Q: I have a one-year old male who chews everything in sight. I have a brand new home and he has made holes in the wall, chewed every corner in my house, and torn and eaten my carpet. The list goes on and on. Any suggestions?

A: Most More information is needed in order to formulate a step-by-step behavior modification program for your puppy. Here are a few of the many possibilities:

Boredom. If your puppy is bored, he might be self-employed to keep himself busy;

Physical problem. He might have a physical problem contributing to this issue;

Stress. His environment might be stressful in some way. This could relate to other animals in the family, whether or not he is neutered, other dogs in the neighborhood, new construction, new home, the list is endless.

A professional, positive trainer can help evaluate the situation and design an appropriate behavior modification program. Go to www.APDT.com and/or www.NADOI.com for trainers in your area. Most of these trainers use positive methods so interview him or her before hiring. He or she will address the cause rather than the symptom and help you resolve the problem. Your vet can examine him to rule out any physiological problems.

That being said, the first thing I suggest is to set up your environment so it is impossible for him to do his self-employed “home decorator” routine, that is, chewing everything up. Make sure that only appropriate chew items are accessible to him and teach him to really value those items. A trainer can show you how.

More exercise is definitely called for. A tired dog has less energy to spend demolishing a house. A strong, but positive leadership program must be initiated. Positive training is rooted in teaching a dog what to do instead of trying to teach him to stop doing something. What would you like him to do instead? If you don’t know, he won’t be able to figure it out either.

Also, there are some excellent books and DVDs available to help. Those include of course, my book, The Puppy Whisperer, and DVD, The Dog Whisperer, Beginning and Intermediate Dog Training for Puppies and Dogs.

Basically, your dog has too much freedom, not enough structured exercise, and doesn’t have a clue as to what you would like him TO DO. To sum it all up … he’s a puppy.

Very best wishes!