For many dog owners, the worst thing about the puppy phase is the incessant chewing. The fact of the matter is that all dogs chew and you should not expect to be able to eradicate this behavior completely. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t control it a little bit. In this article you will learn why Beagles chew and what you can do about it.
Why Do Dogs Chew on Things?
When you see something you have never seen before, what is your first reaction? You probably pick it up with your hands to see how it feels and to explore its parts. Dogs do not have hands so they use their mouths to explore new things. It is important to realize that chewing is a natural behavior for Beagle puppies (and for all dogs), so you should not try to get rid of the behavior completely.
Chewing is not just a way for puppies to explore their world – it can also be a way to assuage their boredom and it can help to mitigate the pain of teething. Rather than trying to keep your puppy from chewing on things entirely, focus instead on teaching what he is and is not allowed to chew on.
Tips for Curbing Mouthing and Chewing Behavior
Your first reaction when you find your Beagle puppy chewing on something is probably to yell at him. This may startle your puppy into stopping what he is doing which, in your eyes, may be the desired effect. What you may not realize, however, is that when you yell at your puppy he doesn’t necessarily understand why – all he knows is that you are displeased or he may even be frightened by your behavior.
There is no harm in gently disciplining your Beagle puppy and in correcting his behavior, but you need to go about it in a certain way to ensure that he understands what is happening and that he learns what it is you want him to do differently.
When you find your Beagle puppy chewing on something he shouldn’t be, tell him “No” in a firm voice (without yelling) and take the item away. Immediately after removing the item, give your puppy his favorite chew toy and then reward him with a treat and a “Good boy” when he starts chewing on the toy instead.
By rewarding your puppy for chewing on his own toys he will quickly learn that he is allowed to chew on them, but he is not allowed to chew on your shoes, for example. The key here is to be consistent about correcting your puppy’s chewing behavior in this way to ensure that he repeats the desired behavior in the future.
If your Beagle puppy has a problem with chewing on people, often referred to as mouthing, you may need to follow a slightly different approach. While they are very young, puppies spend a lot of time playing with their litter mates and mouthing plays a key role in this type of play. In most cases, puppies learn bite inhibition when their littermates yelp if they bite too hard. In some cases, however, puppies do not learn bite inhibition from their little mates so you must teach it to them.
When you are playing with your puppy and he nips or bites too hard, simply make a loud yelping noise and withdraw your hand. Turn your attention away from your puppy for a few seconds before resuming play. If you are consistent with this sequence your puppy will learn that biting too hard means that play stops and he will be less likely to do it in the future.
Now that you have a better understanding of why your Beagle puppy chews on things you will be better equipped to deal with the behavior when it occurs. Remember, the key to dealing with problem behaviors is not to try and eradicate them completely but to redirect them into a more appropriate outlet.