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Life has been a bit of an adventure since you welcomed Dexter into your home. Your once clean house now looks like a sea of toys, chewed bits of furniture and puppy related mess. Fortunately, you’ve learned to live with the mess and you wouldn’t swap Dexter for anything. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain things you’d like to change. For example, your puppy has developed a habit of chewing socks. It isn’t that you wear super expensive designer socks that you want to protect. It’s more that putting socks on in the winter when it’s raining or snowing, only to find out they have a hole, isn’t enjoyable.
Training your puppy not to chew socks, therefore, is important. It will save you spending as much on socks and you do on food. If you can tackle this type of behavior, you will also learn the tools to address a number of other bad habits too.
Fortunately, training your puppy to not chew socks is pretty straightforward. The first thing to do is introduce a range of deterrence measures. This should remove that initial temptation. You will then need to look at more productive avenues to channel their energy down. You will use positive reinforcements to stop Dexter chewing socks.
If your puppy’s sock chewing habit is still very new, then you may need just a week or so to put an end to it. But if they are stubborn and have developed a real taste for smelly and worn socks, then you may need several weeks. If you get training right you won’t have to worry about removing items of clothing in the evenings again. Nor will you have to warn guests when they step through the front door to keep a watchful eye on their feet.
Before you can start training, you will need to check you have several bits. A water spray bottle and a deterrence collar will be needed. You will also need a quiet and easily accessible room you can place your puppy in.
Stock up on tasty treats or break their favorite food into small chunks. A selection of toys and food puzzles will also be required. While you don’t need to set aside a set period of time each day, try to be around as much as possible to tackle the behavior.
Once you have all that, just bring enthusiasm and a positive attitude, then work can begin!
The Limiting Temptation Method
The easiest solution to remove your puppy’s temptation is to wear shoes or slippers over your socks. Alternatively, you may want to consider wearing flip flops. If they can’t see socks, they will quickly lose interest.
It’s also worth keeping laundry well out of the way. That may mean your teenagers have to clean up their rooms slightly more often. If Dexter doesn’t have access to socks, he won’t chew them.
Whenever you do catch your puppy chewing socks, you must react. To begin with, head over and give a stern ‘NO’. Make sure they know you mean business without terrifying them. This will get them associating chewing socks with negative consequences.
Spray of water
If the ‘NO’ doesn’t do the job, upgrade to the water bottle. Carry one around and give a quick spray of water near your puppy’s face whenever you catch them chewing. This will make them think before they bite down next time.
A quick hit of a remote button when you catch the pup chewing socks and an unpleasant spray of citronella will be emitted. Follow all of these steps and Dexter will soon stop getting so much pleasure out of chewing socks.
The Alternatives Method
Your puppy may be chewing socks because they are teething. It may also be because they are bored and full of energy. So start taking them on a longer walk or throwing a ball for them. This will ensure they spend their time napping rather than destroying clothing.
Tug of war
Spend a few minutes each day playing tug of war with your puppy. Again if their chewing is because they are teething, this may scratch the itch.
Whenever you do catch your puppy chewing, put a chew toy in their mouth instead and encourage them to bite down on that. This will show them what what is and isn’t acceptable to chew.
Whenever your puppy plays around with you and moves away from any socks, give them a tasty treat. You can also give your pooch some verbal praise. Positive reinforcements will help get your puppy associating other kinds of play with delicious rewards instead.
Leave Dexter some food puzzles to get through. Not only will they keep your puppy occupied for hours, but they will direct his biting energy into a more productive and safe activity. These are particularly fantastic to leave out if you’re going to leave your puppy on their own.
The Time Out Method
Make sure you have a quiet room that is easily accessible. Then remove any toys, bed, socks or anything else your pup would like to play with. This is going to be their time-out space, where they are taken if they chew socks.
Take the prisoner away
Whenever you catch your puppy chewing socks, calmly take them by the collar and lead them to the time-out room. Don’t get angry, remain calm and don’t say anything. Then close the door and leave them there for 30 seconds.
Once the 30 seconds is up, let your puppy out. Carry on as you were before, just keep a close eye on them in case they act up again. Just try not to get your puppy too worked up if possible. This will only increase the likelihood of them re-offending.
Increase the time
If you catch your puppy chewing socks again, calmly take them back to the time-out room. However, this time leave the pup in there for an additional 30 seconds. Keep adding 30 seconds on each time until they get the message. Your puppy will soon catch on.
It’s important everyone in the household reacts in the same manner. If some of you laugh or brush it off when the pup chews socks, then Dexter will be confused and that end result will be harder to reach. So make sure you all react in the same manner.
By James Barra
Published: 04/04/2018, edited: 01/08/2021