|Barked: Tue Jan 15, '08 8:00pm PST |
|We have had Dougal since the beginning of October - he was a pound dog. For the first two months he was perfectly behaved, and soon we were able to start leaving him out of his crate when we left the house up to about 5 hours.
A couple of weeks before Christmas he started chewing our stuff when we left him in the house, even for a couple of hours. We were never around to see him do this so we couldn't punish him, and he never would do it when we were home. He then started chewing things when I left the room (but not the house). So, we had to start putting him in his crate again when we left the house (for his safety as much as ours - he chewed some wires once!).
Well, he doesn't *love* his crate but he never had many problems with it when we first got him home (before he experienced freedom and the chewing of our stuff). Whenever I put him in the crate I make sure I've taken him out beforehand, and I put his favourite toys and treats inside to occupy him. He chewed up the blanket we bought him, so I started putting newspaper in, and he chews that. I read you're not supposed to 'encourage' destructive behaviour in the crate, so I stopped putting in the blanket and newspaper (though the crate has a plastic bottom so it's not like he's lying on the bars).
Anyway, the real problems started this week. He has started chewing on the bars of his crate, even if I only leave for 1 hour. It's gotten so bad that he's actually chewing the vertical bars OFF the horizontal ones, so now there are sharp bars sticking out! I'm afraid he's going to poke his eye out on one, or he's going to break his teeth, and I don't know what else I can do. I tried putting vinegar on the bars but it seemed to spur him on. I'm off to buy some tabasco tomorrow to rub on them but I wanted to see if anyone had any suggestions here. He gets plenty of exercise and I spend time training him most days. He's such a good dog apart from this, but it's becoming a real problem now
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