View Full Version : Brooklyn started chewing EVERYTHING!

15th May 2011, 11:06 PM
So, Brooklyn has never been a chewer. She is 7 months old now, and we have gotten away with really good potty training and a non-chewing pup. She has been an overall well trained and really good dog.

Well, that was until 3 days ago and suddenly all hell broke loose...chewing everything in sight. Now, she was just desexed on Wednesday...could this have anything to do with it? Obviously she cannot exercise like normal, so she might have pent up energy, but my husband and I are going crazy...we cannot turn our back for one second!

So far...she has eaten off two corners of our 200 year old antique dining table (in like 3 seconds flat when we caught her!), bitten our computers, books, chewed of part of the coffee table corners, ruined the edge of our Jonathan Adler velvet benches, chewed the bottom of the couch. And just to note, seriously this stuff happens in like a second because I am not letting her wander without me or have unattended access or free run...I blink, and she is going for it and manages to do damage really really fast! I am usually right there, and bam, she just does it. And I cannot get her to stop either.
Then, last night, my husband was putting her to bed (right after she had just pooed and weed), in her normal space all cozy with a hot water bottle...and she just looked at him and peed! Right in her bed! Ugh.

I just don't understand this behavior. Help! I am doing training with her a lot to get her mind exercised at least, but she is just being...well...a bad dog!
What happened?? She never used to be like this, in fact I could just let her hang out while I took a bath, and she would usually just entertain herself or curl up and sleep...now in the last few days, I cannot even blink without destruction.

15th May 2011, 11:20 PM
If you haven't, download Ian Dunbar's free book on raising a puppy (which I always recommend to every owner of a puppy or adult -- best guide to behaviour, care and training available). It explains pretty much all of this typical adolescent behaviour -- and search the site here on chewing; you will see lots of posts. 7 months is pretty much eaxactly the age puppies start to really chew (not when they are first teething -- teething usually is nothing compared to age 7-12 months -- & some dogs are serious chewers for their whole lives).

Puppies this age MUST chew -- it is like a baby learning to crawl; they have to develop those muscles. Our job is 1) never give free access to a dog til it is a well trained adult and even then be cautious; 2) never give a dog access to *anything* we are not willing to have destroyed, at any time in the dog's life (they have no idea what we consider valuable). That includes leaving items on the floor, accessible furniture, shoes, glasses, anything in cupboards at dog level (many can easily learn to open them, or even open refrigerators! Including cavaliers). 3) Invest in a baby gate or puppy xpen perhaps; & limit Brooklyn's access to dog-safe rooms only, unless you are personally there and minding her. And 4) LOTS of good safe chews to get her through this period. Kongs, bully sticks, flat rawhides (only ones I like and think safe) etc etc etc. And I'd add... 5) the realisation (which usually only slowly dawns :lol:) that owning a dog requires accommodating an animal that *will* over the years, pee, poop chew and vomit on some valuable things, not with any intention but because they get sick, get bored, aren't maintained within acceptable boundaries, are allowed too much free rein, are dying to pee or poop and we forget to let them out or overestimate their level of housetraining at a given age... if you have things you love that you do not want damaged by a dog, then you cannot give a dog access to those items (Leo likes to gnaw the ends of nice coffeetable books... :o). It is just the reality of sharing a house with a dog.

Another issue: Brooklyn also is the equivalent of a teen right now and it is VERY common to go backwards on housetraining and all training. That's also why I say do not expect a puppy to be housetrained reliably til at least age 1. :thmbsup:

A lot of dog issues are really human management issues :) -- believe me, you only need to read this site's archives (or know a few dog trainers :lol: !) to find that most of us believe our dogs are trained/housetrained well before they really are and many dogs backslide in part because we stop noticing and, perhaps they have been doing so for a while but just haven't been caught, because owners stop keeping an eagle eye out and drop constant supervision of young dogs. This is probably the single most common issue that arises with dogs under one! So don't feel like it is just you. :)

One possibility too is that she has a urinary tract infection -- common in female dogs and this often causes weeing on soft bedding, carpets etc. It might be wise to have her checked for a UTI. But dogs this age often like to pee on bedding. (PS she probably doesn't need hot water bottles any more -- that's generally to keep up body heat when they are small and a carefully wrapped bottle then can be helpful and comforting. I'd wonder if a warm bottle might actually encourage her to pee?).

