View Full Version : Chewing Furniture
12th November 2009, 02:23 PM
Hello all, not sure where I should have posted this question, but I have 'lively' little girl of just over one, but she has a very destructive nature. It was cute at first, chewing plant from the garden, drove my wife mad. She has brought this problem into the house, and now has started chewing kitchem cupboards and skirting board corners. She is not left for long periods, she has lots of love and differing toys to chew. Does anyone have any ideas why she does it, and how can we discourage her from doing it ( before I get a new kitchen ) :swear:. Hope you can help
12th November 2009, 02:26 PM
Does she do it in front of you? If so, a spray bottle works wonders.
If not, you'll need to crate her or use an x-pen when you can't watch her 100%, and always when you're away from the house.
12th November 2009, 02:38 PM
How much exercise is she getting? I'm a firm believer that a tired dog is a less destructive dog ;)
You can buy various sprays from any pet shop to discourage them chewing furniture but to be honest I found it encouraged Ollie to chew when he was a pup. He loved nothing more than licking it off and then chewing the skirting boards :rolleyes:
12th November 2009, 02:40 PM
Every one responds to something different, but mine HATES loud noises. Anytime she would go near this one particular board that she liked to chew on, I'd watch her closely and as she'd get close to it, really close to it, then I'd shake a can I had filled with coins. The noise would scare her and she'd run away from the board. It only took 2 times and then she was afraid to go near the board again. I guess you don't want yours 'afraid' if it's in her own home though, but I just wanted to share what worked for us. The squirt bottle is a great idea too! My mother in law has had great success using that also.
12th November 2009, 02:53 PM
Thanks for the quick replies, she get plenty of exercise, but it seems impossible to tire her out. She only does it when we are not there, but yesterday she did it whilst we were in the house, so it is not a cry for attention or any abandonment issues. My wife has tried sprays, mustard all the other usual repellants, but she grows to quite like them. I could put her in a large cage that we have, but I would rather not with the other 3 dogs to torment her.
12th November 2009, 02:58 PM
If she is doing it while you are there you could try redirecting her to one of her toys any time she starts to chew. For when you are away, have you tried using a kong toy. I find if you freeze them, it will keep her occupied for ages :D
I hope you find a solution before you need a new kitchen :lol:
12th November 2009, 05:08 PM
I have three old english sheepdogs, 5, 4 and 3 years old, the middle one, shredded my new leather couch last year for no reason at all, naughty boy:swear: He wasnt on his own for long, they are left 2 hours a day max, out 3 times a day, I cant explain it, I think it might be his way of showing that he's upset that I've left him as he's much more of a baby than the other two.
All I could suggest is introducing a crate, but making it a good place to be, not a punishment and trying really hard not to show you are upset/annoyed at the damage, because if you dont catch them at it they have'nt a clue why they're getting a row if its hours later.
12th November 2009, 05:35 PM
My Golden was a chewer - the thing that worked for him was spraying a mixture of tabasco sauce and water on the things he would chew.
17th November 2009, 03:57 AM
Just some ideas but does she have pleanty toys inside to keep her attn. Maybe it's time to rid a couple old ones & replace them new ones. I didn't notice the age of your dog, but I believe puppies go through a second teething stage where they can get more destructive. When you see her chewing furniture, place the chew toy in her mouth and lead her to a different direction. This is what I might do when times comes lol. They also sell toys with treats inside so the dog spends a lot of time trying to get the treat keeping them occupied. Another thing, I just wondering if it's some kind of anxiety display. Hhmm I'm very new to this but trying to find out and feel along as I go. She may have gotten into this habit already. In my opion don't be afraid to start traing about THIS issue.Try your best to spend some good quailty time with her and hopefully you can get this resolved soon.
17th November 2009, 09:07 AM
I have the dining furniture to prove that some are natural chewers and some not. I think it's part of growing up. Ignore the behaviour if you can, and certainly don't get a new kitchen for the present, then once it's stopped order the kitchen.
