Got a new dog or puppy in the house? If so, check out tips and tricks for getting your new pet off on the right “paw” and helping your new best friend develop good habits from the get go.  One nasty bad habit you want to avoid at all cost is allowing your dog to roam freely and chew on or destroy personal items, shoes, furniture, or their dog bedding, etc. Your dog needs to be taught what is okay to chew on and play with is off limits. To get things off to a good start, keep your new puppy in his or her dog crate for the first few weeks or a month and only allow them out when you are able to oversee them and keep an eye on what they are doing. Next, build or buy a good quality dog toy box and keep it full of lots of fun dog toys, chew bones, kongs, rawhides, balls and so on.  A trick to making a toy irresistible to your dog is to smear it with a little peanut butter.  As soon as you let your dog out of his crate to play, bring them directly to the toy box.  Play around with the dog for a few minutes, showing them just how much fun they can have with their new toys. Praise them for chewing on the right things. When your dog’s attention starts to wander to items or areas which are off limits, give them a firm “Ah, ah” or “leave it” command and return the dog to their toybox and (freshly smeared with peanut butter) toys. Play around with the pooch a little more and repeat this process several times before returning your dog to his crate for rest and unwinding. It may take several weeks, but your dog will soon learn that their toybox is the doggie place to go for fun and games. Beginning early with some initial dog training and teaching your pooch what’s hot and what’s not is an important step to keeping your new best friend from accidentally ingesting unsafe items which could damage their health and cause life threatening intestinal blockages or poisonings.  It also help protect your personal items and furniture from chew marks and doggie damage.