HELP! I have a chewer!

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Dexter88
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HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by Dexter88 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:15 pm

I have a 1 year old 10 ld mini dachshund who has literally destroyed everything in our home. He favors the furniture and shoes but also likes wires, phone chargers and all my bras and makeup. I don't know what to do anymore. I have tried disciplining him, bitter apple spray, hot sauce, vinegar, spay bottles, a muzzle- nothing seems to work! He chewed holes in both ends of the couch and thinks its his "doghouse". It is to the point where I am embarrassed to have people come over- it really is me or the dog! Any advice would be much appreciated:)
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ScarletSci
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by ScarletSci » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:38 pm

Oh dear!

I feel your pain, my pup chewed the sofa and an armchair - there's almost always some damage when you get a pup!

We're gonna need a bit more info in order to give more advice. Have you had your dog since he was a pup? What's a typical day like for him in terms of exercise, training, time spent with you vs alone? Does he chew things in front of you? If so, how do you react?

Firstly, move things like chargers and make up far out of his reach. With a little dog, this is easily done! Chewing cables is a worry, could easily kill him, so get cable protectors on all electric cables, and use phone chargers at higher up ports where he can't reach them.

I notice in your post that you don't mention him having things that he CAN chew. Does he have toys and things like stag bars? Dogs do need to chew. If you don't redirect this urge onto suitable materials, the furniture is bound to suffer!

Take heart. Even the most destructive of dogs usually grow out of it with some effort made to redirect. Even if the chewing is a result of anxiety or separation anxiety, there are things you can do, and plenty of people here who can help.

He's a gorgeous dog!

Dexter88
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by Dexter88 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:20 pm

Hi! Sorry for not going into more detail, it's my first time posting on here!

Yes, we have had him since he was 10 weeks old, he was a rescue. He was very timid the first few weeks and then just busted out of his shell and has been a little monster (albeit an adorable monster) ever since! Both my boyfriend & I work full time, so he IS in his crate for about 9 hours a day, but we have a yard which he plays in in the morning and after work every day. We go for walks and take him to the dog park. He also runs laps around the house if he gets bored. I took him to petsmart and their dog trainer told me he needs 3 hours of outdoor exercise per day- I just don't see how that's possible for anyone to fit into their schedule!

I do try to keep things out of his reach, but he is like a cat! He will jump on the coffee table, the kitchen chairs, he can even clear the baby gates we have up, or scale over them- to the point where I am stacking one gate on top of the other to make a 3 foot wall.

He typically only plays with bones, anything else he would rip apart. The stuffed toys, anything squeaky, even kongs just got torn to shreds. But he does ALWAYS have a bone available to chew on.

I was hoping it was just a "puppy phase" but he has only gotten worse in the last few months. He will chew any and everything in front of me, but if my boyfriend is home he is on his best behavior and just play with his bone and keep to himself. I really don't know what else to do!

ScarletSci
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by ScarletSci » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:07 pm

Personally I wouldn't be happy to crate a dog for that long, nine hours is an exceptionally long time. I wonder whether that might have something to do with it? Think of the energy he's holding in for all that time, then when he finally gets out, he goes a bit mad?

Is there a chance either you or your boyfriend can pop back to let him out for a while on a lunch break? Or that you could hire a dog walker? I'm not even sure how he's managing to hold his bladder for that long! I know I couldn't! :lol:

Three hours might be a bit much for a small dog, but two is easily do-able. Three is pretty easy too, my dog goes out for an hour three times a day, but then she's a Springer. Being a Springer, I also had trouble moving everything out of her reach, but it's possible. You've already managed the double baby gate. You have to be tidy when you have a puppy, if something is within his reach, he isn't to know what's okay and what isn't. Lots of the items you listed could do him a lot of damage, and need expensive surgery if you're lucky enough to get him to the vets in time to save him from a bowel obstruction.

