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When purchasing a puppy you may well be encouraged to purchase numerous toys in an apparent bid to keep it occupied.

In my opinion this creates destructive behaviour because mosts toys are made of plastic and puppies do not differentiate between their plastic toys, the remote control, your sunglasses, your children's toys, the sprinkler system etc..

Encouraging your puppy to chew on a vast selection of toys during its most crucial learning period - 8-20 weeks - will undoubtably lead to destructive behaviour and this will continue into its adult life.

My advice is to give a puppy a rope bone or a rubber toy such as a kong.  Teething rusks from pet shops are another option and there is a complete range for all breeds.

If you catch your puppy doing the wrong thing then correct its behaviour there and then.  The puppy will learn through consistency what it is not allowed to do.

However, if you have been informed that if you find your puppy chewing on your shoes or any other undesirable behaviour and that you need to put it in the laundry or ''sin bin'' as a form of punishment then you have been poorly advised.

A puppy will not make the mental connection between being put in the laundry and an incident with a shoe, sock, or anything else that you don't want it to do.

It is not a child that you can verbally explain things to and treating your puppy as one will not do anything at all to correct its naughty behaviour.

Dogs that dig are doing so for a reason and not because they are suffering from boredom, or simply wish to upset you by destroying the garden beds, lawns, and sprinkler systems.

There are certain breeds such as Malamutes, Huskies and Samoyeds that like to lie in cooling holes and there’s no where better place to dig a cooling hole than in a nice shady part of the garden. 

Over stimulation and frustration can cause a dog to dig a hole, as can the need to bury a fresh bone and once that fresh bone is nice and rotten, it is time to dig it up.

The first thing you need to ascertain is when and where your dog is digging and then find a solution.  

Sprinkler systems are often destroyed in the dead of night and usually just after the activation of the timer.

A hot, humid evening brings out the insects and not all live above ground. Burrowing insects under pathways and in lawns create a cacophony of sound heard only by a dog. 

Digging along a fence line is generally because there is something on the other side that the dog wants to get to and if it’s not another dog it may be the creatures possibly inhabiting/visiting the neighbour’s shed.

So keep an open mind when you discover your dog digging, there is a reason for it and a corresponding solution.


I mentioned in my article on Digging that giving a dog a nice fresh bone can result in the dog digging a nice big hole in the garden.

There are other more significant problems with bones that I have seen over my many years training domestic dogs at people’s homes.

In summer time bones will attract ants, flies, birds, wasps including the European Wasp.

Bones can become lodged in a dog’s throat, gut or abdomen causing unnecessary and costly surgery. And many dogs will vomit shortly after ingesting a bone.

The old adage ‘’Like a Dog with a Bone’’ is based on the real issue that some dogs become more protective over bones. Over protective behaviour can become aggressive behaviour and this is not breed dependant – it can happen in all breeds.

If the basis for giving a dog a bone is dental hygiene then, in my professional opinion, there are so many chew products on the market specifically designed for this purpose that they are your best option. They are designed to be consumed and digested so why not choose something like Greenies, Denta Sticks, Denta Chews etc..

Puppies shallow rooted milk teeth will fall out by the time your puppy reaches approximately 6 months of age so they don’t need cleaning anyway. Puppies simply need teething rusks until that time and then they too can move on to the products mentioned above.

And always keep front of mind to never leave babies, toddlers, and young children near any puppy or dog whilst the animal is eating anything, especially bones.