How to Stop Puppy Chewing

When you first bring home your Golden Retriever puppy, chewing will be something that you will want to immediately start working on. 

©Photo Courtesy of Melinda Southall Rhodes

puppy chewing, Golden Retriever pup giving sad eyes look

Don’t let that sweet, innocent looking puppy face, fool you into believing that your little angel would never chew up your personal belongings! 

All puppies chew.  They need to do this.  It is good for their mouth and muscle development. 

Their chewing is also helpful in keeping their teeth and gums healthy.

Golden Retrievers especially like to have things in their mouths.

They were bred for retrieving game, and this instinct stays with them, regardless of whether or not you use them in hunting.

©Photo Courtesy of Zenia Johnsen

puppy chewing, Golden Retriever carrying game back to owner

One of my adult Goldens always greets company by bringing them a present. 

It doesn’t matter what she has, a dirty sock, a stuffed toy, my shoe, just whatever she can get her teeth on at the time!

She doesn’t actually chew on any of her gifts, although she also doesn’t exactly give them up either! 

It’s more like a gesture on her part, which she has learned will get her lots of attention and petting!

But there is a huge  difference between carrying things in her mouth and chewing up those items!

Your job is to teach your Golden Retriever what is acceptable to chew on and what is not.

Puppy chewing can be extremely destructive.  They have sharp, little teeth and can quickly ruin many things.

This is another reason you should either crate train or use baby gates while your puppy is still growing.

©Photo Courtesy of Susan Jackson

puppy chewing, Golden Retriever puppy chewing on his toys

You will notice that there seems to be certain household items that your puppy loves to chew on, and will go back to time and time again.

For those items, such as table legs, or cabinets, spray the item with bitter apple spray.

Grannick’s bitter apple spray is one of my favorite products on the market!  I have used it for several years, and it has never failed me yet!

If you have adopted an already grown dog, this spray will also work to stop older dogs from chewing.

When my pup has a favorite, unwanted spot to gnaw on, I simply spray the spot down with the bitter apple spray, and the chewing is over with.

The spray works great on wood objects and even cloth furniture, but does seem to need 2 or 3 applications if it is used on plastic objects, before it absorbs well into the plastic.

Using the bitter apple spray just naturally deters your puppy's chewing away from that item, by leaving a bitter taste in the pup’s mouth. 

I only use the spray on “favorite” chewing places, as it is too expensive and not very practical to spray everything in the house!

©Photo Courtesy of Evandro Martins

puppy chewing, older Golden Retriever puppy smiling

Your puppy needs to learn the word “no”.  While he is young, the word itself has no meaning to him, and he needs to associate “no” with unacceptable behavior.

I love the shake can method, as it is fast, easy, and non-threatening. 

Take an empty can of pop and rinse it out with water.  Then take 10 pennies and drop them into the can and duct tape the top of the can closed.

When you need to tell your puppy “no” and he just isn’t “getting it” and continuing in his behavior, shake the penny can while you say the word “no”.

You will have his attention, as he will stop to see what that strange new sound was.  Repeat your command, while taking the object away from him.  If he tries to re-grab the object, shake the can again while repeating “no”.

He will quickly make the association that “no” means to stop whatever he is doing, and within a very short time, you will not need the shake can to back up your verbal command.

A word of warning, NEVER use the shake can for housebreaking.  It is only to be used for association purposes to teach your Golden puppy that “no” has a negative meaning and to stop what he is doing. 

Every once in awhile, if my adult Goldens are getting way too rough while playing in the house, I can just show them the can, and they all settle down.

"Jolly, Delaney, and Keenan"
©Photo Courtesy of Brandon Harris

puppy chewing, 3 Golden Retrievers laying outside on porch

There are several things that you can do that will help your puppy's chewing to be beneficial for him, yet reassuring for you and safe on your home.

Have plenty of dog toys around.  Especially rope toys, and cow hooves. 

These items are great for helping to keep their teeth clean and for satisfying dog chewing needs.

Whenever you see your puppy chewing on an unacceptable object, replace it with one of his toys.

Anything that your puppy chews can potentially be a hazard.  Always check his toys and when they are getting worn, throw them out! 

Cow hooves getting too small can cause serious problems as your Golden will swallow what’s left, causing them later to throw it back up, or worse, it can become lodged which necessitates an emergency run to your vet.

When his rope toys become too stringy, throw it out and replace it with a new one.

©Photo Courtesy of Myles Angell

Golden Retriever puppy chewing on a stick

When your Golden is 6 months old, offer him an occasional “Greenie”. 

This product is really great for reducing any plaque or tartar build up from his teeth.  They come according to what weight he is, and my Goldens love them.

Never allow your pup to chew on an old pair of shoes, or any other type of clothing, as he will continue to do so all of his life.  Money and latest fashions mean nothing to him!

Also, do not allow him to chew on people. Although this is not officially chewing, it is puppy biting and it is covered in another article.




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