Your puppy will eventually grow out of it with proper guidance (meaning redirection and offering alternatives) but not soon enough to avoid destroying some of your things – and if you don’t show him what you want him to do, then he will continue to chew and bite in a way that makes sense to him – which is basically to put his teeth on everything.
He has to chew because as a puppy, he explores and learns about the world by putting things in his mouth. He also chews because it gives him something to do as a means to get all that puppy energy out. And he chews because it’s fun.
The easiest way to cut down on the chewing is to feed him in a food-dispensing toy and/or a puzzle toy because by chewing on the toy, which is “legal,” he reduces the desire to chew on “illegal” things. Be sure to tell him what a good dog he is when you see him chewing on legal toys – and also when he does anything else that you like!
Nature gave him very sharp teeth as a puppy to help him learn bite inhibition which means to control the force of his bites. If he plays with you and he bites too hard, you can say “ouch” and simply get up and leave, which is what a littermate would do.
If he bites to control you – such as “don’t take what I’m chewing away from me” – then you would use a different method because if you say “ouch” and walk away, that is exactly what he wanted you to do.
So, what’s the answer?
Teach him to trade by playing Fetch. When you throw a toy and he brings it to you, have another toy ready to throw – after and only after he drops the toy in his mouth. Tease him with the second toy and wait for him to drop it – which he will because you are making that second one much more attractive since you’re moving it around. When he does drop the first one, throw that second toy. As he runs after it, pick up the first toy. When he comes back to you, tease him with the first toy, and then throw the first toy after he drops the second. Repeat, repeat, repeat and repeat some more until he understands what the game is – that you will only throw the toy in your hand after he drops the one in his mouth. It will take awhile for him to catch on, so be patient.
If the biting escalates or if you are afraid of your puppy or afraid for other people, especially children, around your puppy, then get help pronto with a qualified, certified dog behavior professional.
Also, be sure to give him adequate exercise, both physical and mental. Tired puppies bite a lot less than energetic ones.
Teach him obedience exercises so he knows how you want him to act and listens to you for guidance. And, most of all, have fun with your puppy – he’s only going to be a puppy for a short time, so enjoy it!
Caryl Wolff is a dog trainer, an author of several books and articles, and a dog behavior consultant certified by five dog trainer organizations. She provides training and behavior consulting services to clients in the Los Angeles area and by telephone across the US. You may contact her by email at caryl@DoggieManners.com or visiting her website http://www.DoggieManners.com