Puppy Chewing Technique: Cataloging Chewables

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Puppy Chewing

3 Steps for Teaching Puppies
What NOT To Chew On

If you’d like to learn the specific training routines ALL puppies

should go through to learn how to NOT chew on things he shouldn’t, you can find those lessons in this training program: Hands Off Dog Training Formula

Today I’d like to introduce you to a concept that I don’t hear anyone else talking about for how to get your dog to stop his destructive chewing.

I call this dog chewing concept: “Cataloging Chewables”

What lots of dog owners don’t realize is that over a 90 day time span you can help your dog build a mental catalog of all the items in your house that he is ALLOWED to chew on… … plus a list of all the items he’s NOT allowed to chew on.

Puppies Don't Know The Difference Between Rawhide Bones Or Shoes Until They're Taught

Puppies Don't Know The Difference Between Rawhide Bones Or Shoes Until They're Taught

You have to realize that to your dog… a creatures who’s natural instinct is to chew on things… that it would be VERY hard to be able to tell the difference between chewing on something you allow him to chew on like a rawhide bone; and something you don’t want him chewing on like your expensive leather shoes.

Or what about the difference between a ‘Stuffing Filled’ plush toy, or down pillow? Or a rubber Kong toy, and the rubber on the bottom of your tennis shoes. You can see how this can be hard for a dog to figure out.

And the technique that most people try to use to fix this behavior is simply a ‘reactive’ behavior. If they see the dog chewing on a shoe they yell at the dog or swat the dog.

So picture what that must be like for the dog who doesn’t really understand the difference between leather shoes and rawhide bones. Or the difference between down pillows and stuffed plush dog toys.

The dog thinks both objects are basically the same… and can’t tell the difference in the beginning between two similar objects… and on top of that, so he often times just doesn’t understand why he gets swatted or yelled at for chewing on something sometimes, and NOT in trouble other times.

All your dog thinks is that you are VERY inconsistent… and he wishes you wouldn’t yell at him randomly like you do for no reason at all 😉

If you doubt what I’m telling you here, and you think your dog really can tell the difference between similar good and bad chew toys, let me tell you a story that helped me finally believe this concept.

How To REALLY Train Dog’s To
Discriminate The Difference Between Objects

I had just ordered a new Advanced dog training DVD and it was talking about how to teach your dog what is called ‘Object Discrimination’… or how to train a dog to bring back an object to you that you call by name.

In this drill the end goal was to be able to place three very different objects out on the floor each a few feet away from each other; call the object by name and have the dog bring that object back to you.

First the DVD talked about how to train an animal to bring one object back when it was sitting by itself… which was fairly easy for my dog Bauer to learn how to do.

But then they had me put 2 different objects out on the floor and it was MUCH more difficult for Bauer to figure out which object to bring back.

I had to call an object multiple times until he brought the right one back, and then give him a treat for doing so. Then I’d call the other object and only reward him when he brought that one back.

And the most amazing part was watching the dog try to figure out how to do the task right. You could literally see the wheels turning in his little brain.

Retrieving specific objects by name is an advanced concept for dogs

Retrieving specific objects by name is an advanced concept for dogs

He was constantly experimenting with different possible solutions for getting a treat. First he tried bringing back the toy he last brought me, then he tried alternating between which toy he brought me.

He’d try only bringing back toys on the right, and then only toys on the left.

And it took several days for him to figure out the names of the toys and what I was trying to get him to do.

And I share this story with you to help you realize how much harder it is than YOU realize for a dog to tell the difference between different objects. And how unrealistic it can be to just expect your dog to know the difference without some conscious training effort.

So what you need to start doing is take the next 90 days and start teaching your dog and help build up a mental Catalog in his mind of all the objects it’s OK to chew on and all the ones it’s not OK to chew on.

How do you do this?

Dog's need to practice resisting the urge to have things they want

Dog's need to practice resisting the urge to have things they want

Step 1) First teach your dog the “Leave it” command like I show you how to teach in my Hands Off Dog Training program with my then little Golden Retriever puppy. As well as the Drop It command.

Teaching your dog to “Leave it” is NOW going to be your way to tell your dog to NOT touch something. And the training process of teaching him to Drop It automatically instills in your dog a realization that when he obeys your command he get’s rewarded.

Step 2) Once your dog will willingly leave an object he was chewing on alone or drop it from his mouth, you now need to give him a reward.

And the best type of reward in this situation is a reward that satisfies his chewing urges… and more specifically you want to give him a toy with his preferred texture of chewiness at that time.

So how I taught my dog to stop chewing on rubber shoes, was first tell him to “Drop it” or “Leave it” when I saw him chewing on a shoe… which he would eagerly do, because he knows he get’s rewarded for that.

Always give your dog a replacement item to chew on that has a similiar texture

Always give your dog a replacement item to chew on that has a similiar texture

Then I would grab an appropriate rubber dog toy that I thought might be similar in texture, walk it over to him, remove the rubber soled shoe from his environment and place the rubber toy in his mouth, and tell him he was a good dog for chewing on the ‘Appropriate’ chew toy.

