If you’ve ever had a puppy you know that dog rearing is a lot like raising an infant.
Both puppies and infants are totally vulnerable and they depend on you to teach them what they need to know to develop into well-behaved adults.
Puppy owners have to realize that the cute little balls of fur are naturally prone to chewing, especially when teething. While human infants may become cranky when teething, puppies tend to appear quite mischievous. This is because they are following their natural tendency to chew to relieve the discomfort that teething can cause.
Be prepared before you bring a puppy home. It can be quite helpful to sit on the floor and look at your surroundings from the eye of someone who is always at that level. You’ll be amazed at the dangers you’ll see from that perspective.
One of the first things to do is to secure loose and low-hanging electrical cords. Puppies seem to love to chew on them, and obviously, this is not a good idea. Try using string or electrical ties (even bread wrapper ties will work) to take out the slack in the cords.
Secure the cord in a manner that keeps it above the puppy’s level. There are commercial products such as Bitter Apple that can be sprayed on the cords and furniture to deter the puppy.
If there are children in the house, make sure they do not let toys lay on the floor unattended. Puppy will get them!
Keep trashcans out of reach. It is a good idea to use a can with a locking lid so the puppy cannot remove it.
Everyone in the house needs to make a conscious effort to pick up after him or herself. Simple things such as cell phones, socks, underwear and shoes will not go unnoticed by young puppies that are bound to explore their way around the house.
If your home is decorated with plants, beware. Many are poisonous to puppies. Place them at a higher level the puppy cannot reach.
If you use poisonous baits for mice, chemical cleaners and other dangerous products, make sure they are placed in areas that your puppy cannot reach. Keep them in a locked cabinet.
The best piece of advice is do not leave your puppy unattended and make sure he or she gets a lot of exercise. Your supervision is the best tool in keeping puppy from attacking household items. If you have to leave your puppy at home alone, crate them or confine them to a small area that has been “puppy-proofed.”
No matter what you do, you cannot remove all of the situations that may be dangerous to your dog. That’s why it is important to understand how to discourage unacceptable behavior. Be consistent with commands. For example, always use the same command to tell the puppy to stop what it is doing. You can use words such as “no” or “leave it” or “stop.” Choose a command that works for you and your family.
Make sure your puppy has several items to chew and provide them with toys to entertain them. Don’t confuse them by offering an old sock as a toy. If you don’t want them to chew socks, don’t allow them to have any.
Puppies tend to chew until they are about six to ten months of age. Keep them busy, and hopefully, they won’t eat you out of house and home!