Chewing, Barking and Mouthing
Chewing and Mouthing
Chewing is a NORMAL dog behavior. Puppies and dogs use their mouths to explore the world around them. We may not appreciate it when we find a piece of furniture destroyed or our hands full of teeth marks but the fact is that puppies NEED to chew. The trick is to teach them what is acceptable and what is not.
Here are some helpful tips on how to teach this:
- Have lots of acceptable chew toys and stuffed KONGS for them at all times.
- Teach your pup to take food from your hand GENTLY.
Do NOT allow your pup to chew on your hands- have a toy ready & offer that.
- Teach your pup the Leave it and Take it cues.
- Use time outs when your pup gets the “crazies”.
- Put your pup in her crate with a chew toy when you can’t supervise her.
Barking is another area where we sometimes run into trouble. Certain breeds are more prone to barking than others and you may wish to look into this before picking out your pup. A good way to keep barking in check is to teach a “Speak” cue and a “Quiet” cue. Chew toys are also good because if the puppy is busy chewing he most likely not able to be barking! Be sure not to reward barking by yelling back at him, as he will most likely think you are barking along with him. Yelling could also be reinforcing the barking because you are paying attention to him. Whenever your pup is quiet is the best time to praise and reward him. We all tend to forget to mark the correct behavior and take it for granted…..be grateful and tell your pup that you appreciate his good behavior! So, if your pup is barking at you un-cued and unwanted you should turn and walk away, do NOT give him attention of any kind. When he stops and becomes quiet you may then turn back to him and offer your attention. You may then also wish to offer him a chew toy or treat and get him busy doing something more acceptable with his mouth.
Constance Dwyer, CABC
Certified Animal Behavior Consultant
copyright 2013 – Constance Dwyer – all rights reserved
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