If you’ll do this consistently, and always tell your dog to leave certain objects alone, and always replace them with an appropriate ‘Chewable’ object, your dog will start to develop a mental catalog of

all the items it’s OK to chew on in your house, and leave the NON ‘Chewable’ objects completely alone.

And if you’re interested in learning about all the ways to put this principle of Cataloging Chewables into action, like how to do it when you aren’t home, and how to do it when you can’t see your dog, then I highly recommend picking up a copy of my Hands Off Dog Training Formula program.

Hope that helps, and please send me any questions or feedback you have so I can answer your questions or share your success story with other subscribers to this newsletter!

Articles About More Traditional Techniques:

How to Stop Puppy Chewing | Only Dogs and Cats – Do and Don’t training your puppy stop chewing. Use puppy or dog toys.

Ten Tips to Stop Puppy Chewing Before Your House Looks Like a … – You can’t stop puppy chewing by punishing him for something he did several hours ago. Dogs live in the present. Your pup can’t connect the fact that he chewed up your shoe two hours ago with your being upset now that you’ve just found …

There are 9 Comments

  1. sandy kleinhause says:

    i have a 7 week old female boxer puppy and she runs aftermus biting at our pant legs and shoes when we walk – and almost trip over her. i can’t take off my pants all day or walk barefoot. how would i solve this problem. we have hadher for 2 days, after our last boxer of 15 years died. the interview with amanda brothers was great. i am in isarel. how can i use your services- i am a bit out of the seattle area

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  2. Judy says:

    Thanks, this is helpful. My puppy understands leave it — he just doesn’t always do it and he often goes right back to the item I told him to leave, even though I have given him a substitute. He is getting better, though!

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  3. JOHN RYZAK says:

    YOU HAVE SOME GOOD INFORMATION HERE , BUT AS HUMANS WE HAVE COGNITIVE THINKING, AND WE KNOW WHATS RIGHT AND WRONG AND YET WE STILL MAKE MASTAKS MY POINT BEING EVEN IF YOU THINK THAT IN TIME YOU CAN TEACH A DOG THAT HE CAN CHEW THE COW HIDE BONE BUT HE CAN’T CHEW THE COW HIDE BELT,YOU CAN STILL COUNT ON THAT FACT THAT, FOR WHAT EVER THE RESON, and THERE ARE MANY, THAT BELT WILL GET CHEWED ON AT SOME POINT.YOU CAN ELIMANATE A GREAT MAJORITY OF THE PROBLEM BY JUST CLEANING UP YOUR own act AROUND THE HOUSE.There’s no reason that your shoes or belt shouldn’t be but away in the closet ,the tv remote put up high on the entertainment center,your wallet put away in a drawer and so on. Often it go’s along way to get some training ourselves first, it results in faster and more successful training of our dogs.and along the way gain a little self disipline for ourselves Just food for thought ,i enjoyed your blog, i did read somethings i was not aware of.

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  4. admin says:

    John Ryzak,

    You bring up very true points John. Points that I should expand on in another post. But basically I think what you’re talking about is setting the dog up for success.

    In normal training environments we always want to start with the easiest requests that we can make of a dog, and then slowly make it harder and harder. So just like we wouldn’t first work on getting our dog to come on command while at a dog park with 100 other dogs, we shouldn’t make it harder for our dog’s to be “good” by forcing them to discriminate between rawhide belts and bones.

    I’m in complete agreement that just cleaning up our homes makes this automatically easier for our dogs.

    thanks for the comment,

    chet

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  5. A great post! I’ve been saying for years that dogs are just like children, but I never thought about trying this technique! One of the best things that you said is that people often yell or shoo their dogs away from a particular item. I find that the dog will leave that item alone in your presence, but as soon as you’re not around…look out!

    This information and post are at definite must read for any dog owner! Keep up the great info!
    .-= Kenneth L. White´s last blog ..How Do I Stop My Dog From Chewing Wood updated Thu Jul 15 2010 4-25 pm CDT =-.

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  6. When are you going to post the next training video? first one i watched was great!

    [Reply]

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  8. Ashleigh says:

    hey, i have an 8 month old jack russell beagle mix, the cutest little pup in my eyes. When i leave home he will chew on the carpet, chew my daughters bedding, chew sock.
    What do i do?
    i’m on a money budget with training.

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  9. Susan says:

    Being a mother of 2 children and not much of a believer in the “spank” method, I have used your training posts on my 3 month old puppy. He is pretty much trained to go on the mat to pee and poop. The odd mistake. I reward him constantly for going on the mat. The one thing I have had trouble with is that he is constantly chewing on the baseboards. I do have treats for him and reward him when he stops. However, he is left on his own for an hour or 2 each day when I go out on business. Thankfully, I work from home. I’m just thinking that maybe I should put him in the kennel when I leave. He’s little so the damage he does is minor, but I would like to nip this sooner than later. I live in a cold area so leaving him in my vehicle is not always an option. If I leave him in the kennel he will wine and disrupt the neighbours…. Any suggestions. Patience for sure is something I have, but maybe you can suggest something I can spray on the baseboards for the time being to deter him… Thanks and thanks for all you post to enhance a wonderful addition to my home vs the fear tactics…

    [Reply]

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