How to stop a puppy chewing your stuff


I joked last year when we got a new puppy that I was a puppy expert. Now one year on I'm starting to think maybe I'm just a really lucky puppy buyer!

We got our first puppy before we had DD, back in the 1990s and he was a pedigree border terrier called Diesel. He was my first dog (discounting family dogs when I was a child as they were always fun but rarely my responsibility) He was the runt of the litter, so small and cute I couldn't resist him, (since choosing him I have been told by many people that's a terrible choice, a terrible reason to pick a dog and temperament is everything). He was from fairly good lines but his breeder was not in the 'show world' and his mum was a pet.

We bought a million things for our new 'baby', a dog crate (cage) which was a new idea at the time, an American idea that was rather frowned on here but has since caught on. We bought stair gates and leads, bowls, balls, chew toys, treats, squeaky toys, rope toys, soft toys and throw toys. We had a house full of puppy stuff!

We got our pup in the summer as I was assured that housetraining was easier when you could leave doors open and the puppy would be happier to go out in nice weather and do you know what...it worked! It all worked, Diesel didn't chew shoes, he never nibbled furniture, he didn't touch what wasn't his. After the first night he didn't whine at bed time, he housetrained quickly with few accidents.

When we bought Jeep three years later we followed the same plan, we bought her from a show breeder this time and were matched by temperament, she was crated at night and when we were out, she had an abundance of toys of all sorts so she never bothered with our stuff, she learned faster than Diesel too, because she had him to copy.

Last year, after we had been dogless for over 3 years we realised we needed another and a third border terrier entered our lives. Once again we chose the early summer, Once again we followed the same pattern. Again I picked an established dog breeder. Once again we used a dog crate, bought WAY too many toys. We have stair gates and rules (which have become slightly more relaxed as Miss Fizz is such a stubborn little princess who demands lap time!) but once again we have a dog that doesn't chew things she shouldn't, who I can leave alone with shoes, or handbags, with books and newspapers and she just ignores them.

Butter wouldn't melt....
Fizz was a nippy biter of hands, trouser legs and anything that moved when she was a couple of months old, but while at the time the tiny teeth drawing blood at every opportunity seemed like it would last for ever, looking back we really only had a few weeks of it until she realised she was hurting us and her 'mouthing' during play became soft.

Is the secret a million chew toys and the firm explanation (Via a stern "No" when she nosed anything not hers) ? Is it breeding? Or breed?  or have we just been lucky?

I see so many other blog posts about dogs and puppies destroying school shoes, eating children's toys, ripping up library books and chewing through charging cables that I begin to wonder if there is a secret to it. Fizz even has her own ipad game, and as soon as she sees me open the ipad she swipes at the screen to find her game (I'm not even joking, she's addicted - you can find the dog game for ipad here) and she never bites or chews at our electrical stuff.

So purely from our experience, top tips for not getting your stuff chewed are:
  • Don't leave a small puppy alone with anything it could chew that it shouldn't.
  • Don't leave a puppy alone with children, they are rubbish at  supervising puppies.
  • Crate your puppy when you can't be there.
  • Buy loads of toys, ensure lots of different types, soft, hard, noisy, etc
  • Never give a puppy anything of yours, even if it's old (shoes etc) as the puppy won't know what is his and what is yours.
  • Be firm if the pup tries to touch what is yours.
  • Encourage the pup to play and destroy his own stuff. Buy some cheap toys he can shred for fun.
  • If you encourage your puppy to shred paper for fun, no book or newspaper will ever be safe again. (ditto plant pots - Fizz does destroy plastic plant pots but we keep them out of reach unless we have decided she can 'help' with the gardening)

"I iz allowed to chew this, it iz mine"
Do you have any top tips to prevent dogs chewing what they shouldn't? And has your dog ever demolished something it should have left well alone?