Question: I have a 6-month-old Golden Retreiver puppy. We cannot get him to stop eating everything that’s not tied down or chewing on everything in the house (forget shoes–he eats window sills and furniture).
He’s been through puppy classes, and obeys commands. When we ask him to stop what he’s doing, he complies (we never hit and use the “click and treat” approach). He just has this compulsion to always chew things (he does not bite us). In fact, at times he’ll sit and keep his fleece mattress in his mouth.
Answer: Good job on doing classes and positive training with him. At 6 months, he is in prime teething age- just like humans, dogs lose their first set of teeth. It is normal for teething pups to bite and chew almost everything within their reach (in fact, I had to interrupt writing this post to entertain our 8 week old pup, who was trying to chew on our other dog, the cat, and the desk chair). Chances are, once he’s done teething his chewing compulsion will subside, to some degree.
When he is chewing on something like the window sill, tell him to stop, then redirect him to one of his toys (with praise). Frozen toys are good for teething pups- they will soothe his gums. Take a rope toy, soak it in chicken broth and freeze it; or use anything else appropriate for him that can be frozen.
Keep him contained when you’re gone, if you don’t already. A properly crate trained dog will be fine with some favorite chew toys in his box for awhile.
To protect your furniture and surfaces, try Bitter Apple spray- the taste deters dogs, and it does not harm furniture or smell too strong.