You could of course buy a small extra crate for when you are out.
17th November 2009, 11:31 AM
Positive-methods (as opposed to punishment-approach) trainers would not advise anyone to spray dogs, shake cans, or do other similar aversive approaches -- and I'd agree. You can easily introduce other problems that are even harder to manage (see below).
She is right around the age where dogs chew, and most likely, that should start to decline. However for some dogs, especially those who get the habit, this can be a permanent issue. She sounds like she has had the opportunity to get into this unwanted habit, so you have a somewhat greater challenge.
The single best approach is management: eg: do not let her get access to skirting boards, furniture, etc. That may mean she needs to be blocked from accessing certain rooms: so close some doors in the house. It may mean that when she is inside, you use a large xpen to contain her, at least until the habit is broken and the behaviour less automatic. She also needs more hands on supervision -- maybe that means when inside someone clips her to a lead looped thru their belt so she cannot wander at will. Close the door so she is confined to the room with someone, not allowed to go off on her own and chew. If she is closely managed she can easily be distracted from chewing before she even starts -- which is where you want to break the habit. Rather than spray her, shake cans or shout, instead give her something else to do (has she done a good fun obedience class?) A dog that is asked to sit or go into a downstay... isn't chewing! A dog that can be sent to its favourite bed with a toy on command... isn't chewing!
Bitter apple spray on the boards and furniture itself helps in some cases, but in my experience, is ignored by many dogs.
The other approach to go along with the above is finding the toys that she is actually interested in to chew. Generally a kong with some interesting stuffing -- mashed banana and a bit of kibble for example (though subtract all such things from her daily food intake at meals) is generally a lot more successful than being given a rubber toy for most dogs. I have a whole household of dogs not remotely interested in chew toys excepting rawhides and Kongs.
Have a read of the three short articles here and I am sure you will get some helpful ideas too!
Deterring unwanted behaviour is always a matter of putting in time to train for what you do want, and management to stop what you don't want. Both of these are far more successful than scaring or punishing a dog, who may only start to do the unwanted behaviour secretly, when you are not there -- spraying/noise etc tends to teach a dog not to do something *when the owner is there*, not to stop the behaviour and find other things to do. :thmbsup:
Also: be sure to praise her and toss her a few bits of kibble when she is doing what you do want -- chewing a chew toy, relaxing in her bed, laying quietly -- this gives a dog good behaviours to recall and repeat. Too many people instead of encouraging the wanted behaviours all the time, use 'no' more than any other word in their dog communication vocabulary (hands up as we all probably do this!). Often there are many different contexts for 'no' and the dog likely has no idea what 'no' means (imagine if you were doing a task at work and your boss just stood at your shoulder and kept shouting 'no' at you without explaining what she wanted you to do -- it is about 100 times more confusing for a dog!). Just like people dogs need to know what IS wanted rather than just being told don't do this, don't do that, don't move this way, keep your paws off that. And managing them thoughtfully so they don't end up doing what we don;t want in the first place (and so bad habits aren't formed -- these are MUCH harder to stop once they have started!) is 90% of good training. :)
17th November 2009, 11:46 AM
i heartily agree with karlin!
also, by scaring the dog off chewing furniture (or whatever unwanted behaviour) or punishing him when he is 'cought out' most probably only teaches the dog that you do not want him to do it when you are present. nothing happens when he is doing this alone, so the lesson for the dog must be that chewing furniture is ok, but not when you are around.
dogs chew for entertainment, a lot people watch the telly. if you were in a home with several tellys, you would problably switch one of them on when you are bored. the telly is there to entertain.
if then someone jumped at you, scolding, spraying water, shouting NO, you would very quickly learn that watching the telly is ok, as long as this person id not around.
i really doubt that anyone would find it logical to conclude that tellys are not for watching....:), but for sitting on, for example....
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