I have to say, I am really lucky in the fact that Border Collies don’t tend to be avid chewers. Obsessed about movement, yes. Crazy fanatical tug playing, fetch playing and cat stalking, check. Bite holes in your pants and shirt sleeves because you moved too fast, yep. But not destroy your couch, eat the drywall, flood the house with eating a pipe chewers like some other breeds I have seen! What breeds you ask? Usually the dogs bred to use their mouth like retrievers, or the powerful working breed dogs like pits, bully breeds, rotties, huskies, malamutes. With these breeds you MUST have a plan in place in puppy hood or you will lose your mind and perhaps quite a bit of your stuff too!
First thing first, crate train your puppy! All dogs benefit immensely from crate training. Take at look at my crate training blog to read why and HOW to do this. Now that your puppy is crate trained, use it! Use it when you are gone, use it when you sleep and use it when you are home even but can’t do anything with the puppy because you just have to get dinner on the stove and the kids are climbing the walls or you have to take that important conference call and pace around the house while you listen in.
Next step, be sure you know what to do when your dog is out of the crate! This means having a rough routine like potty time, play time, training time, chew on your bone, race around the house a bit and then nap time back in the crate. As your puppy grows, those times out of the crate for training and playing will get longer and you will start to do free-play after the potty outside where he can be loosely supervised for 40 minutes or more and not get into trouble, provided he has plenty of dog stuff to play with.
Training time is more than just obedience cues. It can be teaching tug and drop, tricks, how to go to the crate on cue, fetching a toy on command or doing fun brain games like 101 things to do with a box or in my case, a laundry basket. YouTube has great videos for these things.
Play time can be fetch, chase games, hide and seek, tugging, laser light (with minimal use), playing with a water hose, catch, toy discrimination and DIY agility.
As for the “stuff”….most dog owners have a toy box. And in this toy box is lots of dog stuff. Toys, chews, nylabones, kongs. I encourage clients to have a toybox but also highly encourage them to rotate what is in this toy box to keep it exciting! Don’t leave bones out after they have been abandoned. Also, I personally keep tugs for play time with the dog and not in the toy box. Banned from our toy boxes are bones, kongs, tugs and tennis balls. Those are all operated by me when I give it to the dog, which creates more value for the dog and they use the item much much longer and are happier with it.
Finally, if you catch your dog chewing on an item, you can spray it with a no-chew spray. Never ever punish the dog. This teaches them to run away from you and can turn into epic games of keep away. Your dog is just being developmentally normal. We all get frustrated as humans, so if yelling happens, it happens. Do your best to keep your cool and use the info that you forgot to crate the dog or you didn’t pick up your shoes so you can do better next time!