Most likely you have had the experience of playing with your cute little puppy when all of a sudden your hand becomes the chew toy. This happens all the time and is because your pup is teething. Teething is developmental, not a behavior problem.
Puppies begin to get tiny needlelike teeth at 2-4 weeks old. Permanent teeth start to come in around three months and the process continues until the puppy is around 8 months old. Mary Burch, the American Kennel Club’s canine good citizen director, offers the following tips on getting your puppy through the teething stage.
— Control the environment. Provide a rich assortment of acceptable toys for your puppy to chew on so you aren’t the only available option during playtime. Make sure to puppy-proof your home so objects like your shoes and cell phone don’t become chew toys either.
— Keep acceptable toys close by. Keep your pup’s toys in places where you can easily reach them so you can quickly offer an acceptable alternative when your puppy starts to chew you or an inappropriate object, like your shoes.
— Nipping and biting hard are not OK. Sometimes puppies may nip or bite too hard, and if that happens teach your pup that this is not okay by ending the interaction. You can pull your hand away, say, “OW!” and leave the puppy for a few minutes. Then try again so your pup has a chance to act appropriately.
First Published August 10, 2014 8:00 PM