All puppies chew on things they are not supposed to. I think it is safe to assume that much is certain. My experience with our Border Collie puppy taught me that this breed is no exception. In fact our Border Collie chewing issues seemed to involve everything in house, including our fingers. His favorite targets were shoes, of course, and more specifically flip-flops. Living down on the Southeastern coast we probably have far more of these than most folks. The one good thing about puppies and flip-flops is that the flip-flops are cheap! We needed to take corrective action very quickly after bringing Ned home to fix the chewing issue.
There were two major points that we needed to fix with his chewing. The first was his desire to chew on our fingers and toes which is the subject for another article on bite inhibition. The second and more expensive issue was his need to chew on furniture, shoes, books, cigarette packs (I’ve since quit), tissues, his leash, rugs, one very expensive pair of high heels, purses, a nail polish bottle (that was a scary one) and just about everything else you can imagine. The interesting thing was, especially as a puppy, he was very rarely left alone and never in an unsafe or uncontrolled environment. When we got our Border Collie puppy we had just been married, and had no kids yet, so you can imagine that he was the center of our attention! Anyway, he would be sleeping in a corner while we made dinner, for example, and not 1 minute later he was up and had torn a book to shreds…not 10 feet away from us!
Enter the Kong Chew Toy. If you have not heard of these things they are, in my humble opinion, just about the best puppy chewing aid ever invented. Made of an almost indestructible hard rubber these are generally in the shape of a hollow cone with a tiny hole on one end and a larger hole on the other. The idea is to pack the Kong with treats or kibble and the dog has to work and chew at it to get the food out. They come in all sizes including really small ones specifically for small dogs and/or puppies.
Our trick to packing these things was as follows. Take one really good smelly treat, like a liver treat, and put it all the way at the bottom. Fill the majority of it with puppy kibble and then wedge a larger treat, like a bone cookie, in at the top. Once our Border Collie got a hold of this he was set for a long time. As a very young puppy he would chew on that thing until he fell asleep. When he woke up he would go straight to the Kong to chew rather than a book or a flip-flop. Some people have suggested using peanut butter as a packing material and I can see that this would be great. Our Border Collie, unfortunately, seems to have a rather unpleasant reaction to peanut butter so we just used the kibble and treat combination.
Once we started using these chewing aids our life around the house was much better. Very few times after did our dog chew on something he was not supposed to, our flip-flop collection was safe and, thankfully, we lost no more expensive high heels! Check your local pet store or click here to learn more about them.