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Dog's sudden chewing habit...any tips?


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  • 1 Post By bazil323
  • 1 Post By Dhartanya
  • 1 Post By MamaSkunk

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  #1  
November 28th, 2012, 01:41 PM
Pinkapple's Avatar Veteran
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Location: Atlanta, Ga
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We have a 5 year old Pitbull/Dalmation mix named Cheavie. She was DH's dog before I came into the picture, and has been VERY significantly trained. In fact, I was never a fan of dogs until I saw just how obedient and loving she was.

I'm now pregnant, with our first child. It seems a little silly to think of it this way, but I almost believe she can somehow sense that and is becoming jealous. When DH and I first got together, she was very jealous of me. However, she never acted out.

In the past couple of months, if we leave her alone for any period of time she will get into our cabinets/pantry and tear whatever she can to shreds. First it was peanut butter jars...all 4 of them in our pantry, and also a jar of nutella. Assuming we just had them too low, we moved them to a higher spot. Then, it was two of the large sized instant oatmeal cylinders, that were on a much higher shelf. This obviously made a HUGE mess...

A couple of night ago we left her at home for about a half hour, and she got into my purse and chewed up every bit of my chapstick/lipstick/gloss. Today, I was outside for a mere 3 minutes checking out our Christmas lights, and when I come back inside, she's gotten into a large tub of Hershey's cocoa, and spilled it all over the living room.

Not only is this costing us a huge amount in groceries, but it's also quite frustrating to have to clean/sweep/mop the entire area almost every day. We have a kennel that we've been putting her in when we leave for more than an hour, and she does well obviously. Or sometimes we will leave her in the office, where she always does well. Obviously I know keeping her away from the food will help, but I'm just wondering if anybody has any theories on what might cause this sudden behavior? Like I said, she's never had a chewing problem until the past couple of months. It's never towards me, either, only when DH leaves. Any help would be much appreciated!
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  #2  
November 29th, 2012, 01:47 PM
bazil323's Avatar Regular
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Location: Northern Wisconsin
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This may not apply, but my dog, who is normally very well behaved and never chews or gets into the garbage, will take meat wrappers from the garbage if it's pretty much full and they are sitting on top or takes socks/underwear/gloves/hats from the clean laundry and sometimes chew them and sometimes just lay on them. We've noticed that he really only does this when we leave him in the house while we are gone 2 days in a row (by that I mean we leave for work with him in the house, come home for the night, and leave for work again next day--not that he's in the house alone 48 hours straight). He will almost never do the above bad behaviors if he's only been left in the house for a couple hours or 1 day of work. It's like he gets antsy and bored if he is not on his outdoor run during the day.

Your dog may be picking up on the increased attention DH is giving her and perhaps decreased attention to her. Maybe he could spend a little extra time with her every day may help her stay out of the food, maybe a good game of fetch or an extra run around the block?

The bad news is that often when a dog starts with bad behavior and you don't correct the reason for it, the dog will often repeat the bad behavior because they know they can get away with it. For example, our dog is usually very well behaved, but if he is outside by himself and not on his run, he will wander away, sometimes even overnight. He had figured out that we let him out and then go make coffee in the morning while he does his business, and he would run outside and then watch for us to go past the window when we go to the kitchen and then take off. He's from working and herding dogs, which are usually smarter than companion dogs because they have to learn quickly and remember tasks, so once he learned that if we weren't watching, he could go exploring, he's continued to do it to this day. There's no point punishing him when he comes back because he will just make the association of coming home equaling punishment rather than the punishment being from his original running off.
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  #3  
November 29th, 2012, 02:00 PM
Dhartanya's Avatar Paleo Mommy-to-be
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You can look into a Sentry Calming Collar for Dogs at PETCO

Those collars really help.

Has the dog been getting enough physical AND mental excerise lately? Chewing can be a sign that her mental needs *as well as her physcial needs* are not being met.

My suggestion is for you to do some sessions with her, both daily walks and some training sessions. Do you know off the commands? Spend 10 mins a day going though all her commands, even teach her a few new ones.
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  #4  
December 3rd, 2012, 10:58 AM
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Thank you! I'm happy to report that we've spent the recent few days paying more attention to her and taking her out, and we even took her out for a treat to Petsmart. She really enjoyed the time with us and has had no chewing problems as of late, hoping things stay this way!
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  #5  
December 3rd, 2012, 08:02 PM
Dhartanya's Avatar Paleo Mommy-to-be
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Yay! Thats great! Hope it keeps up!
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  #6  
December 4th, 2012, 01:18 AM
MamaSkunk's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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My pitties and every pit I know when they arent getting the same level of attention they need they let ya know!!! Its like they act out specifically saying to you hey dont forget about me!! My daughter loves my pits and they love her. But if she goes somewhere without my male pit he freaks out and will do crazy things things if hes not crated when we go cuz hes so attached to my daughter. They just need extra attention...especially during such a life changing event. Just like youd remind a child they are still loved with a new baby you have to do the same with a dog. And pits are great with kids so once that baby comes dont be surprised if the dog decides she belongs to the baby lol.
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  #7  
December 21st, 2012, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkapple View Post
Thank you! I'm happy to report that we've spent the recent few days paying more attention to her and taking her out, and we even took her out for a treat to Petsmart. She really enjoyed the time with us and has had no chewing problems as of late, hoping things stay this way!
I'm really glad to read this! I've had two pits and their jaws can be devastating to all sorts of things! One was highly neglected before he came to us, and so had simply formed a habit of chewing on everything because he had nothing else to do when they kept him locked away 24/7. My other was prone to separation anxiety and would act out in such ways when we left. It doesn't sound silly at all to me that she is acting out because she feels she isn't receiving enough attention. Some dogs truly will! Of course she could need more stimulation and exercise, as well. Pits are smart dogs and they do need to be kept busy and worn out. Good luck!
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