The Ultimate Dog Owners Guide: Where did my puppy go?
So, you have had your puppy for a few weeks and suddenly the loving, snuggly, puppy breath lovebug you had disappears. In her place comes a biting machine, the likes of a small great white shark! You have just entered the teething phase and it can last until the puppy is 9 months old. But fear not, friends, we have some great advice!
First and foremost, all puppies go through teething phases. Some are worse than others. If you have more than one dog, the puppy will take much of the "mouthing" out on the other dog, saving your tender skin and flesh. If not, here are some tips to help you get through it.
- Understand: that just like babies, puppies teething hurts. He is mouthing anything because he is hurting. It's a natural part of their growing up. Things that help ease that pain will ease their desire to bite on you.
- Treats: frozen treats like ice cubes will help. You can also give your puppy things he likes (that are healthy for him) but freeze them first. We will give some healthy treat ideas in another article.
- Chews: always have good chews on hand for your dog. We recommend using a company like BarkBox (http://www.barkbox.com/r/sc/BZX58PTX2X) where you can get new toys tailored for your dog each month at an affordable price. These toys and treats are safe, healthy and durable. My dogs are heavy chewers so I have to go with the Super Chewer pack. The point is, whatever you use, make sure you do not get flimsy chew toys that they can eat. That will harm your dog and end up with a problem down the road.
- NEVER: allow them to chew on your hands, fingers, or any other body parts from day one. This sends a mixed message. If you allow it in the beginning, your dog will not understand why it's not allowed now.
- Do Not: play with your puppy with your hands only. Always have a toy to engage. This encourages your pup to know that chewing on something else is the right thing.
- OUCH: When your puppy does nip you, immediately pull your hand away and say "ouch" and "no" so your pup knows that the behavior is not acceptable. You must do this every time. There are no "cute" bites.
Teething is serious business. The teeth feel like little razors and can do some damage on your skin. When our dogs were puppies, one of them was so aggressive with her chewing, it looked like I had been in a fight with a pair of scissors, and lost! We had a very difficult time teaching her that "no" means "no" with respect to teething. Having the right chew toys on hand made the difference.
Try not to overreact to your pup. Just remember that he or she is doing what is natural for a dog. We want to train our pup to chew on safe things, not us!
Before long, the teething will be over and you will forget all about it, until your next puppy!