Skip to main content

How to keep a teething puppy from destroying your home

Of course, they’re cute. Recently though, you’ve noticed telltale signs your puppy is teething. Little puppy teeth can quickly become a force to be reckoned with, ripping and tearing through all your favorite things. You don’t have to choose between your puppy and your favorite shoes forever.

Discouraging negative teething behavior is all about encouraging the right behavior. Here are some things you can do to survive your teething puppy and still have some fun along the way. Let’s take a look.

Why do puppies chew on everything?

Puppy chewing on women's shoes

It’s totally normal for puppies to be obsessed with chewing. First, as their teeth come in, they can cause some pain and discomfort that chewing helps relieve. Second, puppies explore their environment in part by tasting it (and tearing it apart). It hits that natural predatory drive as well as alleviates curiosity.

Puppies are also full of boundless energy, making it difficult to expend it all during the day. Your puppy could be tearing things up partly because of those new teeth and partly out of boredom. Sometimes, it starts as a feel-good activity for sensitive gums and turns into something fun.

If your puppy doesn’t receive adequate nutrition, that can also contribute to the chewing obsession. Your puppy could be tearing things apart, looking for new sources of nutrition to fill in calories. If you suspect this is the case, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian.

Creating a puppy-friendly environment

Part of dealing with your chewing puppy is to create an environment free of temptation. Keep things like shoes or clothing in hampers, closets, and put away where your puppy can’t find them.

You should also move things like books or other valuables out of your puppy’s reach. Forgo that perfect coffee table styling in favor of clean surfaces and minimal items that your puppy can reach — a bit like childproofing.

It may also be a good idea to begin or continue crate training to help your puppy succeed at night or for short periods of time during the day. This restricts movement and prevents your puppy from getting into things while unsupervised.

Distract the chewing with the right tools

Your puppy may be experiencing some excess energy in addition to the pain of teething. Here are some things you can do to redirect all that chewing energy.

  • Use safe chew toys — Toys that provide stimulation will help alleviate the chewing instinct appropriately. Include a variety of toys with different textures and sounds to redirect all that teething energy.
  • Add in some chewy treats — Talk with your vet about the types of treats your puppy can have, but options that require your puppy to bite or tear for extended periods can help alleviate the chewing instinct.
  • Use a deterrent — Sprays that are safe for your things and won’t harm your puppy can help, as well. If your puppy likes to chew on furniture, the spray’s odor or taste can quickly take the fun out of that activity.
  • Find puzzles — If you notice that your puppy tends to chew at certain times of the day, a good puzzle toy can help distract your puppy and provide valuable enrichment. Puzzles are fun, help your puppy develop critical thinking, and build resilience. Best of all? No time to chew.

Provide plenty of exercise

Sometimes puppies chew because of boredom and excess energy. Part of caring for your puppy is ensuring that you’re spending time exercising both the body and the brain.

  • Get 30 minutes to an hour of exercise per day — This should be in the form of walks, hikes, runs, swims, or any other activity that expends energy.
  • Play for at least 30 minutes — Chasing balls or frisbees, playing tug, or doing fun agility games; everything that allows your puppy one-on-one time with you is valuable.
  • Provide plenty of enrichment — Training can serve two purposes — fun and engagement. Puzzle toys test a puppy’s mental stamina and curiosity. Hiding and searching games can help your puppy express energy without much physical effort from you.
  • Use quick play or exercise before you leave — These activities can help calm your puppy before you have to leave, making it more likely they’ll rest instead of seeking out things to chew.
Puppy running in backyard
Bastiaan Schuit/

A word of warning

Puppies and dogs do not think through their actions the way humans do. Tying a teething-damaged item to your puppy, duct-taping the object to their mouth, or spanking a puppy for something done previously is not effective and could cause injury.

Instead, focus on the positive behavior you want to see. If you see your puppy in the moment of chewing something forbidden, firmly remove the item and say “no.” Replace it with an acceptable item and praise your puppy. Keeping things positive will get you much further than negative punishments.

Above all, be patient

It may take some time for your puppy to learn the ropes, so keep up your patience. Puppies may chew on things until around 6 months or so, but that doesn’t mean the behavior will stop forever. Some dogs may always have trouble with chewing.

Follow through with training, exercise, and plenty of enrichment. Offer acceptable things for your dog to chew so you’re working with the instinct rather than against it. You’ll have a better relationship with your puppy, as well as ensure your shoes survive puppyhood.

Editors' Recommendations

7 dog training podcasts we’re obsessed with
Podcasts can help any pet parent with training their pooch
cute black lab puppy

Awesome news for pet parents: here are 7 fantastic dog training podcasts so you can better know your doggo and keep him happy. There are times every pet parent feels as though they’re the only ones doing “life” with their dog. Whether it’s a behavioral problem, a health concern, or simply how to find the right doggie day care, wouldn’t it be great to have an expert on speed dial to answer your every burning question?

Well, short of spending your life searching online, might we suggest finding a good podcast to listen to? Podcasts are a great way to get free advice from experts in the field, especially as you’re performing mindless chores around the house or settling in for a long plane ride. And when it comes to dog training, podcasts feature a variety of experts who can help any pet parent. Which podcast should you listen to? These are a few of our favorites.

Read more
Funny dog video: Pup has an adorable reaction to a superhero pet on TV
Do dogs understand when a pup barks on TV? We look into it
Dog barks outside in a lawn

We all love to see ourselves on the big screen, and our canines want to see themselves too. It's true that many dogs can watch television and enjoy it, particularly when they spot another furry friend up there. That's why you might show your beastie 101 Dalmations or throw on the Discovery channel if you're looking for a big reaction. This pup became particularly excited when he spotted a superhero dog on the TV in a dog video on TikTok entitled "Representation Matters."

The video starts with a clever four-legger watching Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 while sitting on his owner's bed. It's very clear that this movie is one of his favorites, and we're about to see why. Our dog friend is enraptured by the film but becomes even more excited when Cosmo, the pup in the film, comes onto the screen. The text tells us to "Watch my dog realize who the real hero is..." In his excitement, the little bud runs up to the screen barking and wagging his tail — thrilled to see Cosmo the dog save the day. You can see the pure joy in the pooch while he jumps up and down to celebrate.

Read more
Is your dog barking nonstop? Here’s how to get your noisy pup under control
How to step in and help your noisy dog stay quiet when barking nonstop
Dog barking at night

If you’ve ever tossed and turned because your neighbor’s pooch barked all night, then you know how incredibly frustrating a noisy dog can be. Don’t let your pup be "that" dog in your community. While it's perfectly natural for Fido to bark occasionally, excessive barking at unreasonable hours or for long periods is unneighborly.

Experts at the American Kennel Club (AKC) say that preventing nuisance barking should be a top priority for responsible pet parents. If you live with a loud four-legger that barks nonstop, take steps now to resolve the problem before your neighbor complains (or you lose your mind).

Read more