View Full Version : HELP! Someone Please Save my Sanity!

2nd October 2008, 12:50 AM
Alrighty, now that I have your attention, as many might know, I have two beautiful, cuddly boys (Kipling & Albie) but they lately have been taking up a bad habit that is driving me wild. During the day we allow them to roam our spare bathroom which also has their kennel in it. My husband and I alternate weeks to come and let them out during lunch and have a little play time in the backyard. We were so paranoid for the longest time of what trouble they might cause, or lonliness they might feel during the day that we even set up a webcam that we could watch while at work so we could check on our babies (I know a little neurotic, but what can I say I am one of those cavy owners teeheehee). So anyway down to my problem. About a month ago, I came home at the end of the day to find that they had scratched a good portion of the wall down to the sheet rock. I was upset but dealt with it since dogs do create messes here and there. I patched the wall and repainted so it was good as new. They left it alone for about a month until lately and they keep scratching it:(. I am sick of patching and repainting and soon I am afraid they are going to scratch a hole all the way through! I have been tryin to think of why they do this or how to fix it so they wont keep doing it. I would like to fix it in a way that looks nice since guests often use this bathroom and I want it to not be destroyed, but I also need it to be durable if they try to scratch it again. We clip their nails regularly and they are healthy boys, any suggestions on what is causing this, how to stop it, or a good alternative to put on our wall to keep it looking nice?


Cathy Moon
2nd October 2008, 12:53 AM
How big is the bathroom? How much space do they have to move around?

2nd October 2008, 01:01 AM
Adequate space, its a good size bathroom, but not like a suite. They have ripped a total of maybe 2 feet long 1 feet tall

2nd October 2008, 01:27 AM
Wow, I can understand how frustrating that must be. My dogs have both chewed all four corners off my coffee table, but I've never had actual damage done to my house! :eek:

Do you actually close the door or do you keep a baby gate at the door opening so they can see out?

My advice? Put them in an x-pen. Once they start something like that, it's bound to become a habit if they are allowed to keep doing it.

2nd October 2008, 01:40 AM
I'd recommend confining them to an x pen, or put xpen panels across the wall that they are scratching kind of like a barrier so they can't scratch it.

Mom of Jato
2nd October 2008, 03:36 AM
I would have to agree that the best solution is to remove them from the bathroom. Once they start a naughty habit like that, it's gonna be tough to get them to stop. Do you have crates for them? Or even one large crate big enough for the two of them if they like sleeping together. Good luck, and I hope you figure out something soon that works for you. Keep us posted.

Cathy Moon
2nd October 2008, 04:44 AM
Could you set up one or two x-pens in your kitchen? That's what we did when India and Geordie were young. We removed the table and chairs to make an area for them.

I'm thinking your dogs may feel too closed in in a bathroom. The kitchen might feel more open and have a better view for them.

I don't think crating them is a good idea. Crates are okay for sleeping at night, but not for during the day. I feel that dogs need a more stimulating environment than inside a crate. It's nice to have a crate with the door open, so they can nap inside if they want and still come out to play.

2nd October 2008, 08:15 AM
I always put puppies in a pen until they got old enough to not be destructive. I also did this with DJ my rescue baby for a week or two after he came here. I actually attached two pens together spread out so they had loads of room but were confined to one side of my kitchen.

It does sound like they are a little confined in the bathroom. How long do they spend in there before and after you let them out for lunch?

2nd October 2008, 08:41 AM
How about getting a dog walker in or thinking about a few days a week in dog care during the day while you are working so that they can get out for a good run and some serious excercise? it sounds like they might possibly be needing to run off a little energy and frustration?


2nd October 2008, 10:21 AM
In the meantime could you put a clear perspex panel across the 'favourite' part? Its useful to have when cats/dogs scratch at one particular piece of a door,and saves no end of damage. Just a thought.

2nd October 2008, 11:03 AM
I will be blunt. There is only one reason they are doing this: it isn't bad behaviour, it is bored behaviour caused by an inadequate environment.

Chewing isn't 'bad', it is normal for a dog. It is our job to create a pleasant environment that 1) allows them to do this in an acceptable way and 2) doesn't create the boredom and anxiety that stimulates unwanted chewing. Right now they are bored to the point of looking for something to do during the many hours they are alone in an unstimulating environment of a tiled bathroom, and have a degree of separation anxiety which can come from simply being bored, or being bored added to finding being in a bathroom all day too depressing or worrying.

They need a more stimulating environment -- which means maybe getting someone in during the day for a walk, definitely some attractive chew toys like many stuffed Kongs replenished at lunch (which may require dividing the dogs, as these sometimes can cause fights as it is a resource to compete for), maybe a radio left on, and really most importantly some other room than a bathroom which is a pretty stark and dull environment (I'd consider that the last resort emergency place to keep foster dogs that would otherwise be put down -- I've had to keep emergency foster cats and dogs in bathrooms before and it is definitely an environment that depresses most animals, probably because they tend to be stark, cold, echo-y, and uncomfortable). Repairing the wall only fixes your cosmetic problem -- it doesn't fix the dog's problem and the behaviour will simply move to something else.

They really cannot spend most of their waking lives inside a bathroom -- they need some other solution.


Some of this involves training puppies (ie the crating part which isn't relevant for adults) but the need for such toys and how to use them is explained.

