Help Your Puppy Learn What Not to Chew with a Chew Stick Holder

Training your puppy with the Hold-a-Chew

There’s nothing like getting a new puppy. Soft, cuddly, plump little bundles that oftentimes start out so innocent and then can suddenly send a household into chaos. The right training can make all the difference when it comes to having a happy household and a happy new puppy.

We don’t have all the answers and we’re not professional dog trainers, but we have seen the difference that teaching a puppy what to chew can make in the process of keeping happy households and happy puppies. We want to share these chew training tips to help you get off to a good start with your new puppy.

Why do dogs chew?
Puppies will chew especially when they are teething. The pressure helps relieve some of the pain that comes with the new teeth pushing through the gums. As dogs get older they will chew to release energy, overcome boredom and relieve anxiety. Not all dogs will continue to chew as they get older, but some will become very aggressive chewers and will chew anything including furniture, woodwork, clothing, shoes, and many other items they think are interesting. Teaching puppies what they should chew will help as they grow and develop adult dog chewing habits.

When should you start chew training?
Now! Potty training usually starts right away and so should other training. A worn out puppy is usually a good puppy and training in small doses is a fun way to engage them and wear them out. Most puppies are eager to learn especially if it’s fun and results in rewards.

How should you start chew training?
Start with the Mini Hold-a-Chew and a Mini Collagen Twist. Once the Collagen Twist is secured in the Hold-a-Chew, give this to your puppy. Some will start to chew right away, others will sniff or taste the chew stick. Our first Bernedoodle puppy, Lucy, was a chewer right from the start. The Hold-a-Chew was invented after she swallowed an eight-inch bully stick when she was four months old. She was fine, but we didn’t want to take any chances. When we brought home our other Bernedoodle, Daisy, she had less interest in chewing but over time has become an aggressive chewer who loves her Hold-a-Chew, especially with a bully stick.

We knew the Hold-a-Chew was keeping our dogs safer when they chewed but soon discovered that it was also teaching them that it was only okay to chew what was in the Hold-a-Chew.

With your pup, continue to provide the Hold-a-Chew and Collagen Twists. Some puppies may finish a Twist in one chewing session and others may take days or weeks.

What if my puppy doesn’t seem interested in the Hold-a-Chew?
The trick is to make the Hold-a-Chew more enticing. If you’ve used only the Natural Twists, it might be a good time to try the Chicken Flavored Twists or introduce your puppy to the Thin Bully Sticks. One of our customers wrote to tell us she soaked the Collagen Twists in beef broth as well. Most puppies will find these enticing. This is when the training can begin.

Three ways to train your dog with the Hold-a-Chew:

1. Build Trust for the “Give” Command
Teaching your dog to “Give” is more than just a way to make sure an item doesn’t get destroyed, it can be crucial to your dogs safety if they put the wrong thing in their mouth and try to swallow it. We’ve approached this in two ways with our Bernedoodles:

1) Be sure to start this one early. When your puppy is chewing with the Hold-a-Chew, approach them quietly, calmly say “Give” and then gently take the Hold-a-Chew. Give them praise and then return it. Do this frequently so that they become comfortable and trust you will return the Hold-a-Chew. We still do this occasionally with our grown Bernedoodles and when we approach and say “Give” they will stop chewing and hand it over without a second thought. And we still praise them for doing so, of course.

2) When there comes a time that your puppy picks up or starts to chew something they shouldn’t have, say “Give” and offer them their Hold-a-Chew with a Collagen Twist or Bully Stick in it. This will start to set up a pattern for understanding that if something is in the Hold-a-Chew, it’s good to chew, but if it’s not, they should not be chewing on it. This will need to be practiced consistently by everyone in your household.

We understand that you likely won’t be carrying a Hold-a-Chew with a Collagen Twist everywhere you go, but the same technique applies if you’re out with your pup. Make sure that you have some extra special treats in a pocket (something like Chew Work’s Paw-pers or Training Bites work well), and if your pup picks up something they shouldn’t have outdoors, say “Give” and offer the special treat. There are lots of things outdoors that puppies and dogs don’t like to give up, so this may take practice. Be sure to offer lots of praise, along with the treat, when they give up whatever usually nasty thing that they find.

The Chew Works Puppy Pack is a good way to get started with your training. It contains a Hold-a-Chew, Natural Collagen Twists, Chicken Collagen Twists, Bully Sticks, Paw-pers treats and Training treats.

