View Full Version : Help

28th August 2009, 02:15 PM
I could do with a little bit of advice. My cavalier, Benji, is a year and a half and is with us since he was 3 months old. He has always been full of life and energy. The problem is in the last few weeks he has started getting into all kinds of trouble. Destroying things that he never took notice of before. He has load of toys and chew things etc so that's not a problem. Today he has managed to get up on the kitchen table and eat a whole chocolate swiss roll. (he will probably be so sick). Any ideas firstly how to deal with this and secondly why he has suddenly started behaving boldly?
Thanks, Michele

28th August 2009, 02:29 PM
Sorry to hear you are having this problem. He sounds like he is either bored, has too much time unsupervised and you need to modify your home. What I mean by modify you home is put things away and don't leave food out. Not sure I could resist eating a chocolate swiss roll either! He's not being naughty, he's making his own fun ;) I hope he is ok after the chocolate.

28th August 2009, 02:42 PM
Agree with all of the above. How old is he now? Are you giving him at least an hour of walks each day? Have you done a good obedience course with him? (I recommend coming in to Dog Training Ireland in Blanchardstown... :) ). Is he neutered? If not, generally this will really help.

You should also read this as pretty much all of these questions are addressed:


You have three things in other words:

1) a need to manage him so he doesn't have access to places you do not want him to be (eg push in chairs at the table)

2) training and obedience classes (eg how is he supposed to know he isn't supposed to climb on an accessible table and eat a lovely bit of food left right there in front of him? :) )

3) exercise daily that works his body and mind. Most dogs will not sit and play with toys enough to go anywhere near the level of interaction and physical exercise they need

If there was any actual chocolate in the Swiss roll I would call your vet immediately -- chocolate particularly high coca level (eg dark chcoloate) can be lethal to dogs and as cavaliers are small they don;t need to eat much to need emergency treatment. I'd get the box and check ingredients and call your vet immediately for advice. :thmbsup:

28th August 2009, 02:45 PM
Cavaliers are mischievous dogs alright :roll: If they want something bad enough they'l find a way to get it. Does he get walked much? In my experience a tired cavalier is a less troublesome one. Could just be an adolesent phase too.

28th August 2009, 03:54 PM
It didn't dawn on me about the chocolate, so I have just rang my vet and I am waiting for a call back. He seems fine, just keeps licking his lips!! I know that dogs get up to all kinds of trouble especially when it comes to food, I guess what confused me is he has never been like that before. He gets plenty of exercise as well. I was wondering why he would suddenly just start now. Another example a plant, that has been in the same spot since he has lived here, he ripped to pieces last week and destroyed the kitchen and sunroom. To the extent that my husband thought we had been broken into when he walked in! He has been neutered so that's not an issue. I will absolutely "dog proof" his areas but I just want to make sure im not missing anything else. I will also look into training classes. Thanks

28th August 2009, 04:07 PM
Another example a plant, that has been in the same spot since he has lived here, he ripped to pieces last week and destroyed the kitchen and sunroom. To the extent that my husband thought we had been broken into when he walked in!

Is he doing these things when you are out as it must take some time to destroy a kitchen? Maybe you could put him in a crate or exercise pen while you are out or while can't watch him.

Some say licking lips can mean stress so please do call the vet.

28th August 2009, 04:50 PM
I have rang my vet, just waiting on a call back. He is now running around the garden playing with his ball and seems in great form. He is not actually on his own much at all as I am a stay at home mum. The plant episode happened on a week night, I left the house at 7.30 and my husband was back at about 8.15! As I said before he is a great fella and just want to make sure it's not something sinister. Michele

28th August 2009, 05:51 PM
He may have a touch of separation anxiety too. If you used a crate when he was a pup, I would put him in there on the few occasions you're not at home. If he's mainly getting into trouble while you're out- keeping him in his crate with a Kong would be a way he can stay occupied but not destroy the house! :rolleyes:

