure they are only chewing things we want them to chew? Well to start with, supervision. I am a big fan of umbilical cord training. By this I mean your pup is attached to your waist during waking hours by a hands free leash. This not only makes potty training so much easier, it allows gives you more control over here little Fido is putting his or her sharp little baby teeth. Now for this to be effective you need also make available a variety of different toys that your pup is not only allowed to chew on but encourage to chew on. Choose different textures, and types of toys. When you catch them in the act of chewing up something they shouldn't be, or trying to get to something that isn't for them, redirect to an appropriate toy. Take the time to engage in play so that the toy is fun for them and start to teach a 'drop it' or 'out' command as well as bite inhabitation. This will also help with the nipping. When your land shark, I mean puppy decides that nipping is a fun game give a good loud, sharp yelp and end the game completely. This will show them that the game is over if you are going to bite me. Remember that crate training is also a godsend during this time in their lives. You can have a little peace while they are safely confined and chewing on a tasty treat.
Some helpful tips to ease the pain of teething, frozen carrots. Give them whole and supervised so that they can be taken away when they are small enough to be a chocking hazard. Make up some frozen pupsicles. Many recipes can be found online for these and they also serve as a nice refreshing treat in the summer. Whole frozen tomatoes are another good option.
Remember when all else fails, this too shall pass.