By Andrea Critch, Puppy Raising Supervisor, CNIB Guide Dogs
All puppies love to chew, including future guide dogs. Their instinct to chew has a purpose: to keep their teeth and gums healthy and clean, to sooth pain from teething, to distress, to explore their "world", to relieve boredom and, sometimes, just for fun. It's important that you don't become frustrated with your future guide dog. They need to chew, but not all toys are created equal. And, some puppies chew more than others.
Here are a few puppy pointers:
- Always monitor a puppy when you give him/her a new toy. Take away any pieces that have been chewed off. If it's too easy to chew apart, find a new toy.
- Make sure the toys aren't too small – you don't want them to swallow the toys.
- You want them to avoid chewing sticks – wood splinters can get lodged in their gums and cause abscesses.
- Hard rubber toys are great - there is no shortage of options, including some that can be filled with food.
You can easily redirect chewing behaviour onto a toy. If you're having trouble redirecting, try rubbing some of their food on it to give it a different flavour.
Remember: All puppies need downtime from training. It's important to give them toys to chew, so you don't lose your favourite pair of shoes or chair legs. Keep being persistent with giving them toys to chew, and have fun!