Pinned to the top of the training section are some good things to read on managing dogs well, and general training.

Also, the ever wise Ian Dunbar (http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/adolescent-changes):

A dog's adolescence is the time when everything starts to fall apart, unless you make a concerted effort to see it through to the stability of adulthood. Your dog's adolescence is a critical time. If you ignore your dog's education now, you will soon find yourself living with an ill-mannered, under-socialized, hyperactive animal. Here are some things to watch for.

Household etiquette may deteriorate over time, especially if you start taking your dog's housetraining and other good behavior for granted. But if you taught your pup well in his earlier months, the drift in household etiquette will be slow until your dog reaches his sunset years, when housetraining especially tends to suffer.

Basic manners may take a sharp dive when puppy collides with adolescence. Lure/reward training your puppy was easy: you taught your pup to eagerly come, follow, sit, lie down, stand still, roll over, and look up to you with unwavering attention and respect because you were your pup's sun, moon, and stars. But now your dog is developing adult doggy interests, such as investigating other dogs' rear ends, sniffing urine and feces on the grass, rolling in unidentifiable smelly stuff, and chasing squirrels. Your dog's interests may quickly become distractions to training, so that your dog will continue sniffing another dog's rear end rather than come running when called. (What a scary thought, that your dog would prefer another dog's rear end to you!) All of a sudden he won't come, won't sit, won't settle down and stay, but instead jumps up, pulls on-leash, and becomes hyperactive.

Bite inhibition tends to drift as your dog gets older and develops more powerful jaws. Giving your dog ample opportunity to wrestle with other dogs, regularly handfeeding kibble and treats, and periodically examining and cleaning your dog's teeth are the best exercises to ensure that your adolescent dog maintains his soft mouth.

Socialization often heads downhill during adolescence, sometimes surprisingly precipitously. As they get older, dogs have fewer opportunities to meet unfamiliar people and dogs. Puppy classes and parties are often a thing of the past and most owners have established a set routine by the time their dog is five or six months old. At home, the dog interacts with the same familiar friends and family, and is walked, if at all, on the same route to the same dog park, where they encounter the same old people and the same old dogs. Consequently, many adolescent dogs become progressively desocialized toward unfamiliar people and dogs until eventually they become intolerant of all but a small inner circle of friends.

If your adolescent dog does not get out and about regularly and few unfamiliar people come to the house, his desocialization may be alarmingly rapid. At five months your dog was a social butterfly with nothing but wiggles and wags when greeting people, but by eight months of age he has become defensive and lacking in confidence: he barks and backs off, or he snaps and lunges with hackles raised. A previously friendly adolescent dog might suddenly and without much warning be spooked by a household guest.

Puppy socialization was a prelude to your safe and enjoyable continued socialization of your adolescent dog. However, your adolescent dog must continue meeting unfamiliar people regularly, otherwise he will progressively desocialize. Similarly, successful adolescent socialization makes it possible for you to safely and enjoyably continue to socialize your adult dog. Socialization is an on ongoing process.

Dog-Dog Socialization also deteriorates during adolescence, often at an alarming rate, especially for very small and very large dogs. First, teaching a dog to get along with every other dog is difficult. Groups of wild canids — wolves, coyotes, jackals, etc. — seldom welcome strangers into their midst, but that's exactly what we expect of Canis familiaris. Second, it is unrealistic to expect a dog to be best friends with every dog. Much like people, dogs have special friends, casual acquaintances, and individuals they don't particularly like. Third, it is quite natural for dogs (especially males) to squabble. In fact, it is a rare male dog that has never been involved in some physical altercation. Everything was fine with young pups playing in class and in parks, but with adolescent dogs, the scraps, the arguments, and even the play-fighting seem all too real.

