I have a 1 year old Siberian Husky that I absolutely love to death. But, I have school and Nova tends to be put in her crate a lot for her bad chewing habits when nobody is around. I would love for her to be able to have a place to roam around without the destruction. She chews anything and everything she can get her paws on. Do you have any suggestions on how I can solve this problem or break this habit so I can allow her to roam around unattended?
Hello Natalie, It sounds like Nova needs to mature a bit more before I would suggest attempting to leave her out of the crate. It is not unusual for a dog to need to be crated for the first three years of life while you are gone. Most dogs need to be crated for the first two years in general. You can do a couple of things to help her learn though. First, give her supervised free time while you are at home, teach her the "Leave It" command and "Out" command, and practice those commands with household items that she tends to chew. Second, when you crate her, give her large classic Kong toys stuffed with her own dog food. Do this to build her interest in her own toys so that she will learn what to chew and will prefer her own toys more and will be more likely to chew her own toys while free. To make the food stuffed kong more interesting, put some of her dog food into a bowl and cover it with water. Let it sit out until the food turns into mush, usually this takes at least a couple of hours. When it turns into mush, then mix a bit of peanut butter, liver paste, or cheese into it, and loosely stuff the kong with the mush mixture. Freeze the kong and then give it to her in the morning when you put her into the crate and it will thaw overtime, lasting her longer. Avoid the ingredient Xylitol in peanut butter. It is extremely toxic to dogs. You can also make several of these stuffed Kongs at once to save you time throughout the week, then you can simply pull one out of the freezer as needed. When she no longer chews things while you are at home with her, then try giving her freedom outside of the crate. Start with only leaving her alone in the house for five minutes. If she does well with that, then leave for ten minutes the next time, then thirty, and so forth, until she can handle at least three hours without an issue. At which point she is probably ready to try being free for the entire day. If she gets into something, then she is not ready. Crate her for two more months and then try it again. Prevention is very important until she is ready maturity-wise. You have done great by crating her up to this point. That has kept her safe and will increase her chances of being able to be free in the house later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello, our dog Mina chews to get our attention. We keep her in the kitchen when we are out and when we have dinner, she immediately chews on the bottom fabric of the seat of the chair. We attempt to distract, to say no and ask her to stop. However she will only do so if we engage - and we don't want to reward what appears to be attention seeking behavior.
Is it OK to just let her chew and ignore her? Or are we instilling the idea that the chairs and things in the kitchen are 'her's'?
Many thanks for the advice.
Hello Ian, Five months of age is a huge chewing age. Puppies are finishing teething at that age and their jaws are developing. Puppies will chew to relieve the discomfort and keep away boredom. Purchase some bitter apple or bitter melon spray and spray it on the items that she tends to chew often. Also, purchase several hollow, rubber chew-toys. Put Mina's dog kibble into a bowl and cover it with water. Let it sit out until the food absorbs the water and turns into mush. Next, mix a bit of peanut butter, squeeze cheese, or liver paste into the mush. Avoid the ingredient Xylitol though. It is extremely toxic! Loosely stuff the chew-toys with the mixture and smear a bit of the liver, cheese, or peanut butter right on the opening. Freeze the toys and give the toys to her throughout the day in place of part or all of her meals, depending on how much she eats. This should give her something to work on to help with the boredom while also helping to relieve the discomfort of teeth and jaws. Subtract whatever you feed her in the toys from her food amount for the day. That will keep her more interested in the toys and keep her weight in check. Do this until she gets past the heavy chewing phase. For some dogs that happens around nine months of age. For other dogs it can take until they get paste one year. If it takes all of her food to fill the chew toys and she eats all of her meals out of the toys, that is alright. In fact it is a good thing. She does not have to get an actual bowl of food as long as she is getting all of her food in other, entertaining ways. Doing all of these things should make it so that she does not chew your items as often, but you cannot ignore it when she does or it can turn into a lifelong chewing habit, which you do not want. Instead, tell her "Out" and point to where you want her to go, then get between her and the item she is chewing on, and then calmly but very seriously walk toward her to make her back out of the area. Block the area until she stops trying to get around you to go back. Repeat this any time that she tries to go back to the area. Do this calmly and seriously or she will think it is a game. She will probably try to go back to the area right after, keep repeating it until she decides that you mean business and leaves the area. With time she should learn to leave an area when you say "Out" without your body blocking that area. Also, work on teaching her the "Leave It" command, and use that command when she chews on things that she shouldn't or starts toward something that she should leave alone. When she obeys, then give her one of her own interesting toys, like a food stuffed chew-toy, instead. Check out the article below and follow the "Leave It" method to teach her the "Leave It" command. That article mentions using "Leave It" for mouthing you, but you can also use that command for objects. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Casper enjoys chewing up our clothes, toilet paper, boxes and anything else he can get into. I am currently trying to create train him from it and I make sure he has dog toys but he still does it. Qhat else can I do? What am I doing wrong?
