Lifestage mascot

How old is your dog?

Pre-Puppy preview image


What’s better than puppies? That’s right: your own puppy. So, what do you need to know before you take the plunge into pet parenthood?

0-2 months
0-2 months preview image

0-2 months

Welcome to the world little one. It’s all grow-grow-grow for your puppy right now, so there’s many things to prepare.

2-3 months
2-3 months preview image

2-3 months

Your puppy is ready to come home and turn your world upside down. It’s time to put your preparation into practice – and remember to take it all in!

3-6 months
3-6 months preview image

3-6 months

You’re entering a period of immense growth, lots of learning and new adventures. Bring on the play date with the big wide world!

6-12 months
6-12 months preview image

6-12 months

Your fur-baby is nearing adulthood. Can you see their grown self coming through? Sigh…they grow up so fast, don’t they?

12-18 months
12-18 months preview image

12-18 months

Your puppy has turned one and they might not be so little anymore. Make sure to book their first annual check-up.

18 months - 3 years
18 months - 3 years preview image

18 months - 3 years

Your dog is one an established family member now. Enjoy who they have become and the bond you now share at this special stage.

3 - 8 years
3 - 8 years preview image

3 - 8 years

Your dog is a full-grown adult now. They understand where their place is in your home and the wider world.

8+ years
8+ years preview image

8+ years

Just like many senior citizens, senior dogs have some extra needs. Learn to look after your best friend and support their health as they grow older.

Why dogs Chew People & Things and How to Reduce Problem Chewing

Dr Kate Mornement - Pet Behaviourist profile picture

Dr Kate Mornement - Pet Behaviourist

PhD in Companion Animal Behaviour, BSc(Hons) in Zoology

Dr Kate Mornement is an Applied Animal Behaviourist, Consultant and Educator to pet parents, industry, government and media. She has a PhD which focused on companion animal behaviour from Monash University and a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Zoology (Animal Behaviour) from La Trobe University.

Chewing is a normal behaviour for dogs, especially puppies when they’re teething. However, it can become a problem in puppies or dogs who chew excessively or chew on people’s hands, clothes or items we don’t want them to chew.

Why do dogs chew people?

Puppies and adult dogs chew and mouth people for different reasons. Puppies often chew on people’s hands and fingers when they’re teething. Teething causes pain and discomfort in puppies, just as it does in human babies. The action of chewing on a person’s hand or fingers can help relieve the pain and discomfort.

Even though it may seem cute and doesn’t hurt too much when a puppy chews on your hand or fingers, it’s important not to encourage this behaviour.

Otherwise, it may persist into adulthood. As your puppy grows, so do their teeth and their strength. Adult dogs may continue to chew on people because they associate the behaviour with pleasurable feelings, attention or affection.

Some puppies and adult dogs may enjoy chewing on our clothing, which can be problematic because their teeth can easily rip the fabric. It can be great fun for a dog to chew on our clothing while we are walking around. Pulling on our pant cuffs or shoelaces while we walk away makes a terrific tug-of-war game.

Why do dogs chew objects?

It’s also common for puppies and adult dogs to chew objects such as their toys. Chewing objects helps to relieve pain from teething in puppies. Some puppies can be very vigorous and destructive chewers. Although most puppies grow out of their chewing-everything phase, certain dog breeds are known to be heavy chewers. These include Labradors, Beagles, Boxers and Rottweilers.

For some dogs, chewing is a self-soothing behaviour.

Many dogs will chew things to relieve stress or anxiety.

This is especially true for dogs who experience separation anxiety. If left home alone, they may begin to chew on something to relieve their stress and anxiety. This works because the act of chewing releases endorphins in the brain, which have a calming or soothing effect.

Other dogs might chew because they have learned that the behaviour results in a desired consequence, such as attention. For example, you catch Fido in the act of chewing something you don’t want him to, you go to him and give him attention. For some dogs, negative attention, such as being told off, is better than no attention at all. As a result, they learn to repeat the unwanted behaviour when they want attention again.

Sometimes chewing can be quite problematic. For example, when a dog chews on furniture, hoses, household items or dangerous items like sticks, power cords or poisonous plants.

How to stop problem chewing

If your dog is a strong chewer, chews inappropriately or is a breed of dog known to be a heavy chewer, rest assured, there are a few things you can do to help curb their bitey behaviour:

1. Provide appropriate outlets for chewing

Chewing is a normal behaviour and serves a purpose for dogs, so it’s important to provide them with appropriate outlets for their chewing.

A range of different chew toys designed specifically for your dog’s size and chewing level is best.

You can also feed your dog meals using food puzzle toys designed to be chewed. Long-lasting chew treats also provide an excellent outlet for normal chewing behaviour.

2. Ignore the behaviour

If your dog chews to get your attention, you have to ignore the behaviour as much as possible and instead teach your dog that they get your attention for a different behaviour (such as sitting calmly).

Try to avoid leaving things around the house or backyard that might tempt your dog. Instead, have lots of chew toys available.

3. Don’t turn it into a game

Avoid playing tug with your cheeky pup if they’re chewing on you or an item they shouldn’t have, such as a sock. Instead, be still and completely ignore the unwanted chewing. Ask your dog to sit and rather reward the obedient behaviour. Repeat as needed.

4. Identify and relieve their stress/anxiety

If your dog chews to relieve stress or anxiety, try to identify what’s causing it (e.g. separation anxiety) and take steps to address it. Speak to your vet or a qualified behaviourist for assistance.

Pet Paw-Trol

Promotion preview

Free Puppy Training Guide

Your puppy training guidebook.

Get yours now.

Promotion preview

Pet of the Month

Will your pet win a VitaPet Gift Pack?

Enter your Pet Now