2nd October 2008, 11:20 AM
I totally agree that they should be left in a bigger space than a bathroom. I can only imagine the damage that would be done if I were to leave mine in a space like that! They would have easily dug an underground tunnel in one morning alone :D

I dont think they are purposely behaving in a bad way, but chewing your walls is the only way that they have of really stimulating themselves during the day.

I leave mine free in our kitchen/extension each day. They have a radio on, lots of toys and the blinds are pulled halfway up so that they have a view of whats happening in the garden. I go home for an hour every day and will try to squeeze in a quick walk around the estate at this time to use up some of their energy until we get to bring them for their proper walk in the evening. I am also considering a dog walker and get family to pop in when they can during the week.

I really dont think your pups are being naughty - they just need a little more stimulation to keep them deviated from ripping your walls apart.

Good luck and hope you find a solution soon..

2nd October 2008, 11:25 AM
Just to add to my previous post about when they wre puppies. Now that my three are older they have the kitchen,hall and stairs and landing but They mostly stay in the kitchen..sometimes although their beds are in the kitchen if one wants some space he may go to the top of the stairs and lie down but very rarely.

All my bedroom doors are locked as is the livingroom and they are never alone more than 4-5 hours with somone popping in for 30 mins during that time.

2nd October 2008, 04:08 PM
I like the pen in the kitchen idea. I have Hali in a "baby play yard" with adequate space to play, sleep, look outside etc... in my kitchen. On days when I might be gone I always give a Kong (and other special toys) to keep her stimulated.

2nd October 2008, 09:12 PM
Simple answer....walk your dogs before you leave them. At least half an hour. They also need a good walk in the evening after being left and if they get these two good periods of exercise I am sure you will see an improvement. Dogs sleep a lot and all you need to do is make sure that they are tired at the times you need them to be. I don't think any dog should be left without a decent walk - it's the commitment we make to them when we have them and know we aren't able to be there all the time.

It won't matter what size room you leave them in after a walk, my two are much happier in a smaller space than fretting about what to do in a large room

3rd October 2008, 12:31 AM
Wow what a lot of information, some helpful and some somewhat critical. My dogs do get walked in the morning before we leave for 1/2 hour. They get played with and run around our backyard for 20 - 40 minutes during our lunch. They get walked again when we get home from work another 1/2 to 45 minutes. The bathroom they stay in is filled with toys, blankets, pillows, water and their kongs with goodies and is slightly smaller then a normal xpen. Their kennel blocks the doorway so they have extra room in the bathroom but can go in and out of their kennel if they want to nap. It also allows them a view out our large window. So far most have given very supportive answers in hopes that a change in environment might help and I appreciate all the positive input, but I feel that sometimes people here give somewhat condoning "advice". Sure I know that everyone on here wants to make sure that everyone has the correct information for loving and taking care of their cavaliers, but some are quick to judge that one must be doing everything wrong instead of getting more information not posted in the orginal question. Don't get me wrong I post to learn and I post to be a better cavy owner, but how will others feel when they come for help and leave feeling worse. Maybe this is just my observation and I am misreading the posts through the board, but I seem to find this often. It could be too that the internet has left communication without emotion and things can be taken a multitude of ways, I know there are many helpful, caring people who post here, and I do not want to offend. I guess I leave with the statement that I think that most people who post here with questions are looking for help and not to be scolded.

3rd October 2008, 09:57 PM
Hi Carrie, I didn't mean to sound judgemental - I'm sorry if it sounded that way. You obviously do all you can for your dogs.

I have always had success with Canan anti-chew spray, maybe you can spray it on the wall?

3rd October 2008, 11:24 PM
my nemo stays in the xpan in living room during the day.
I have a feeling that dogs like to stay in a room where is open and bright.
i am so sorry about your walls!!!

3rd October 2008, 11:53 PM
I haven't read all of the replies but I think an ex-pen would be good. Nothing to scratch at and they can have the feeling of space in a larger room. It could be just a game, another thing to chew other than toys. My Dylan isn't into chewing, only his rawhide and I'd never leave him with that alone. Actually I'm pretty much always paranoid he'll choke on something. He has a box of toys but never gets any out unless I'm there. I leave the TV on sometimes, if I think he's not tired and might get bored:rolleyes:

Hopefully they will grow out of it, how old are they? I don't even crate Dylan now, unless he asks to go in there at night. He has the whole lounge when I go out.

4th October 2008, 12:16 AM
They are 8 and 10 months old, I have a feeling that it might be a game. Plus today I found out that the previous owners of the home had a dog also who they put in the bathroom occasionally and they think he might have marked some of the walls (eww I know) I called a friend who is a contractor to test the walls for dampness and mold and any other types of contamination. I think my game plan now is to disinfect the walls, repatch and repaint, and then move them to the kitchen which I can gate off. Its larger and has some more room for them to move around. I have noticed that many people said they left a radio on while they were gone so I might try this too to see if they like the extra background music.

4th October 2008, 12:27 AM
I too leave a radio on for mine but in case of 'fights'leave no food or toys just water!

I think it is a good idea of yours to move them to the kitchen at least your bathroom walls will be safe.

It's hard when we run into problems with our doggies(I've had a few from time to time)no matter how small the problem is.

Just meant to try and advise earlier on...hope I didn't seem to be telling you off.

Have fun with your babies.