OMG, what's going on here? My beautiful, sweet, 10 week old puppy has turned into CUJO overnight! She's biting my hand every time I reach for her. She's grabbing my pant leg, she's biting my socks as I walk, she's getting aggressive when I try to correct her? HELP ME MR WIZARD!!!!!!! It's called teething and it can effect more than just their teeth. Teething can last as long as 12 months and the behaviors associated with the discomfort can become learned behaviors and last long after the physical need to teeth. Calcium plays a very important role in the development of strong bones and teeth but it also is involved in other major functions in the body. During this time there is a greater demand for calcium in the diet. A lack of dietary calcium (Calcium/Phosphorus+ Vitamin D3 for absorption) can manifest itself in the form of misplaced aggression, body soreness, joint pain, and ears becoming erect! When calcium is demanded for the growth of new teeth it will be pulled from other parts of the body sometimes effecting the cartilage in the ears. You may notice your dogs ears go from folded over to standing erect overnight. This may or may not be a permanent thing but you can help by keeping your puppy on a good quality puppy food that uses natural calcium sources. Turn the puppy food bag over and read the ingredient list. If you look at your dogs teeth you'll be able to see what's taking place. At around 4 months old, the baby teeth are starting to be pushed out by the emerging adult teeth. Sometimes The baby teeth are just pushed aside and you'll see 2 teeth where only 1 should be. The gums are sometimes red and swollen. They are either painful of itchy, either way they need RELIEF!!!! Since dogs don't have access to the ORIJEL, they do the next best thing, TEETH, or CHEW on anything and everything to get relief. Quite often you'll see your dog digging at his mouth or acting like he's got something stuck in him throat, these are all attempts to remove or dislodge a tooth. Since the surface inside the mouth has many edges, peaks and contours they will chew on objects that have the same peaks, contours and textures in an attempt to really stimulate all the itchy, swollen spots. My favorite teething tool is the White Knuckle bone. Sometimes a soft item is preferred (i.e. your hands) other times a hard item (i.e. the corner of your favorite coffee table) is the ticket. Which ever the case may be your job is to provide a wide selection of APPROPRIATE chew toys, and be diligent about REDIRECTING the teething onto those item. Next comes the diligence and patients on your part. Every time an inappropriate object is in their mouth you remove it, say NO, NO CHEW and immediate place an appropriate item in it's place saying GOOD BOY!!!!!! This is redirecting the behavior and it take repetition on your part. It's important to use your voice too. NO,NO CHEW needs to be in a low growling type of disapproving tone and GOOD BOY, needs to be in a high pitch, excited tone.
Keep plenty of chew toys on hand but only offer 2 or 3 at a time. When they stop chewing on those replace them with 2 or 3 others. Rotate them threw out the day, they'll never know your not getting them something new every time!
REMEMBER, in the scheme of things this time in their life is short and will someday only be a memory!! NEXT LESSON: What to feed your puppy/dog, CLICK HERE
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