‘My puppy is a shoe hound – the chewing kind!’

And it’s always Gucci over gumboots, right? Let’s face it, puppies love to chew. Shoes, handbags, belts, briefcases, electrical cords – yowza! Nothing is safe.

To be fair to little Chewbacca, chewing is a natural instinct. We can never stop our puppies from chewing, but we can teach them to chomp the right items. And the trick is to get this going before your puppy reaches adulthood. Especially since some breeds, such as Labradors and Retrievers, are known to be worse as young adults than as puppies.

So, let’s nip this in the pup.

First up, pets chew what they can reach. So, keep shoes, valuables and chords tucked away until Chewy is trained out of his gnaw-gnaw-gnaw-boo-boo phase.

Secondly, playful chewing occurs whether you’re home or not. It’s the way puppies explore their world, after all. Or sometimes, they may be experiencing separation anxiety and searching for items with your scent, for comfort. The best way to put chewing on a short leash is catching your pup in the act. If you try to discipline or train them after the fact, you won’t get through to your Chew-huahua.

Next, come up with a clever command to get Rover’s attention when he’s chewing your Jimmy Choos. Once you have him and he stops chewing, swap the stilettos for a rubber doggy toy. Or better yet, a toy that hides a treat. Puppies are willing to spend hours looking for hidden food. (Though I might, too, if burritos were involved.)

Remember, your dog just wants to chew, and doesn’t care what. So think rawhide chews, soft toys and real meat bones. MUCH more interesting than an expensive shoe collection, right?  Or, if your puppy is teething – highly likely around four months of age – give him soft, comforting toys to relieve gum pain. Whatever you decide, it’s always best to rotate any toys, to prevent boredom.

Chew got it?


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