Is your puppy driving you crazy with the constant chewing? You’ve probably been told it’s natural, the puppy is teething and needs to chew on something, including your new leather shoes.
Well, there’s good news for you, but there’s also some not very good news, because golden retrievers are natural-born chewers and the best you can do is teach them to chew on something else.
Here is all you need to know about baby teeth, what you can expect, and what to do about your dog’s annoying habit.
When do golden retrievers’ adult teeth come out?
Like all puppies, golden retrievers have pointy little teeth, which feel razor-sharp when your pet playfully bites at your ankle. He’s not being mean or aggressive, that is his way of grabbing your attention.
All dogs are born toothless and they are 3-5 weeks old they get a set of 28 baby teeth. There are various theories why these teeth are so sharp – some say it’s because they’re carnivore animals and need to be able to tear meat, which is not really the case at a stage when normally puppies rely on their mother’s milk. Another theory is those baby teeth stay sharp because puppies don’t eat solids to wear them down.
Bottom line is you’ll have to learn to live with this problem until your dog turns four months old when baby teeth are replaced by adult teeth. However, that’s the average and each dog is different. Broadly speaking a golden retriever will lose all his baby teeth between the ages of four to six months, and they will be replaced by 42 adult teeth.
Do golden retriever puppies chewing swallow their baby teeth?
You might be surprised one day to find a little white tooth on the floor and this is how you’ll know it’s finally happening – your pup is growing up and changing his teeth.
On the other hand, do not despair if you don’t find any teeth around the house. Many dogs swallow their baby teeth while they’re eating and this won’t cause them any harm.
Also, don’t expect to see a tooth gap in your dog’s mouth as is the case with young children.
The adult teeth push out baby teeth, but sometimes the permanent ones grow right behind the baby one. When a baby tooth is pushed out the permanent one will immediately take its place and you won’t even realize it.
In any case, the first teeth to be replaced are the front ones – the six incisors top and bottom, located between the fangs, also called canines.
That’s not all, however, as it during this stage that the large molars at the back of the dog’s mouth will appear, causing the poor animal much grief. And, you guessed it, the dog will try to relieve the teething pains by chewing even more.
Tip: Regularly check your dog’s mouth at this stage. There are cases when an adult tooth is fully grown behind a puppy one, but the latter refuses to budge. You might need to see a vet about this!
What dogs chew the most?
Virtually all dogs need to chew during their teething period, but some breeds will go on chewing for the rest of their lives.
Golden retrievers are up there in the Big Chewers’ Hall of Fame. Other breeds of dogs that love to sink their teeth in just about anything they can get their paws on are labradors, chihuahua, bulldogs, Jack Russell terriers, border collies, or beagle.
Why do golden retrievers like to chew?
Dogs have different reasons for constantly nibbling or even destroying things around the house. Experts say little chihuahuas like to wreak havoc because they’re easily bored, beagles do it because they love to eat and would try just about anything, while bulldogs need something to chew on to relieve separation anxiety when their owners are away.
As for golden retrievers, they like to chew because they feel the need to have something in their mouths. They are, after all, retrievers and they were bred to fetch the birds their owners shot. It’s in their genes one might say!
How do you stop destructive chewing?
Many dog owners ask when does a puppy stop chewing? For many breeds, the answer is at six months, when they stop teething. This does not apply to your golden retriever so you’ll have to deal with it. And the sooner you do this, the better!
Some people want to know if they should punish their puppy for chewing and the answer is No!
First of all, you have to consider the poor puppy has a problem, he’s suffering from teething pains and this is his way of alleviating them. You wouldn’t punish a baby wailing day and night because he’s teething, would you?
Punishing a puppy for chewing might have long term consequences, altering your dog’s behavior. The puppy will consider such punishment as completely unjustified and, to be honest, he has no way of knowing that was a $100 pair of shoes he just ruined!
This could play out in two different ways – your dog might become aggressive and vengeful because he was wronged, or the dog might be cowed into submission, becoming an unnaturally obedient animal.
Training your golden retriever to stop chewing
The best way to deal with this problem is to train your dog, just as you do when they bark too much. You will need to start early and be consistent.
Make a loud noise
When you catch the dog in the act – nibbling at your slippers or destroying the legs of your furniture you should make a loud noise, like clapping your hands or blowing a whistle to grab his attention.
Use a commanding voice
Even if it was your best pair of shoes that got ruined, yelling at the dog won’t get you anywhere. By showing anger you also expose your weakness. The dog will take note that chewing your shoes is a good way of punishing you if he’s upset!
To properly train a dog you have to reassert your position and you can only do this by using a commanding voice. Be firm if you want to show the dog who’s in charge!
In some cases, dogs chew because they have too much energy and just have to do something with it. Try introducing longer walks into your schedule, take the dog to the park or play the old Fetch game with them. This is particularly helpful with golden retrievers since is it what they were bred for.
Redirect the dog’s attention
To take his mind away from those tasty shoes, offer your dog a chewing toy. Actually, you should do this from the very beginning as toys might keep them away from your more valuable stuff.
When you catch your dog chewing your stuff, keep calm and present him with a dog toy and take your shoes away with a gentle move. You will have to do this a couple of times until the dog understands he is not to chew on your stuff. Be generous with your puppy – chew toys are hardly as expensive as your wife’s new stilettos!
Dog proof your house
When you get a new puppy it is best to dog-proof your house and put valuable items out of his reach to avoid unfortunate accidents.
- If you’re not sure you can trust your pet, you should restrict access to the rest of the house by putting him in a small room while you’re away.
- Some recommend using a crate but this only works for puppies. Dogs are not meant to be in a cage!
- As mentioned before, provide entertainment in the form of special dog toys to keep him busy while you’re away.
- Do not, under any circumstance, offer your dog old shoes or other discarded household items to chew on. Dogs cannot tell the difference between things you no longer need and a good pair of shoes.
Use aversion sprays
Another method to stop your dog from chewing on things around the house is to spray forbidden items with a deterrent spray, something that tastes nasty like some bitter apple or bitter cherry spray. Introduce the dog to the bitter taste by applying a bit to a piece of cloth and rubbing it on the dog’s nuzzle. Allow the dog to spit, and drool and give him water to get rid of the taste. This will teach your pet to associate the smell of the aversion spray with the unpleasant taste so he will avoid touching anything sprayed with it.
You can use this method throughout the teething period. If you provide your golden retriever with a decent supply of chewing toys you might be lucky enough to see him forget he ever thought your shoes were worth chewing.
Golden retrievers lose their baby teeth between 4 and 6 months of age, but some might take a bit longer.
Teething pain is one of the main reasons puppy chew whatever catches their interest.
Keep in mind that golden retrievers are known for their love to chew, which they will retain all their life. It’s a natural and healthy habit so you shouldn’t try to discourage them from chewing altogether.
You need a good strategy to teach your dog what he is allowed to chew and what not. If you start training your pet early, chances are he will understand the general idea and will learn to stick to his toys leaving your stuff alone. Good luck!