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Help. My dog chews things up when we leave

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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RIP Brute

Got food?
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 1:19pm PST 
My dog is spoiled rotten. He gets all my love and attention but when my boyfriend and I leave sometimes (not all the time) we come home to something destroyed. Last week it was our new remote control, some styrofoam cups, and now last night it was something dear to me. My parents gave my boyfriend and I a gift for babysitting my little brother and sister for a week while they went on vacation. It was a beautifully hand-carved mahagony dolphin. My boyfriend lost it and Brute got a spanking. People say that if you don't catch them in the act then they don't know what they did wrong. I do not agree in my situation because everytime we have ever came home and he did something bad. He coward down and ran underneath my bed as soon as we walk in the door. We have a doggy door for him to come and go from the house to the yard as he pleases with plenty of toys. What can I do? My boyfriend and I are at our wits end... Tiffany
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Westley

Am I a Rottan- Shepherd Dog?- :-D
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 1:33pm PST 
This sounds like separation anxiety. I'd recommend crate training, more exercise, ignoring him for about 1/2 hour before you leave, and giving him a bye-bye bone, a special (long lasting) toy or treat that he only gets when you leave.

Could it be that he cowers when you come home because you've gotten angry at him for destroying things so often that he thinks you are always in a bad mood when you come home? I would suggest just ignoring him for a while when you come home and calmly clean up any messes. (Though if you get a crate there won't be any.)

Westley used to be like that, too, but with the above tips we overcame it, plus he has settled down as he's gotten older.

Good luck!
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Pugsley

I Might Be Small- But I Have It- All!
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 1:33pm PST 
How about you crate him?

And anything he can chew up is your fault. You should of put it out of reach to were he could not of gotten it. I know that he is a giant breed, but maybe put stuff that he chews while you are away in a room and close the door.

I think your best bet would be to crate him, that way you don't have to worry about it.
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Xena

Xena Puggle:- Curtain Slayer!
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 1:38pm PST 
I agree with crating him while you are gone. He probably gets bored while you are gone, so he chews. Xena is only allowed free reign of the house if we are gone for two hours or less. Any longer than that, and she will chew up anything she can find.
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Nallah

*Retrieva Diva!*
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 1:44pm PST 
Put your pup in a room where they can't wreck anything while you're gone or else in a crate. We learned our lesson with leaving Nallah out while we were gone, she ruined too much of our stuff. We thought we could trust her to be out while we were gone but its just a better idea to put them where they can't ruin anything or get into anything dangerous to them. Nallah once got into a bottle of ibuprofen and spent 3 days in the emergency vet. It was our fault though for leaving her out. Best of Luck!
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RIP Brute

Got food?
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 2:05pm PST 
I just don't have the heart to lock him up all day while I am at work. The dolphin was sitting atop a tall dresser and we were only gone about an hour and a half to two hours. He doesn't always cower down when we come home either. Only when he chews objects other than his toys. He even has 3 "mammoth" bones to chew on. I do appreciate all the advice. I would rather leave hom outside than crate him.
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Risa- W-FDM/MF RE- RL1 CA CGC

Awesome Dog
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 2:28pm PST 
A crate is not punishment. In fact, most dogs LOVE crates. It's like their own little den. Risa will spend time in her crate while I'm home and not because I make her. She just really likes it in there. It's her own personal place.

For your own sanity and your dog's safety, get a crate for him and put him in it while you're gone. I can almost guarantee your lives will be better for it. He won't get into anything dangerous while you're gone and you'll lose less of your personal treasures this way. And you should never strike your dog, no matter what he did. Dogs don't respond to 'spanking' in the same way a human child does. You can discuss why the child was spanked TO the child. You do not have such means of communication with a dog. To them, they see it as an attack. An unprovoked attack. frown

For information on crate training: http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_for_life_program/dog_beha vior_tip_sheets/crate_training.html

Not all dogs can be trusted alone in the house. Some of them grow out of their destructive tendencies but others never do. I don't personally feel leaving a dog outside all day is a wise alternative either. He could become a barking nuisance, someone could steal him from the yard, or there have even been cases of people putting poison (like antifreeze) into backyards to kill the dog. Not something I'd want to risk.

Edited by author Mon Sep 10, '07 2:30pm PST

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Risa- W-FDM/MF RE- RL1 CA CGC

Awesome Dog
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 2:31pm PST 
I meant to make that link clickable, sorry: Crate Training
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Lily

Adopt an Adult- Dog! Save a- life!
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 2:36pm PST 
I understand your trepidation about crates. But I encourage you to do some research on them from dog behavior specialists. They aren't cruel to dogs as they seem to us. To us, a small confined space would make us claustraphobic, but dogs love being safe in a den, which is what their crate becomes. I have known many dogs, including Lily, who will voluntarily go to lay down in their crate with the door open for a nap. Now that I don't have the crate up any more, Lily still likes to lay under tables and desks where she feels safe. As long as you get a crate that is appropriately sized for a mastiff, he should be very comfortable. And it is safer for him because he won't be able to chew anything that could be harmful to him, such as electrical cords, fabric items, sharp objects or things that splinter. It is really no more or less cruel than putting a baby in a crib or playpen. At least if you do the research, if you decide not to use a crate you will be making an informed decision.
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Vincent

for Rio - CYSTS BE GONE!!
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '07 2:38pm PST 
I am a fan of crating - but there are other options between that a full reign in the house. You could look into a larger ex pen. Or maybe "puppy proof" a room and close the door or use baby gates.
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