I'd recommend checking out the "exercise the mind" thread. You can make toys for him that he's allowed to destroy, and will keep his busy little brain occupied. Many people think a little cutie like a dachshund will be a little lapdog and not much trouble - but you have to remember they were bred to work. They're smart little dogs and need mental stimulation. Forget his size for a minute and remember that you have a hound (debated, some say more terrier, but either way, both groups need more mental stimulation than your average lapdog). He was bred to scent, chase and flush. Those drives will still be there, so I'd be looking for fun games you can do with him that will work those drives.

Nine hours a day in a crate is a hella long time for him, you're going to have to work hard to make the rest of his time more rewarding.

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Sabrina
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by Sabrina » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:15 pm

Hi there. Your little dachshund sure is a cutie!

(saw that ScarletSci posted much of what I said! Here's mine anyway!)

9hrs is a very long time to be crated. Is it possible for either you or your boyfriend to come home at lunch time and let him out for a bit? Or are there family members/friends who are available and trustworthy to let him out for a bit sometime during the day?

Do you do clicker training? My dachshund thrives on it and it's great mental exercise for him. Here's an article about how to get started: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=513 . Also, kikopup's youtube channel has tons of fantastic clicker training videos.

Speaking of mental exercise, here's a great thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1135 One of my dog's favorite games is basically free: I take junk mail paper and tear it into pieces, then use each piece to wrap up a tiny treat (my dog happens to love tiny bits of green bell pepper). Then I shove all the "balls" into an empty cardboard tube or kleenex box (with plasic piece removed) and my dog loves tearing everything apart to find the treats. (If your dog actually eats the paper/cardboard, this isn't the best mental game for him).

Do you feed kibble? If you can toss bits of his kibble at a time on the lawn and let him sniff to find all the pieces (be sure to pick a quiet time/spot and work in small "batches" so that he doesn't feel like his food could be "stolen" before he finds it all!) that will help him use that keen dachshund brain/nose combo!

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Sabrina
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by Sabrina » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:30 pm

Also, what exactly is he fed? Grains may contribute to hyperactivity in some cases.

(I started feeding raw last year, and my dog loves chewing his raw meaty bones - there's a big thread over in the Health Diet Exercise subforum on raw feeding if you're interested. It's not as hard as it might sound at first!)

gwd
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by gwd » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:00 pm

there is NO way that cute little face wrought that kind of damage! look at that little sweetheart! he must be innocent. he was FRAMED i tells ya! :lol:

not that it addresses your question but i'm just curious as to how a 10 week old puppy ended up in rescue? that's about the time I send my puppies home to their new families. he couldn't have been in the other home for more than 3 weeks or so, right?
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emmabeth
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by emmabeth » Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:20 pm

Ok, the reason all the stuff you have tried has not worked is because your dog NEEDS to chew.

You cannot get rid of a behaviour that NEEDS to happen, by punishment. You can sometimes suppress it, but it will pop back up somewhere else, but you won't fix it.

The reason your boy needs to chew is because he has a hugely active brain and body, and unless you guys don't actually sleep, he spends around 7 or 8 hours of that time being expected to sleep because its nighttime, and 9 hours of that time locked in a crate. That gives him only 7 or 8 hours to cram in a whole days worth of energy, needs, desires etc and I'll bet in THAT time, he still doesn't have your attention because you have to cook, do chores, go to the store, go out for meals, visit friends, take a shower, do your laundry..... It isn't enough!

Some of the others have touched on this but I will say this very very clearly. Nine hours in a crate without a break is not just 'a bit of a long time', it is unacceptable. That is hard to hear, I know, but that IS the truth and there really is no way of changing that fact.

So - either someone comes home at lunchtime, or you employ a dog sitter/walker to come and let him out and take him for a short walk or play some games with him, to break up his day. If you are both working full time, you can afford this.

Next thing - exercise. 3 hours a day probably is an over exaggeration for your dog, though many people DO manage this for their dogs AND work. An hour and a half a day, plus some mental exercise as well, plus some games outside or in the house, would be nearer the mark for your dog.