A dog's first adolescent fight often marks the beginning of the end of his socialization with other dogs. Again, this is especially true for very small and very large dogs. Owners of small dogs are understandably concerned about their dog's safety and may be disinclined to allow their dogs to run with the big dogs. Here is where socialization starts downhill and the small dog becomes increasingly snappy and scrappy. Similarly, owners of large dogs (especially the working breeds) are understandably concerned that their dogs might hurt smaller dogs. Here too socialization goes downhill and the big dog becomes increasingly snappy and scrappy. Now we're in vicious circle: the less the dog is socialized, the more likely he is to fight and thus be less socialized.

Adapted from AFTER You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar

Jasper and Holly
16th May 2011, 12:18 AM
I think I have been lucky with my two, considering my last dog chewed everything in sight!, they haven't chewed a thing in the house only the grass outside. Mind you I do give them a raw beef soup bone to chew on every other day. They love it and have lovely white teeth. That's something my last dog wouldn't do. So if I were you I'd get Brooklyn started now if you already haven't. I must say I do watch them when they have them and I do have to separate them otherwise they would fight over the bones. Plus I wouldn't want them to go bury them then dig them up all smelly! Then I am fortunate to be home during the day.
Good luck with Brooklyn.

16th May 2011, 02:35 AM
Holly was a typical teenager around Brooklyn's age. I invested in some good chew items for her -- bully sticks, cow ears, pig noses, etc. Her attention span seemed to shorten and she needed more of a variety in her chewing items. I just had to step up the supervision and do a lot of redirecting her chewing. I think I taught "trade me" at that time as well.

I found living with a puppy to be remarkably similar to raising a small child. Just when you think you've got a great routine down, they decide to change everything!

16th May 2011, 02:55 AM
Oh yes.... the horrible rebellious teenage years in the life of a dog :yuk: and not much better than the human form, if you ask me. :grin:

16th May 2011, 11:27 AM
and not much better than the human form, if you ask me.


16th May 2011, 12:19 PM
Oh yes.... the horrible rebellious teenage years in the life of a dog :yuk: and not much better than the human form, if you ask me. :grin:

My thoughts exactly :badgrin: When you described Brooklyn peeing on her bed in front of your husband I was picturing a teenager saying 'go on, just try and stop me' :cool:

16th May 2011, 01:17 PM
Gracie tried the same things... chair legs, window sills, kitchen cabinet corners, etc. We had to really restrict her access at that time and sprayed things with bitter apple, which worked most of the time, but not always. What helped the MOST was giving her something else to chew immediately and praising her for chewing that instead of your furniture.

Not sure about the bed peeing... never had that happen at all. Gracie has always been really fussy about keeping that dry and clean. Maybe something else is up....

murphy's mum
16th May 2011, 07:05 PM
Oh I remember it well. Murphy chewed a corner off the kitchen unit, and our new bedframe :rolleyes:

Then he "un-housetrained" himself and started peeing everywhere. We had to start all over again.

16th May 2011, 08:28 PM
I was glad to read that the 7 to 12 month mark is when they really start chewing and that itís normal! Chamberlain started his "hardcore chewing" than. I have only been buying only the "tuff toys" or nylon bones....well they only last two days max! We have spent 100 bucks in dog toys on him, but he keeps shredding them! :bang:

16th May 2011, 11:04 PM
Thanks for mentioning bitter apple; I forgot about that. It works well for some dogs (Jaspar totally ignored it! :lol:).

Black kongs are the only toy my partner's hardcore chewer GSD doesn't demolish in hours (or minutes). They are pretty tough.