Hello Anna, If Casper has been destroying things when unattended out of a crate since he was a puppy, then he has developed a habit of destructive chewing. Destructive chewing is completely normal for a puppy, but when they are left unsupervised and able to do it without being interrupted (most commonly because they are not crated or confined when people leave the home), then it becomes a longer-term habit as an adult also... With that said, if that was the case, then it will take just as long for a good habit to form in place of the destructive chewing habit so you will need to stick with the training for the next year. Many dogs also chew heavily until two-years-old also, and almost all dogs chew to some degree for the rest of their lives (the goal is just to train them WHAT to chew). First, keep up the crate training. You are going great to start that now. Any time that you cannot supervise Casper, he needs to be crated with chew toys. This is a vital step. Second, when he is not in a crate, then he needs to be supervised. You can tether him to yourself with a six-to eight-foot leash to make sure that he does not wander off. You can also teach a "Place" command and screw an eye-hook into the baseboard by his place, then connect a chew-proof leash (like Vir-Chew-Ly) to the baseboard and clip the other end to him. If you work on the place command being a firm command, then you can eventually transition to not using the eye-hook and leash and to just having him be on the place with a chew-toy when you cannot supervise him. Essentially, he needs to be supervised, confined to the crate when you are gone, or clipped into the eye-hook on his "Place" when you are there but cannot supervise him. Also, purchase a deterrent spray like bitter melon or bitter apple spray and spray that on the furniture that he tends to chew the most often (do a spot test first on furniture to chew that it's safe for that piece of furniture). When you are supervising him and he starts to chew something he is not supposed to, tell him "Aha!' firmly but calmly, get between him and the object, and walk toward him until he backs away (only do this if he has no history of aggression issues). When he stops trying to go back to that object, then reward him with one of his own chew toys and praise him when he chews it. Work on teaching him "Leave It" and "Drop It", so that you can better communicate with him when he picks up something that he shouldn't have or tries to go toward something he needs to leave alone. Once he knows those commands, then through supervision you can communicate to him what he should leave alone, and that will help him learn not to chew your objects (and confining him with food-stuffed chew toys will help him learn to chew on the correct things). Check out the article that I have linked below and use the "Leave It" method to teach "Leave It". When he can do Leave It with clothing articles, then transition to practicing the command with objects that he tends to chew around your home. Always reward him with something different than what he is supposed to be leaving alone, like the article mentions...For example, when you practice with treats, use two treats, one that he is supposed to leave alone and a different one that you give him as a reward...you do not want him to even expect to receive what he has been told to leave alone...even with treats. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We can't seem to get Lobo to stop biting us nothing that we read seems to work and my daughter looses her patience with him and yells we get mad I'm afraid it's going to make it worst we don't know what to do. He tears a lot if our clothes and he bites hard it hurts. Please we'd appreciate any advice we love him and would hate to have to get rid of him. Will the word "stop" ever work?
Hello Iliana, Lobo is two months old. ALL puppies that age bite. It is 100% normal and part of having a puppy. It can be frustrating, especially for kids. Puppies are learning about the world around them through their mouths. It is how they naturally play at that age, it's how they learn to control how hard they bite - which makes them safer as adults, and it's how they cope with boredom and anxiety. It takes time to teach a puppy to stop biting and any other puppy will also bite at that age too. Check out the article that I have linked below. Work on teaching the "Leave It" method first. Practice that just like the article mentions, until your puppy can leave your clothes alone while they are moving them. When your puppy can leave clothing alone, then use the "Pressure" method to discipline his disobedience if he does not obey you when you say "Leave It". If he obeys, then reward him with a treat - especially if he doesn't bite at all when he was thinking about biting, when you told him to "Leave It". It's important to teach "Leave It" first because your puppy will not understand what you want him to do instead and why he is being disciplined if you don't show him. Practicing "Leave It" teaches him self-control - something that puppies have to learn through practice. Learning self-control will also help with the biting. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Also, crate train him. When he gets really worked-up, give him a hollow Kong toy - stuffed with dog food and a bit of liver paste or peanut butter (Avoid Xylitol sweetener - It's toxic!) and put him into the crate. Puppies that age sometimes get really wound up because they are tired - sort of like a toddler who has more tantrums when tired. When that happens they typically either need to be mentally stimulated or exercised (because they have not been earlier), or put somewhere calm where they can relax and take a nap (because they are tired). Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Crate Training" method to introduce the crate properly so that he will learn to relax while in there. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside You can also teach him an "Out" command - which means leave the area. You can use this command when he is bothering your daughter. To teach him an "Out" command, first call him over to you, then toss a treat several feet away from yourself while pointing to the area where you are tossing the treat with the finger of your treat tossing hand and saying "Out" at the same time. Repeat this until he will go over to the area where you point when you say "Out" before you have tossed a treat. When he will do that, then whenever you tell him "Out" and he does not go to where you are pointing, walk toward him and herd him out of the area with your body. Your attitude should be calm and patient but very firm and business like when you do this. When you get to where you were pointing to, then stop and wait until he either goes away or stops trying to go back to the area where you were standing before. When he is no longer trying to get past you, then slowly walk backwards to where you were before. If he follows you, then tell him "Out" again and quickly walk toward him until he is back to where he was a moment ago. Repeat this until he will stay several feet away from where you were when you told him "Out" originally. When you are ready for him to come back, then tell him "OK" in an up beat tone of voice. Practice this training until he will consistently leave the area when you tell him "Out". When he will consistently leave, then practice the training with other areas that you would like for him to leave, such as the kitchen when you are preparing food, a person's space when he is being pushy, an area with a plant that he is trying to dig up, or somewhere with something in your home that he should not be bothering. With time and consistency the mouthing should pass. Puppies at eight weeks are teething, then their jaws start to develop so they are mouthy. If you are consistent with training he should out grow the mouthing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Thank you for the respond extremely helpful and appreciated. Is it safe to feed Lobo an pig/cow ear? Do you happen to have a video that demonstrates the "out" process that we can purchase from you, not sure we're doing it right he's somewhat moving away but he's looking for his treat. He is extremely smart he already knows sit, food, outside and treat and some what shake.