So - up in the morning, out for 45 minutes walk, he can chill out whilst you take a shower and change for work, then give him his breakfast in a Kong toy (or two or three, however many it takes to fit all his breakfast in) and give him that in his crate as you leave. So he now has had some exercise AND he has a kong or two to be getting on with, which will not only provide his food but also provide him an outlet for chewing which he clearly enjoys doing.

Have a dog walker come in at lunchtime, take him out to potty, take him for a short walk and back in his crate with another kong, you can leave them one pre-stuffed and frozen once he gets good at them, so they take him a little longer to do.

Then you come home from work, take him out to potty, get changed, take him for another 45 minute walk then he can chill out whilst you cook or do some chores and eat. Then you can do a five minute clicker session or a puzzle toy session or kick a ball around outside and he can have his dinner out of some more kongs whilst you all settle in front of the tv for an hour or half an hour before bedtime.


See how that routine goes for a couple of weeks, and note down any changes in his behaviour. You may need to provide him with more chewy toys, you may need to increase the physical exercise or the mental exercise, or put a logner walk in the morning and a shorter one in the evening, but try the suggested routine for a good two weeks first before altering it if at all possible.

You should see a decrease in the chewing, you should also see a decrease in the 'doing laps about the house' because this behaviour IS down to his lack of exercise, it isn't normal adult dog behaviour to suddenly take off running round the house for no reason!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

victorianpaws
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by victorianpaws » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:21 pm

I tell yah, puppies put wood chippers in serious threat!

Chewing is often a sign of pent up energy and stress. Nine hours a day in a create is about at least 5 too many in a row! As a fellow small dog owner myself (havanese/shitzu/poodle/something fuzzy), I know that they may look small but they have a lot of energy almost all the time. It's important your walking her at least an hour total each day. Crazy? I know! But actually pretty easily accomplished.

Twenty minute walk before you go to work, twenty minute walk to get out of the crate during the day, and twenty minute walk a night. Or maybe a thirty and thirty. Or forty five and fifteen. Or a bunch of ten minute walks. You get the idea, but your dog deeply needs that not only to relieve physical energy but to nourish their minds. Think of a dogs mind like a toddler. They are always learning, thinking, processing and craving more and more! They have to be challenged, established boundaries and expectations! It sounds like your dog is incredibly stressed and bored. What's her job? Does she have a job? Does she know she has a job? Do you give her a job? Is she responsible for carrying the water on walks in her doggy back pack? Or is she encouraged to retrieve toys, balls, or items you want her to? She has to be given opportunities outside of chewing to thrive.

Dogs need to chew, it's a natural instinct that can't be repressed with any ease. But it can be widdled down to only necessary chewing by giving her some sort of purpose to her time. Create food puzzles for her, there a tons of DUI ones on here. My favorite is to punch holes in a water bottle and fill it with part of her daily food intake. The have to figure out how to move it around to get to their breakfast! This is mentally taxing for them, and you can work up to harder puzzles when she begins to figure it out a little too quickly. Also, one of my favorite jobs I've ever run across for a dog was scent searching in the home. Purchasing a little of heavily scented herb, and training you "search and find" is something you can do within a home with ease. A few weeks of training and you'd be good to go.

Also try redirecting her behavior whenever you do catch her chewing something. Remove it with a firm no or direct her attention away from it, and provide her with an acceptable chew toy or bone. I found it best to always give my dog her bone in her crate, and encourage her to leave it in there when she came out. Whenever I found it outside of the crate, I'd toss it back in and with in a week or two of owning her she would be spotted, when bored, going to her crate to find a bone to chew instead of something she shouldn't have.

I wish you the best of luck!

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Nettle
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by Nettle » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:54 am

Excellent advice except for one thing - no doggy back pack - they are really bad for dogs' backs (not many people are aware of this) and dachshunds already have weak backs. Otherwise, if you enhance your dog's life with these extra suggestions, you will have a happy and fulfilled dog. :)
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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victorianpaws
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by victorianpaws » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:44 am

I was not aware of this nettle! Thank you so much, it's noted and that backpack is going in it's drawer for good right now!