Cathy T
17th May 2011, 12:26 AM
Aren't you glad to know Brooklyn is "normal":lol: My youngest loves nylabones. Whenever he gets "chewy" I give him a nylabone (we keep them up out of the toybox so they are special) and he's happy to gnaw away on it. Plus he needs to be supervised with any kind of chew toy like that. As soon as he showed any interest in chewing on anything inappropriate a quick "uh uh", give him a nylabone and a "good boy" and he was fine. Oh my gosh....he's cracking me up right now....Shelby's laying on the floor and he is standing over her and tapping her on the head to try and get her to play icon_devil he is such a little devil.

17th May 2011, 01:42 AM
Thanks everyone!

First, YES, I am so happy to know that this is "normal" and I just need to train her through it and maybe even modify a bit. I am glad I am not alone. I was not sure what happened all of a sudden, but it seems like everyone went through this stage in some way or another.

Karlin, thank you for your valuble advice and such a long useful post. I have printed out both the Ian Dunbar books and my husband and I are digging into them now. I think that since Brooklyn was such a great puppy and she was rolling along perfectly, we must have just forgot adolescence was going to hit and got a bit complacent. We are going back to the basics and it even seems to be helping a little in one day. Back to restrictions, rules and training. Oh, and just to mention, we just started using a hot waterbottle at the moment because Sydney is having a cold snap and Brooklyn was really struggling to keep warm after her surgery, so the vet said to stick with it for a little. I think she likes it though ;)

Thanks again to everyone for such great advice. I think I need to go invest in some additional chews (Brooky has a short attention span too)...we have bullies, but I think the idea of rotating the chews (snouts, hooves, bullies, etc.) will keep her interested and focused on those.

OH and I have a great idea for everyone...Brooklyn doesn't mind bitter apple at all (she will just lick it off like its nothing), so I called our trainer for tips and she suggested tabasco! Well, since I can't put tabasco on our nice antique wood table, I like "painted" it on a long piece of foil, waited for it to dry, then wrapped the foil around the base of the table she was biting. One sniff and a small lick, and she hated it! She keeps going to sniff it and just freaks out. It is amazing. I am going to leave the foil there for a while, so eventually she will learn that the table tastes horrible :-p

17th May 2011, 03:30 AM
That was good thinking about the foil- I used packing tape on one end of the couch to discourage the cat from clawing it- worked like a charm!

I was going to say (but everyone beat me to it, lol), it sounds like normal to me! I was about to pull my hair out over potty training during that age (she just went back to going outside pretty reliably this month) and my husband would fuss at me about all the toys/chew toys I bought her, but she chewed my wooden rocking chair footrest, the baseboards, the door trim...well, I guess you know ;). Hang in there...if you can find Moozles, those are still good for when she is bored but not sleepy, and looking to chew chew chew stuff that isn't hers! :) . This is kinda funny, I was just warning my bff about adolescence last night with her 6 month old 1/2 boxer 1/2 golden retriever puppy...heh heh heh... :-p

Cathy T
17th May 2011, 04:44 AM
LOL....I tried the foil bit when Micah decided he liked the moss in the silk ficus....caught him chewing on a big piece of ficus (OOPS...should be caught him chewing on a big piece of foil!) one day and learned....I needed to just put a little gate around the tree :D

17th May 2011, 04:59 PM
Ian Dunbar's books are great -- I've done two seminars with him in Ireland too, Dog Training Ireland brings him over now and again. :)

Cathy's tip of limiting access to chews is great (also true for toys generally -- or they just get bored with a whole pile of toys very quickly). Mine need to rotate through treats as a general point anyway -- one week they will be interested in flat rawhides, a week later it is bully sticks and rawhides bore them!

Short term use of a puppy playpen can be very handy for protecting tables etc (like a protective fence) -- more than anything you don't want the habit to get a start, as then it is a lot more difficult to stop. I cannot emphasise what a useful item these are to own -- I use a double panel as an impromptu door gate, or to block stairs. I use a few panels to make a little extension out my front door so the dogs can lie in the sun. We take the whole pen in its box on holiday too. :D