Ask Inger: How To Stop Doggie Destruction While At Work?

Hi Inger!
I have a 10 month-old Yorkie named P-Nut and although it took her a while, she is now housebroken and uses the doggie door regularly.  In addition to her, we have a 4 year-old Australian Cattle Dog mix and a 13 year old cat.  All get along famously, if you consider chewing on the cats head getting along!??!  I minimize it, but also think the cat enjoys the playing…

We have tried leaving the puppy out of her crate while we are at work, which unfortunately can be about 10 hours a day with drive time, but when we return home, destruction of some sort has happened.  Thank goodness it hasn’t been anything of significant value, however, I am not wanting that day to come, so I have chosen to crate her again.
I hate the thought of her being in her crate for that long during the day and would like the two pups to be able to play during the day (cat is confined by a gate upstairs).
She goes into her crate willingly, so doesn’t hate it.  She of course is beyond excited when we get home, but then she is that way if we step outside for 3 minutes…
Any suggestions how to reduce her anxiety?
I have been reading and reading and there is no way that I can go home and take her out during the day, etc… It’s about 30 minutes each way drive time.  I considered corralling the doggie door, so they both can go in and out, but I’d think that with 2, I’d have to get quite a large corral.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
-M

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Hi there M, thanks for the great question. P-Nut’s so cute for a trouble maker!

Several important  important  issues pop out, that I need to explain. Your problem might not be what you think it is! Offering the use of a doggie door to a young pup does not teach your puppy how to hold the urge to go. Don’t misunderstand me, in some environments dog doors are great, but when getting a new puppy, teaching them housebreaking basics is important. You see, pups need to chew. Especially, 10 month-old puppy’s, yes even toy breeds! Chewing is a function of a puppy, way beyond the teething process! What they chew on becomes the possible bad behavior. 

It sounds to me like there might be a little competition between your two dogs and maybe a bit of frustration involving the chew toys. This can happen when dogs are by themselves and one wants what the other has, and if that’s not possible then destruction happens! When you’re at work there could be a dominance vibe over chew bones by your older dog,  that may not be evident when your home. 

Sometimes in multiple dog homes the older dog can vibe chew bones or be chewing on a bone and the youngest pup only wants what the other dog is chewing! Even though you may have  20 toys on the floor, resulting in frustration and destruction.  

This vibe can take place even if the older dog is not chewing any toy! A glance is all it takes between dogs who are trying to claim  possession. So it may not be separation anxiety at all! My diagnosis is codependence between the two dogs mixed in with a little doggie hierarchy and a 10 month-old pup who needs to chew on something!  She also may need the proper type of chew.

I always encourage people to teach a new puppy independence, with some form of gating as a protocol for training for a period of time. This ensures your 10 month-old pup’s chewing needs are met while you’re at work and teaches them to respect a boundary. 

Paws For A Minute® – Quick TIp: doggie demolition-  7 steps to success.

1. Exercise is important and important for training. A tired dog is a good dog. Playtime together with both dogs is awesome and should be often. Occasionally, exercise them for a few minutes separately too. 

2. Initiate going potty while your present: Perhaps before you go to work exercise both dogs and formalize the “going potty” process by you initiating it and being present.

3. Initiate going potty a second time before you leave: Formalize the process of going potty again before you leave for work. Formalize the process by taking each dog separately on leash for a quick potty break to ensure they have gone. Remember, your younger dog needs to be guided by you! 

4. Apply a new temporary set up: Try this while you’re at home (on the weekend) to start. Once safe apply during the week.  Use a corral and put the crate within the corralled space but leave the crate door open. Make sure the coral is set up in a central area in your home. This allows her to go in and out of the crate and to learn to self-soothe and enjoy her own chew bone privately. She will learn to next and feel safe while not feeling confined. Your other dog can be loose. Start with small increments of time while your home. Then slowly build to longer periods. Remember, your 4 year-old dog doesn’t have the same urge to chew, at least not with the same urgent impulse. Music helps set the tone.

5. Occasionally walk your dogs separately: This easy tip really helps train dogs to anticipate separation in a positive way, if only occasionally. The learn to accept the ritual of waiting for their turn to be walked. If you use a term such as “wait”  with corralled space to designate the area, the dog that’s waiting there turn to be walked can get a bully stick while waiting. This will divert the possible anxiety and teach them to wait their turn. Leave the ritual of play time for when you get home or perhaps before you leave for work.

6. Always leave water available in a corralled space: Make sure dogs have water and something safe to chew. Check with your vet to see what’s safe for your breed of dog.I like to suggest a 12″ bully stick chew for toy breeds. It’s the same size you’d give a big dog, but it’s for safety reasons when your not home to monitor the chewing. Use your own common sense with chew toys. 