DianeLDL
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by DianeLDL » Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:30 pm

Nettle wrote:Excellent advice except for one thing - no doggy back pack - they are really bad for dogs' backs (not many people are aware of this) and dachshunds already have weak backs. Otherwise, if you enhance your dog's life with these extra suggestions, you will have a happy and fulfilled dog. :)
Nettle,

We knew we had a bad trainer when he not only wanted us to do that horrible submissive roll but when he told us that our Sandy, a chihuahua, needed a job and told us to buy a back pack and fill it with rocks. :evil:

We fired him immediately. :mrgreen:

Thanks for reaffirming our intuition. :D
Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

emmabeth
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by emmabeth » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:24 pm

Physical exercise is important but beyond a certain point, you are just creating a fitter and fitter dog who then needs more exercise before he feels satisfied.

Carrying stuff around, even if it were suitable for their backs*, is just more physical exercise. It is mental exercise that is most often lacking and that is achieved by training, games, changes of scenery so walking different routes, or walking a familiar route in a different direction, chucking in changes of pace, throwing in training and games whilst on a walk, feeding from food dispensing toys, feeding whole raw foods (whole rabbits for example), large raw meaty bones - these things challenge the brain as well as the body and result in a dog who is physically and mentally satisfied.

*it isn't, the way dogs move and their conformation means their backs are really NOT suited to carrying weight.

People make the mistake of thinking that because a dog is a quadruped like a horse, we can load them up like we would a horse - but horses (and oxen and donkeys) have a very VERY rigid spine when they are moving, so you can load them up, as long as you keep the actual spine clear and you don't interfere with the action of the shoulders or quarters or neck, you won't go far wrong.

Dogs and cats have really REALLY flexible spines during movement - the most extreme examples being our sighthounds, where the flexion of their spines allows for the double suspension gallop. For all dogs however, this means that no matter where you were to place weight, using a backpack, you WILL be impeding movement. Also, unlike gear designed for horses which will be padded to create a clear channel where any straps cross the spine, dog gear is NOT made that way - you only have to run your hand down your dogs back to feel how close to the surface the spinal processes are and then imagine straps carrying weight crossing that (even very broad ones!). Not comfy!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

Dexter88
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by Dexter88 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:03 pm

Thanks to everyone for their feedback- I am definitely going to hire a dog walker to get him some exercise during the day and incorporate some "brain games" into his daily routine!

For those of you asking- I feed him Beneful (by Purina) and we got him from a rescue organization called Adopt a Lab based in Indiana -which apparently is no longer running, we got an email about 2 weeks after we got Dexter that they were closing up.

gwd
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Re: HELP! I have a chewer!

Post by gwd » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:41 pm

Dexter88 wrote: we got him from a rescue organization called Adopt a Lab based in Indiana -which apparently is no longer running, we got an email about 2 weeks after we got Dexter that they were closing up.
oh, well then, that explains the age of 10 weeks. ..........adopt a lab was actually an online pet store and not really a rescue organization.

http://www.examiner.com/article/is-adop ... -pet-store

which highlights a growing problem here in the united states. the changes in legislation have made a lot of places get more 'creative'. retail puppy sales and commercial breeding facilities are regulated and inspected..........but rescue facilities are exempt from any of the regulations and not subjected to any inspections so many places such as this organization call themselves rescues so that they can skirt the requirements. .........

i'm not saying this to make you feel bad at all. you love your puppy and it doesn't matter how you got him but I think it does serve to make people aware that this is going on. if a rescue organization buys puppies from a puppy mill and then 'adopts' them out, it makes the new owners feel better about things because they think they adopted......when in truth, it was still a puppy that came from a commercial breeder but didn't carry the stigma of being something you 'bought'.

I'm glad you're looking at a dog walker to break up his day and looking at some mental activities for him.. ...........I think you'll see much less destructive behavior when he's being mentally challenged. good for you!
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