28th August 2009, 08:40 PM
Lou has periods of time when he is a angel and then all of a sudden he has to sneak away and raid the bathroom garbage can if someone accidentally left that door open. He could be sleeping for hours and then all of a sudden is on top of the coffee table chewing up a book that I left there. We have a tall table and he can't climb on top of it but when at my mom's house he waits when no one is in the room and climbs on top of the table to try and raid the jar of sugar. If he is awake he is looking for trouble. We always have to make sure that no shoes are on the floor or where he can get them, no cardboard boxes, paper or tissue is accessible. He has toys alright but these guys are very mischiveous, don't be decieved by their appearance. My labradore is food oriented and will get into trouble if food is left out on the counter, but he wouldn't dream of doing some of the things Lou does. Part of it is definately me letting him get away with stuff, I'm sure. However the only way I have been able to get around these naughty behaviors is to modify the environment, if Lou doesn't have the opportunity to get into trouble he doesn't but the moment a pair of high heeled shoes is left on the floor the heel will be chewed up.

28th August 2009, 09:58 PM
Sorry, missed that you'd put his age. :) Actually, he's just hitting adulthood and just sounds to me like a dog who is now confident, adept and smart and he's looking for stuff to do and keep his mind busy. All that you describe is classic bored dog finding things to do. Toys really don't do much to help a dog keep entertained (excepting toys that require actual work, like a well-stuffed kong) and he sounds like he's looking for, and needing, more action and brain work to keep him entertained. Some dogs are like this and can be extra challenging -- they make fantastic activity dogs for people who like to do agility; they can be difficult if what you want is a very quiet dog. I have one hyperactive smart boy and he is my favourite in the house but also he takes daily time and work in excess of the others. I do agility with him and take him with me everywhere in the car when running errands. A 5 mile daily walk would hardly dent him. Something like agility wears him out into a coma of exhaustion though because it requires a mix of activity and mental concentration.

So I think I'd be looking at a wide range of things to keep your fellow busy but I'd certainly start with a good obedience class. If he has never done a class, then he has no idea what you expect of him nor does he likely know how to relax when asked, and to have self control. All these things are learned, by dogs just as with kids. :thmbsup: As with kids, only the very occasional personality is controlled and relaxed and laid back by nature.

Also you definitely have a management issue -- most dog difficulties actually are management issues as dogs cannot innately know what they are to do or not do. And when you are not watching them or not at home, they are much better restricted from access to things or places. Most dogs actually are far happier -- and more importantly, safer -- confined down to a single room when people are not there (which I prefer to crating unless it is for a short period eg under a couple of hours). Giving a dog the run of a house is generally asking for problems and they usually will develop -- a bored unsupervised energetic dog will open things, eat things, chew things, break things and bark. I put all my dogs in a single room when I go out with water and some cushions and the radio on. :) All my trainer friends keep their dogs in a single room and would never leave them the run of an entire house.

The articles I linked to above will answer a lot of your questions and give you some ideas on management and things you can try right away. But I highly recommend a class -- it will be good for both you and your dog. :) Dog Training Ireland has an all-cavalier class running at the moment and holds them on occasion for our board members or anyone with a cavalier, so they can be fun, but any rewards-based, no punishment, no choke-chain training class will suit a cavalier perfectly!

PSI just posted a great article in the training section on 'yard dogs' and it really applies to any dogs.

29th August 2009, 12:50 PM
Another great blog post from a trainer that is really applicable for so many of us! And would have some insight for this case too! :)


The GREAT outdoors?

One of the fundamental rules of owning a dog, specifically an untrained one, is that they must be supervised all of the time. I can’t say that clearly enough, S U P E R V I S I O N A L L O F T H E T I M E! True, once dogs are trained to understand the rules in your home, they require less and less oversight, but young dogs or newly added dogs, require some upfront work. This supervision rule extends to the one place people never think it applies: the great outdoors. Most people think that the dog needs to be outside and should be able to do so without human intervention. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Dogs that are left outdoors unattended become increasingly independent. That works great for wolves and coyotes, but it is detrimental to the family dog. A family dog should be attached to his people, social and friendly with strangers, fun to be with and easy to train. Independent dogs, are not social, they don’t really care if they get human attention or not because they have found that the world can be fun without it. Independent dogs often do not feel the need to be handled by humans either. This makes grooming, vet visits and even petting difficult. Finally, because they have been reinforced by their environment (i.e., chasing squirrels, barking at passersby, etc.) it is hard to get their attention, because they have been getting better and better at giving their attention to things that really matter to them (i.e., birds, poop, other dogs, etc.) but have little or nothing to do with you. This translates into major training challenges.

