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Trying to stop puppy chewing problems is one of the first issues most new dog owners face. Puppies obviously don't have hands like human babies do, so they use their mouths to explore instead. It's important to train the puppy out of this tendency before it develops into a habit. My free special report on Jack Russell training will help you get off to the best possible start.
Remember, when it comes to dog training, prevention is much better than a cure. It's a lot easier to stop behaviors becoming a big problem, than to try to fix them once the dog already thinks they are okay.
First up, there are actually a few different reasons puppies chew things. The way you deal with the chewing problem will depend a little on the stage of your puppy's growth. Chewing is completely natural for a puppy. It helps their jaw muscles develop and is the equivalent to teeth-brushing for humans. Dogs that don't have enough to chew on can develop all kinds of oral health problems.
At around 4 months of age, puppies start to lose their baby teeth. You can expect a lot of chewing between 4 and 7 months as their new teeth come through. Make sure you provide plenty of safe, chewable toys for your puppy at all times during this growth stage.
Under-exercised puppies, or puppies who don't get enough attention from their owners, will often take out their frustrations on your shoes and furniture. Jack Russells are a high activity breed, so make sure your puppy is getting plenty of exercise and you play plenty of games with him to stop him getting bored and chewing everything in sight.
If you have to be away from your puppy for long periods of time, try to get someone to check up on him during the day if possible. Otherwise, make good use of your puppy pen. Put your puppy in the pen with a variety of different chews to keep her occupied.
Excessive chewing can sometimes be the result of hunger. If you have tried the other tips recommended here without success, you may not be feeding your puppy enough at each feeding, or not feeding often enough, or the food you are feeding may not be satisfying your puppy. For more on this see the page on feeding puppies.
If you see your dog chewing on something he shouldn't, always replace it with one of his own toys rather than just taking it off him. This will teach him what he is and isn't allowed to chew, and will stop him from building up a resistance to giving you whatever he has in his mouth. To learn how to properly discipline your puppy if he repeatedly behaves badly, read about the muzzle grip on the page about dealing with puppy biting. This technique will not always be necessary to stop puppy chewing problems but it can be handy in difficult cases.
To help prevent your puppy chewing up valuable items, make sure there is nothing around puppy eye-level that looks attractive to chew on. Make use of your puppy pen and baby gates to cordon off areas of your house as puppy-free.
Keep all shoes and clothes off the floor, particularly anything you've recently worn as it will carry your smell with it. Tape electrical wires to the wall out of the puppy's reach wherever possible - chewing wires can result in nasty burns and shocks.
Keep remote controls in high places. Don't leave food lying around on low coffee tables. For objects you can't remove, like chair legs, there are specially designed, non-toxic sprays you can buy which taste horrible to puppies and will quickly put them off chewing.
Chewable food, bones and chew toys are your best friend when you want to stop puppy chewing problems and save your valuable belongings from your pup's teeth. Experiment with a range of different chews to see what your puppy likes, and change toys around occasionally to keep it interesting. Try chews with different textures and flavors.
Don't give a dog cooked bones as these tend to splinter and the splinters can get lodged in the puppy's oesophagus or stomach lining. Furry soft toys can be useful as well as these simulate a litter-mate to play with, but get rid of them before they tear open - you don't want your pup swallowing stuffing or beads.
For more on getting a dog to drop objects he shouldn't be chewing, see "Drop It" on the page about basic dog commands.
For lots more time-saving tips on training Jack Russell puppies, check out my free special report.