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20–23 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

Tips to Curb Your Puppy's Adolescent Urges :: Five Ways to Deter Your Puppy's Chewing :: How to Calculate Your Puppy's Adult Weight :: A Checklist for Getting Your Puppy Spayed or Neutered

Five Ways to Deter Your Puppy's Chewing

Puppies chew because they're teething, because they're bored, or because your stinky sweat socks are actually tasty to them. They are unaware that it's looked down upon by polite society and cannot calculate the cost of a ruined couch. Most puppies around week 21 are at their heaviest chewing period.

If you come home to a shredded dog bed or something worse like a shredded kitchen table, you can be fairly certain that it was that cute little ball of fur hiding in the corner who was responsible. Other signs that you have a chewing problem are pieces of rubber or cardboard strewn across the kitchen floor and socks and shoes disappearing.

You can also tell by the sudden increase in tripping when walking across a carpet seam. Look down and you'll probably find edges frayed by tiny, sharp teeth. Luckily, there are ways to control your puppy's chewing, save your stuff and keep your pup from eating something dangerous.

Here are five things you can do:

  1. Purchase several puppy chew toys. Kong makes some excellent toys for puppies, such as the Puppy Goodie Bone and the Kong Jr. which you can fill with peanut butter to provide a long distraction. Nylabone is another good one - they even have a Puppy Starter Kit.

  2. Freeze your puppy's toys. This brings relief to his gums and keeps him occupied longer.

  3. Clean up the house! Pretend you have a toddler and put safety hinges on doors and keep all household cleaners locked away. Invest in that $19.95 hanging shoe caddy you've been looking at and shut your closet door. Think bare minimalism - no pillows on the couch, no books on the coffee table, no scarves thrown on the chair.

  4. Discourage chewing with a nasty taste. Coat everything your puppy can reach with a deterrent such as Apple Bitter or Bitter Lime Furniture Gel. These are safe for your pup and items. You can also try a little Tabasco.

  5. The crate is your friend. Training a puppy from an early age to be comfortable in his crate is essential. It keeps him safe and you sane. Consider using a Tough Chew Bed by Orvis. These are guaranteed to be indestructible.

Without redirecting your puppy's behavior and taking precautions to keep things out of his way, you're in for a frustrating time. And, remember, that however you redirect your puppy to the "good" things to chew, this behavior is not considered ill manners in canine societies. It's another case of us imposing rules on our dogs so that we can all live happily together, you with your leather couch and your puppy with his indestructible rubber bone.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

Feeding a Picky Puppy

I found a trick to get Rosalie, our puggle, to eat. We sprinkle grated powdered cheese on her food and mix it in.

~Cheryl L , owner of pug mix

Add Your Own Advice 


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