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Chewing

Most dogs like to chew. Young pugs have a physiological need to chew; it's simply part of their development. It's also a way for them to explore their surroundings. Older pugs may continue the chewing habit simply because it's enjoyable. Chewing is a way to pass the time when there's nothing else to do. To keep chewing constructive and not destructive, provide your pug with lots of different chew toys and teach him what not to chew.

Good Chewing

Praise your pug every time you see him gnawing on a toy to teach good chewing habits. Help make toys even more appealing by handling them frequently so they bear your scent. This works especially well with the soft chew toys favored by pugs. Your pug wants to be close to you, even when you're not home, so chewing on something that smells like you is the next best thing. That's often why dogs chew up their owners' favorite shoes or other items of clothing. It's not spite; it's admiration. Take it for the compliment it is, and put your things away next time.

You can also make some chew toys more attractive by mining them with treats. A Kong toy or hollow rubber bone is great for this purpose. Fill it with peanut butter and stud the peanut butter with small biscuits or baby carrots. Your pug will spend hours trying get at all the sticky, crunchy goodness.

How to Prevent Chewing

The two best ways to stop inappropriate chewing before it starts are to put your things out of reach and to crate your pug or put him in his safe room when you can't be there to supervise. That way, your possessions don't get destroyed, and your dog doesn't get scolded for misbehaving. It's a win-win situation. Make sure he has something nice to chew on when he's confined.

To help your pug understand that he must obey the rules of the house, be consistent with corrections. Look him in the eye and say “Wrong” or “No” to deter an undesirable activity.

When you find your pug chewing on something he shouldn't, give an immediate verbal correction, like “Aaaght” or “No!” If he's chewing on something life-threatening, such as an electrical cord, instantly follow the verbal correction with a squirt from a spray bottle or the toss of a small throw pillow. Your pug needs to learn that there are serious consequences to chewing on cords — before he gets electrocuted.

If he's chewing on something not so dangerous — but still forbidden — give the same verbal correction. That should be enough to distract him. When he stops chewing to look at you, give him a toy to chew on instead. Don't forget to praise him every time you see him chewing on something appropriate.

Preventing inappropriate chewing can save your dog's life. Chewing on the wrong things can lead to electrocution (electrical cords) or intestinal blockages (chewing and swallowing socks or dishtowels). Protect your furniture and your clothing, as well as your dog's life.

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