7. Always try this new corralled space out on a weekend when you’re home, first. To ensure success, try the corral set up and dog separation on the weekend when your home. So that you can correct any unwanted behaviors and have peace of mind that the process of separation is effective. Never wing it and see what happens. 

In no time, she’ll be an adult dog and you can leave them together with a doggie door access.The need to chew whether it’s stuff they shouldn’t or provided by you does subside with age but it remains a nice hobby for dogs through out there lives.

Paws For A Minute® Mutt-rimony

Sure, you can try to teach me the first year, but I got you trained for the the next 16…

Dog Nipping, Biting And Gnawing On Your Last Nerve

My boyfriend and I just got a Siberian Husky puppy named Frye. He’s almost 9 months old and we’ve had him for 2 months prior. Up until now, he has been well-behaved, but recently he has started biting when he gets excited. At first, the bites were far a part and soft, but lately they’ve become more frequent and have started to hurt. We have tried various ways to discourage this behavior, such as giving him more toys to focus his attention on or giving him chew toys whenever he starts to bite, to channel the behavior. So far, nothing seems to work. It’s getting to the point where we’re afraid that he might hurt others. Frye is very well socialized when it comes to other dogs, but we live in a residential area where there are a lot of children. Our main concern is that when others try to play with him, he might get over excited and bite them. We love our dog and we want to improve for his sake. What can we do to nip this behavior completely?

Danni and George.

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Hi Danni and George,

Thanks for the great question! Okay, I totally understand. Many people with teenage pup’s often feel the urge to pass out body gear with helmets to all guests wanting to say hello to their now BIG puppy. The behavior you’re describing is obnoxious for sure and yet solvable! Redirecting such behavior means creating a little structure within your daily routine, reassessing chew toys, re-organizing how your dog gets exercise, and where,when and how you play with him.

The solution to this issue lies more with you understanding how to redirect this behavior, where to apply structure and when to initiate play and how to still make things fun.

Here are some my Paws For A Minute® Dog Training Tips

1. Apply structured exercise times and separate them from walks.

Lots of people walk their dogs and play with them without intent. They can often mix up concepts of play while walking for exercise that in turn accelerate hyper behaviors. Where, how and when you play with your dog create reactions and sets triggers.

Example: Try isolating extreme exercise prior to socialization with people and guests. In other words,  play turbo fetch first, then go on a walk.  Teaching your dog to play fetch is an awesome way to keep hyper activity targeted on the movement of a ball. The key to keeping a dogs interest is only use on special ball that comes out ONLY for fetch. Build slowly to the amount of throws daily.

2. Do a re-check of his chew toys.

Example: 90% of the time puppy parents have zillions of toys for their dogs but have a distinction between play toys and actually chew bones. If a toy is lying on the ground or in the yard, overtime it becomes boring. Dogs of a certain age need to chew, not just play. Mouthy behaviors can come from frustration and ill-timed activities. Play is often induced by movement and voice inflection and a chew toy may be tossed, but the activity of your dog actually chewing on it gets lost. Many people end up playing with their dogs with chew toys and boredom of the toy sets in quickly. The act of chewing on something needs to be isolated for your puppy by creating a “chew your chew bone” time! Perhaps in a baby gated area, while you are home. This creates an activity for a young teenage dog. Chewing a bully stick, for example, will also help tire him out and give him something to focus on that’s not a toy.

3. Redirect a positive obedience command to greet new people. 

Example: Redirection can mean introducing your dog to new people while on a leash, only as an exercise for a few weeks. The leash helps you guide your dog into a sit and then a stay while being introduced to new people. If he breaks the stay command to jump up the leash can act as a boundary and allow you to say No then quickly reinforce a sit and the positive in what you want out of his behavior. Or practice with people approaching him to do so with a treat. Have them direct your dog to sit and then give him the cookie!

Change will happen overtime. Try all three tips for a few weeks and keep us posted!

Does Your Dog Really Know What He’s Done Wrong?

Paws For A Minute® … and think about this…

Some people give lengthy verbal dissertations trying to explain to their dog their extreme displeasure they feel after they’ve discovered their best shoes chewed. Other’s righteously feel their dog totally gets what he’s done wrong. Absolutely, 100 %.. slinking out of the room with their ears back and tail tucked. For sure they know! Right?

 Some people try to punish their dog by using spray bottles, crating or putting your dog outside in the yard to “think about” what he’s done. This may give the person time to cool off after being mad, but really? Does it get the right point across?