Independent dogs are more likely to run away. These are dogs that are getting all the fun things they like (and need) to do, outside of the family unit and so they are more apt to seek them out. There is more motivation to be outside than inside the human-dog relationship. Dogs need more than food and a warm bed to keep them at home. They need a mental connection to what is important to them. Where is your dog’s mental connection? Who meets HIS most important need/priority? If it is a squirrel across the street or the dog down the road, then that is where you’ll find him.

One of the first things I teach my dog is to pay attention to me, because anything worth having is going to come from me anyway. They learn early on that I am fun to be with. I have all the things they love and I produce those things at random. (Secret: I spend a fair amount of time helping them learn to love the stuff I have by fostering their desire for games like tug and fetch.) These are things that many dogs enjoy, so I just make sure I’m the one who gives it to them. This is how you build a relationship. The quickest way to destroy a relationship however is with independence, letting your dog find out how much fun he can have – without you.

One of my clients brought a dog to me for destructive issues. It seems this one year old Lab had not only eaten the siding off the house, but also two deck chairs and the top to their convertible. It was pretty obvious to do that kind of damage; he must have been outside for quite sometime. Boredom is a big problem with dogs that spend too much time alone. Whether inside or outside, an untrained dog left alone with nothing to do will amuse himself.

Most people put their dogs outside to ‘exercise’. Unfortunately, dogs don’t go outside with the intention of ‘doing a few laps to keep in shape’. Instead, they often can be found lolling around on the deck watching the neighbor’s cat. They need a good, sustained and structured romp to burn energy and stave off boredom. (To learn more about appropriate exercise, read my blog, “Why does my dog, (fill in the blank)?”.) Most dog owners are surprised that after spending a few hours outside (“getting tired, ahem”), the dogs come back in the house crazier then they went out. This is because all that time spent outside has denied them the valuable lessons of how to behave in the house. After they’ve been laying under a tree, watching birds for an hour or two, getting a second wind, they are back inside and looking for something stimulating to do. They have their indoor/outdoor behaviors confused.

From day one, my dogs learn: outside is for play and inside is for rest. I teach this by taking them out first thing in the morning and playing until they are tired. We then come back inside and after their breakfast they fall asleep. Depending on the age or need of the dog, this may be repeated once or twice more during the day. After awhile, they see the yard as the place to run and the house as the place to be calm. Nice arrangement if you ask me.

Just about everyone wants a dog that is reliable off-leash (i.e., they don’t run away, they come when you call, no matter what). Unfortunately, having a dog that is outdoors alone and one that is reliable off-leash, are mutually exclusive. If you want the outdoors to be great, you need to invest in your relationship with you dog. Spend quality time, do things together, train him. Your dog needs to build a relationship with you and be taught what you expect from him, everywhere.

29th August 2009, 12:54 PM
Hes a TEENAGER.I agree with Pauline,try to think like a dog,move things out of his way,and just try to watch him.He will stop.I do think cavs never really grow up,there is allways a cheeky side to them.

29th August 2009, 04:45 PM
Thank you so much everyone for your fantastic advice. Talked to my vet yesterday evening and she gave me a list of instructions. Thank god he came through fine and the whole "swiss roll" episode has not bothered him an inch! He is now gone out for a marathon walk with my husband. As Justine said I think I am now dealing with a teenager!! I always keep him in just one room when I am out and have warned the kids (again!) about keeping things out of his way. His "baby" crate and blankets are in the kitchen as well so he can hop in and out of that if he wants a nap. Have already looked at the training classes in Kildare and am going to follow up that, I think he would get a great kick out of going to classes. Thanks again. Michele

29th August 2009, 08:46 PM
Sounds like a great plan Michele. Teenagers get up to all sorts.