Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ask the Dog Trainer, with Terry Lynn Cuyler: Help for Teething Puppies

by Terry Lynn Cuyler, APDT, CPDT-KA

Dear Terry,
Oreo, my toy poodle, is teething. When I come home for the day he's very excited and just chews on your toes or fingers. I was told that when he does this, you're supposed to put your finger down his throat. This doesn't seem right to me, but again we tried that with no luck. Any other suggestions? We yell "no" but then our other dog gets scared and thinks she's doing something wrong.

Dear Elizabeth,

Teething puppies are little sharks with those razor teeth, aren’t they?  Your puppy needs plenty of teething toys like hard rubber Kongs that have been stuffed and frozen, Nylabone durable products, and even sterilized hollow bones from the pet stores.  There are some teething keys made for puppies that look like the teething rings we give human babies. Dogs explore so much with their mouth that the behavior you see is very normal – but painful.  

The stuffed toys we humans find so adorable won’t do much to help him through this teething.  Limit the stuffed toys and use toys that even dispense his daily ration of dog food to keep him motivated to chew on those-not you.  When he does put his mouth on you, cry OUCH? (natural enough) and leave him abruptly for a nano-second.  Replace your fingers or toes with a teething toy. 

When that doesn’t work, leave the room for 5 seconds and then return.  If he still doesn’t get the message, calmly put him in his crate or confinement area with a chew toy until he settles down.  Note the times of day he is the craziest and don’t play then.  Wait till he is more settled.

Our ASK THE DOG TRAINER Column can be reached at For more information on Terry Lynn Cuyler and her training, you may find her at Paws Prof. A personal appointment with a trainer will likely provide more specific information on your dog's issues and your questions.

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Lizzi said...

Love this! Thank you so much. I love freezing the kong toys idea.. that will come in handy. Thank you, again! Goodnight.

buy a dog house said...

Great post, it will really come in handy if you know what I mean ;))

Lisa Flynn said...

Great ideas for puppies chewing. I also find that leaving a short leash on your pup when they are out of their crate gives you some physical control for when they go into a Piranha frenzy! Thanks for the post!

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