Illiana, The cow and pig ears depend mostly on how hard of a chewer he is. Some dogs will carefully chew them and not tear off and swallow big pieces. Other dogs swallow large chunks and that can be dangerous. If you already purchased one, watch him carefully when he has it. If he is destroying it or getting chunks off, take it away...and I don't like to give those to dogs when they are unsupervised, like in a crate...Kong's, cow hoofs, cow sterile white long bones, and deer antlers tend to be more durable...super hard chewers can chip a tooth on the hoofs, long bones or antlers - but that is the rare SUPER hard chewers which you are not likely to have at this age. The criteria for bones and toys (unless you are supervising carefully) is something that cannot be torn apart and ingested and something that will not splinter. For the 'Out' I unfortunately do not have a video yet, but will likely be producing one in the next month at www.lifedogtraining.com - so you can check there later. Few people teach 'Out' but I find it's an extremely helpful command that I would like more people to learn. You can see a similar process of sending a dog away (in this case to a Place opposed to generally leaving the area. This trainer does it using a toy (which you can do) but if your puppy is more interested in treats stick with those and use ones that are large enough for him to see. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JNNNy8iuwEs In your particular situation it sounds like your puppy is starting to understand. Break the training down into smaller steps, giving a treat for moving just a little bit away - when he understands better then you can toss the treat a bit further. Once your puppy is away from you, you can also throw a second treat a little further away - this will get your puppy used to chasing treats to that further spot too. If you are still having issues, I do offer paid Skype training sessions, you could recruit someone to hold the phone up for Skype, let me see you guys practice your 'Out' and I could coach you through it in real time. https://www.lifedogtraining.com/skypephonetraining/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We are tired of him biting us my daughter loses her patience very quickly, he doesn't listen I know he doesn't understand I've read a lot nothing seems to work I'm out of things to try. I tried the " leave it" and the "out", he is too smart he only listens to that when he knows there's a treat in our hands. Is there anything else we can try, I'm afraid he is associating us as bad guys. My daughter yells at him a lot and I'm afraid we're doing wrong for him,instead of good. We didn't crate train him when he was one month so we're also trying to do that he got used to having a big area in the house to run and be free. We're willing to keep trying we can't get him professional training until he has his full set of shots. Please advice us we're desperate. :(
Hello Leticia, First of all what you are experiencing is completely normal at his age. I know it can feel overwhelming, but three months is a major teething period so mouthing is usually really bad then. After he gets past teething you should start to see more impovement. Keep working on the "Out" and "Leave It". I know it feels like he is not making progress but it will take him time and practice to developed impulse control - to be able to stop himself when he gets excited. Right now he is still learning what those commands mean, what people rules are, and how to control his own impulses. Keep up with the crate training and put him in the crate when he needs to call down - puppies need breaks to wind down very frequently. When they get tired, the mouthing can actually get worse - sort of like a tired toddler having tantrums or getting wound up. You can also use an exercise pen and put him in there with toys. When he is free, make sure that he has a chew toy in every room he hangs out in regularly. He needs to chew because of teething so having an alternative will help him. If you can find a puppy class that has an indoor facility where they clean the floor with a cleaner that kills both parvo and distemper, requires puppies to be up to date on their shots (not finished but up to date in the series), and does not allow adult dogs into the gated off cleaned puppy area once the area has been cleaned until puppies are gone, you can significantly minimize any risk of him catching parvo or distemper to be able to start a puppy class now if you wish. I suggest looking into the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's recommendations for safe socialization practices. There are risks but the risks can be minimized (I am not a vet though so check with your vet). https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/081001c.aspx Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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