our 5 month old lab, Simba, is mostly a chill dog and we’ve only had him for 5 days. He’s started to chew on his harness and leash when he can reach it while he’s wearing it. So far, he doesn’t chew it when he’s not wearing it.
We sprayed bitter apple on it (it’s old- perhaps it expired??) but he isn’t at all phased by the bitter Apple. Also when we try to stop him from doing this, he gets too wild and reverts to his wild puppy play which freaks us out a bit.
I know his crate shouldn’t be a punishment but it seems to be the only thing we can do to calm him down.
And sometimes he whimpers in his crate most of the time, he just settles down in his crate he seems the most calm when he’s sleeping in crate or relaxing outside crate
So here are my questions:
1) how do we get him to stop chewing on his harness & leash?
2) what should we do when he gets into his wild puppy play mode?
3) what should we do when he whimpers in his crate.
Your puppy is probably teething, so make sure he has ample chew toys and see if he'll maybe carry one in his mouth when you walk. If you have friends or neighbors who have friendly dogs, now is the time to socialize him to other dogs so he can learn bite inhibition. Playing with other dogs will also tire him out so he can walk more calmly later. Avoid putting him in the crate when he gets overstimulated-- this could cause him to very much dislike it. Leave the room until he calms down, or just stand up and turn around, ignoring him until he calms. When he's in his crate, give him fun things to do like frozen Kongs with food inside. A pup at 5 months has a ton of energy-- you can help wear him out without wearing yourself out too by giving him food puzzles and doing things that stimulate his brain. This will help a lot with the spazzing out.
I’m in agreement with Jane. Biting is teething and boredom so chew toys and exercise or treat puzzles are good solutions and time will help with the teething. Right now it feels so good to bite so teach that pup to bite the right things.
Avoid the crate when he is overstimulated or he will associate the crate with anxiety. The crate needs to be his favorite safe place and he should have special chew toys or maybe a knuckle bone that he only gets in the crate to make it even more appealing.
Try a simple calming technique for when he’s overstimulated. It’s called Sit On The Dog. Leash the dog and find a spot to watch TV or read a book quietly with no one else around. Give the dog just enough leash to lay down at your feet. Ignore the dog. Bore him as much as possible. No toys. Nothing fun to watch or smell or chew. Once he’s settled, give him 30 minutes to just rest. Do this every day for a few weeks and that pup will know how to calm himself.
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