The dog is a social and inquisitive animal. They need to do something, especially if left at home alone. As a responsible pet parent, you must provide interaction, activities, and toys for your puppy to pass the day. If your puppy learns to enjoy chewing chew toys, they will look forward to settling down quietly for some quality chewing time.
Types of chew toys
A chew toy is an object for the dog to chew that is neither destructible nor consumable. If your dog destroys an object, you will have to replace it, and that costs money. If your dog consumes the object, they could die. Eating non-food items is extremely hazardous to your dog’s health.
The type of chew toy you choose will depend on your dog’s penchant for chewing and his individual preferences. Some dogs make a cow’s hoof or a compressed rawhide chewy last forever, whereas other dogs consume them in a matter of minutes. Kong products tend to be the Cadillacs of chew toys. Hollow sterilized long bones are a very close second choice. Kong products and sterilized bones are simple, natural, and organic. Also, being hollow, you can stuff them with food.
It is important to teach your puppy to enjoy chewing chew toys. Otherwise, they will chew household items instead. An effective ploy is to stuff the puppy’s chew toys with kibble and treats.
When you are away from home, leave the puppy in their puppy playroom with a bed, water, toilet, and plenty of stuffed chew toys. While you are at home, leave the puppy in their doggy den with plenty of stuffed chew toys. Every hour after releasing the pup to relieve themself, play chew toy games: chew-toy search, chew-toy fetch, and chew-toy tug-of-war. Your puppy will soon develop a very strong chew-toy habit because you have limited their chewing choices to a single acceptable toy, which you have made even more attractive with the addition of kibble and treats.
Positive effects of chew toys
In addition to preventing household destruction, teaching your puppy to like chew toys prevents them from becoming a recreational barker because chewing and barking are obviously mutually exclusive behaviors. Also, chew toys help your puppy learn to settle down calmly because chewing and dashing about are mutually exclusive behaviors.
Chew toys are especially useful for dogs with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders since it provides them with an acceptable and convenient means to work out their obsessions and compulsions. Your dog may still have OCD, but a chew-toy fan will happily spend his time obsessively and compulsively chewing their stuffed chew toys.
Most important, chew-toy chewing keeps the puppy occupied and effectively helps prevent the development of separation anxiety. Chewing allows the puppy to focus on an enjoyable activity so that they don’t dwell on their loneliness. Each piece of extracted kibble also rewards your puppy for settling down calmly, for chewing an appropriate chew toy, and for not barking.
Chew toy stuffing
An old chew toy becomes immediately novel and exciting when stuffed with food. If you use kibble from your puppy’s normal daily ration, your puppy will not gain weight. To protect your puppy’s waistline, heart, and liver, it is important to minimize the use of treats in training. Use kibble as lures and rewards for teaching basic manners. Reserve freeze-dried liver treats for initial housetraining, for meeting people, as a garnish for stuffing Kongs, and as an occasional jackpot reward for especially good behavior.
Chew toys are a win-win
The wonderful thing about teaching a puppy to enjoy chewing chew toys is that this activity will take the place of many other undesirable puppy behaviors. While your dog is happily gnawing on their chew toys, they will not:
- Chew inappropriate items inside the home or in the yard.
- Become a recreational barker.
- Run around fretting and working themself up while home alone.
A stuffed Kong is one of the best canine stress relievers, especially for anxious, obsessive, and compulsive dogs. (A Kong for a dog is also one of the best stress-relievers for dog parents!) There is no single device that so easily and so simply prevents or resolves so many bad habits and behavior problems.