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Trouble times two or trouble halved?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Amanda.Aitken, Jul 2, 2010.


  1. Amanda.Aitken

    Amanda.Aitken PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, we have recently adopted a Border Collie cross who is about 8 months old. As we are a working household, while it is not ideal, she is left alone in the house and yard for about 8 hours a day a couple of days a week.
    While she is given plenty of exercise in the mornings and nights and also different toys to play with during the day, she still chews the furniture.

    We are thinking about fostering other dogs in need of adoption and I am not sure if this would help provide a distraction and some more stimulation throughout the day or if this would increase the destruction two fold!

    Any ideas or suggestions would be most welcome.
     
  2. Huh,:) Border collies need stimulation and not my area I am afraid, she is chewing because she is bored! once a BC learns something, whether it be a good or bad trait they are hard to break. Someone like Hutch could maybe give some pointers!

    But from my experience with my breed it would depend on how well trained the dog being brought into the household is. Bringing another a badly trained dog into a household would certainly be asking for trouble with my breed, as they tend to pick up the bad habits off each other. And it is very difficult to train two dogs together, both dogs need a good amount of one th one training.
     
  3. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I wouldn't advise getting another dog as you may find that you have 2 chewers!
    It does sound as if she is bored during the periods she is on her own. why not get a dog walker in for the days that she is left? It would help break up her day & give her some exercise which would tire her out a bit more
     
  4. Dans Mum

    Dans Mum PetForums Junior

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    Hi

    I have a BC too and although he doesn't chew madly when left alone we kinda expected him to...so we prepared in advance.

    Dan doesn't have the BC obsession with toys but does have a bit of an obsession with food :)

    So he has a range of Kongs which we fill with pate, cream cheese, peanut butter, blended dog food, banana...he also has a number of 'boredom buster' kibble dispenser puzzle toys etc which keeps him amused during the day.

    But if our circumstances change and he is left frequently all day we will hire a dog walker for him.
     
  5. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

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    I heard my name mentioned! :D:D

    Leave any dog on its own with toys and it will get bored after 5mins and start to fidn ways of occupying the sparetime it has. A toy is only fun for a dog when there is something it it for them either a playmate or food. A tug toy on your own isn't much fun at all if you only have one mouth, holding a ball in your mouth has a very limited entertainment value and everything else in your house is then experimented with by the dog mainly using its mouth.

    Dogs chew, a fact of nature. Why? Becasue it feels good. Chewing to a dog releases the lovley endorphine type hormones we get when we get that feel good thing after running or doing something we absolutely love. This means if a dog gets bored it will chew to feel good, if a dog gets stressed it will chew to feel good, if a dog gets anxious it will chew to feel good and so on and so on.

    Is your dog chewing things it shouldn't only when you are not there?

    Have you laid down a clear policy on what the dog IS allowed to chew by using chew toys, rawhide things etc?

    Crate training is a good way to prevent destructive chewing but as the dog is left for 8hrs or more then this isn't an option so an alternative approach is going to have to used.

    I have two collies and my rescue ate my diningroom table and chairs almost but that only lasted for about 2-3 weeks. My new rescue dog (mutt) chewed things for 5-6weeks but she is getting a lot better and has only chewed the tv remote in the last few weeks but that was my fault.

    My first piece of advice is to go around and have a really good rearrangement of things to ensure that nothing, nothing, is available for the dog to chew. If it isn't nailed down then move it out of the way. Otherwise it is fair game serves as a self rewarding activity toy for the dog so it doesn't learn.

    What things is the dog chewing?

    When you leave the dog now, leave a couple of toys down etc but invest in some chew type things and leave those down as once the dog wants something to chew they are going to go for them and everyone is a winner but you have to lay it down nice and clear that what you leave the dog to chew is there's to chew and they are being good for chewing it.

    Hold a raw hide chew in your hand (the big bone shaped things are good) and just let the dog come and investigate it with it's nose - "Good dog!". Let it gently mouth it - "Good dog!". Then let it get stuck into it and wallow in chewtastic glory "Awwww! Who's a good dog!".

    Any time the dog starts to chew anythign you don't want it to, say "No!", immediately give the dog a chew toy and as soon as it starts to show interest- "Good dog!"

    You say your dog has access to a yard, what I would say is go to your local garden centre and by a few 6-9inch diameter plastic plant pots. They cost about 20p each but they are the best toys my dogs have :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: I found this out by accident. The plant pots roll funny in circles when pushed by noses, they can be picked up and tossed about, they bounce and make noises, they can be used to hide things under and they can of course be chewed. They may only keep a dog entertained for an hour or so as there is more to them than your average toy but that is an hour less of chewing something you like.

    The key to it all though is a routine. Get into a routine with your dog so it knows when it will be walked, fed, watered and entertained and your dog will become a lot more content and will settle knowing that you will be coming back and it can rest easily knowing there will be walks, food and play coming its way later so it can close it's eyes and think about what it has learned in training or just snooze. It is this I believe that has stopped my two rescues from chewing as nothing has changed but the length of time they have been with me, learning my routine. Don't forget that this is all new to your dog and despite the previous circumstances it is in a good, loving and exciting new home.
     
    BigBearsRule likes this.
  6. Amanda.Aitken

    Amanda.Aitken PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks so much for your responses, it has given me a lot more ideas.
    She has a couple of Kong toys and I will probably invest in a few more. Some of the stuff that was chewed we kind of expected, cords, shoes etc, however the wall was a suprise!!
    She only does this when left alone so boredom is definitely the major factor in the scenario. I read that it doesn't work to chastise a dog after they have done something bad that you need to get to it immediately. When I get home from work she displays the mannerisms like she knows she had done something wrong, can I still point out whatever she has done at that time?

    I am sure with time and effort she will grow out of it and we love her to bits so we're going to do the work! Thanks again!!
     
  7. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

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    Can you section off an area away from walls etc so she can only have access to what she is allowed to chew?

    You can point at a chewed wall and talk about no chewing it as it takes ages to repair, doesn;t do her teeth any good, will leave her with a bad stomach and won't do your relastionship any favours all your want but all your dog will get from that is to look at the and of your finger and listen to the tone of your voice as your mouth goes "Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah......." for ten minutes.

    Better to walk in, clear up whatever has been damaged without acknowledging the dog, take a deep breath and when you are ready then call the dog to you for interaction. That way you ahve cleared all the mess and are greetign the dog on your terms whilst letting go of the frustration and annoyance.

    If you go down the Kong route of things, I think you should, then put the Kongs int he freezer over night. That way they last longer, feel better ont he dog's gums etc and also help the dog cool down a bit.

    Restriction is the best option but as you leave the dog for 8hrs you can't crate the dog during the day so you may have to think about fencing areas off with things.
     
  8. Colette

    Colette PetForums VIP

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    Just to clarify Hutch's response - NO you can NOT punish her in any way unless you literally catch her in the act.

    Looking "guilty" is nothing of the sort. Those behaviours you are seeing are most likely appeasement / calming signals - either because she can tell you are angry, or because she now expects you to be angry when you come home. Nothing to do with her earlier behaviour. She chewed because it felt good to chew, and probably because she was bored, and very possibly because she was distressed. It was not "wrong" in her eyes.

    Dogs learn through association, but because she does not speak English she has no way of knowing that your anger is a consequence of something she did earlier - whether that is 10 seconds or 10 hours ago.

    On the other hand, she may well associate your return (and thus by extension your absence) with punishment, which will make her more anxious and distressed and probably make the situation worse.

    PS: Please realise that "punishment" is anything unpleasent, inc a cross look or verbal telling off. All of this is pointless and unfair after the fact.
     
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