2. Reduce “mouthy” or biting behavior

We hear this one a lot. Puppies can get really mouthy and bite a lot, especially when they are teething. Our Bernedoodles stayed mouthy even long after they were done teething. This is somewhat similar to “Give” – just like you don’t want your puppy to chew on your shoes, you don’t want them to chew on you or your neighbors and guests. When this behavior starts, give your pup their Hold-a-Chew with a Collagen Twist or Bully Stick. You will have to be as persistent about giving this to them as they are about chewing on your arm or hand. It sometimes helps to hold the Hold-a-Chew for them as they chew. Add lots of praise when they stop chewing you and chew on the Hold-a-Chew.

Teething tip: Before you put a Collagen Twist in the Hold-a-Chew soak it in warm water for 5-10 minutes. It will make the Twist more malleable to help sooth sore gums.

3.  Stop the begging at the dinner table
This may not be training so much as a tip for keeping your dog engaged so you can enjoy a peaceful meal or have guests without a pup begging during dinner. We’ve had several customers mention that as they sit down to a meal, they give their dog a Hold-a-Chew with a collagen roll or bully stick, and this is the routine we have with ours as well.

As your puppy gets older, you may want to designate a special spot for them to chew. We have a small rug for each of our dogs and whenever they get their Hold-a-Chew, they go to their rugs. They know that we will eat our dinner at the table (or often on the couch) and they’ll go to their rugs to chew. If your dog comes to the table, it may take a few times of walking them back to their spot with their Hold-a-Chew for them to understand what they should be doing.

Stop! A bonus training tip
While not related to chewing, because we are dog lovers and recognize how unexpected circumstances can happen that endanger our pups, we want to share what has been one of the most important training commands we use with our Bernedoodles. It’s simply “Stop.” And they will stop on a dime. It has taken time to get to this point but it has stopped them from running in the street, chasing rabbits or squirrels, running toward someone to greet them, and from continuing a behavior we don’t want. The American Kennel Club offers good information about
how to teach the stop command.

Other puppy training resources and what you’ll learn
While there are plenty of online tutorials and YouTube videos you can watch, we highly recommend local, in-person training simply because it gives puppies a chance to start socializing at an early age. Both of our dogs went to puppy school and my big takeaway is that puppy school is for the dog owner as much as the puppy. It’s where Lucy and Daisy learned to play and get along with other dogs. It was where I learned that when something goes wrong with one of their behaviors, I need to stop and look at what was different about the situation or what I did. It was almost always one of those factors that led to a bad outcome.

Puppy training is usually easy to find through dog daycare or boarding facilities, local pet stores, community colleges and through individuals who specialize in training.

About the authors and their experience with training

As we mentioned, we are not professional trainers. Just lifelong dog lovers who like having well-behaved dogs that we can take everywhere with us. We hike together, go out to eat together, travel together and shop together. With Lucy weighing in at 100 pounds and Daisy at 85 pounds, these activities wouldn’t be possible without good training.

And Bernedoodles are some of the toughest in the bunch to train. We read a lot before getting Lucy and thought we knew what we were getting into. We had no idea. When we walked her in the neighborhood, all our neighbors would cross to the other side of the street to avoid her over-enthusiastic greetings. By four months she was over 40 pounds and very strong. After a lot of frustration, I called a local dog daycare with a trainer and asked for help. His response was that we might not need training, just more socialization to tire her out. It really helped. With her being more exhausted, training was easier. It took a while but I became comfortable taking her anywhere. So shortly after that, we decided to bring Daisy home. Another Bernedoodle. My husband and I told each other that no training experience could be worse than Lucy. We were wrong. Daisy was worse. I was very close to sending Daisy to doggie boot camp. But we persevered and now have two very incredible dogs that have completely stolen our hearts. When people stop and tell us how well-behaved they are, we just smile and feel so proud of our crew.

Not all dogs are as hard to train as Bernedoodles but all puppy training will require persistence, consistency and love. All our best as you start a new journey with your pup!

-The Chew Works Crew

Please know that this content reflects our experience as pet owners and the experiences of other pet owners who share their stories with us. We share these experiences to help other dog owners but are not veterinarians or experienced dog trainers. Always check with your vet if you have questions about what’s best for your dog. If you'd like to share a dog chew story or training tips that work, we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at