Well, the truth is that dogs do respond to voice inflection and body language. So yeah, they get that your mad, but not at what? Dogs associate to things with sense of smell, patterns and triggers. It’s best to explain to them what they’ve done wrong with a sensible process that has a beginning, middle and end to it. Whether your pup has chewed something or gone to the bathroom in the house, get the leash, put it on and guide them over to what they’ve done wrong. Isolating the item or area by guiding your dog to it helps them associate the scent and your voice inflection to the word NO.

Reprimanding your dog this way you’re actually associating the smell of their saliva on the chewed item or urine on the carpet and that identifies to your dog what you’re saying NO for and to what?  After saying no, take your dog “outside” ( in the case of a bathroom mistake) or (in the case of chewing the wrong thing) give them the right chew bone. Then say “okay” in a happy voice indicating that the reprimand is over! Over time he’ll learn the pattern of where to go to the bathroom and what to chew. The days of needing to catch your dog in the act of doing something wrong are over.

Do You Trust Your Dog? 5 Steps To Success

Do you trust your dog? Achieving trust with your pup is a process and must be developed by you! Do you have a dog that’s not a puppy anymore, but still not housebroken or trustworthy in the house? Are you waiting for your dog to get it? Guess again, it’s you that needs to guide your dog to get it! It’s not about your dog being smart or stupid.

Recently one of our readers, sent in a plea to address this issue. Her dog has the bad habit of busting through the back door, every time they leave the house, and eats all the food off the counters. Also known as, counter surfing! Puppy proofing and not keeping food on counter tops is one issue, the other is the urge to bust down a door is a more complicated behavior and it has to do with the owner, as well as the dog.

I’m talking about separation anxiety, which often results in doggie demolition.  Blocking doors with tables or chairs, or sometimes just  shutting a door on a dog (that doesn’t want to be alone) whether in a room or yard  can create distress. Separation anxiety in dogs can actually be created (albeit unintentionally) by you! Coaxing, pushing you already anxious dog back and shutting a door can induce crazy behavior. Many owners leave their dogs in the yard or locked in a room while they’re gone because they don’t trust their dog loose in the house. The act of pushing a dog back and shutting a door can sometimes create the separation anxiety, especially in a young untrained dog. all behaviors owner and dog can become a vicious circle.

The solution to solving separation anxiety in dogs and creating trust within your lifestyle has many parts.

I know everyone means well, and life does get busy! But sometimes bad dog behaviors and habits such as; barking, destroying things or eating food off the counters can develop from boredom, lack of routine or bad triggers. Bad triggers can develop from owners as they rush out the door to go to work, not knowing how to train their dog to be trustworthy. If trust was not created during puppy training, then as a dog matures bigger problems can occur. If your dog’s destroying things, not housebroken or barking up a storm at every noise then that’s your sign to jump into action and begin asking yourself some questions!

The first question to ask yourself is, are your dogs needs met? Many people think so, but if your dog is barking, digging, and destroying furniture then those signs may indicate your dogs needs are not met. Dogs need to exercise, to be apart of the family, be trained in basic commands on a leash, by you! Also they also need praise, to be guided and fed, to have a chew on a delicious, safe “chew” type bone, and oh, did I say exercise? I did.

One bit of advice I have is to begin creating a new routine. Get your running shoes on and take your dog for a long walk, or to the dog park and tire your pup out! You would be surprised how many owners don’t. Get into a routine of exercising your dog everyday. A tired dog is always a better dog. The main ingredient is to have a new routine. Exercising your dog  will become  a huge part of the solution and the road to recovery. Be aware of when you exercise your dog. Timing is everything. Dog’s are very routine oriented and sometimes varying the time of your outings can be helpful in getting rid of bad habits.

 

The weekend may be the best time to implement this training!

Paws For A Minute® Quick tips: Trust 

Method: How to Feng Shui with Fido.™ Dog+ Home= peace 

1.  Initiate a new routine on the weekend when you’re home. If your dog lives outside all day long, then your yard becomes his den. This con promote digging, barking and possible separation anxiety. Ideally, you want to reverse this concept, and create trust indoors. Look at your individual lifestyle and age, temperament of dog to be sure this concept is right for you. You want the yard to be a place to run and jump, not on you.

2. Exercise your dog at the proper time. Sometimes people exercise their dogs at the wrong times. For example, I recently had a client who had a similar issue. Her dog was walked and exercised early in the morning and then basically spent the rest of the day barking and sleeping in the yard! Pay attention to the time your exercise your dog and if your not then do so! Sometimes a quick game of turbo fetch and potty is a better use of time, leaving the longer walk for later.

3.  Get the right chew bones for your dog to enjoy! Make sure you have “chew time” coincide with a new added routine! Young dogs LOVE to chew and it’s a function not a behavior, they must. Chewing also tires a young dog out and gives them a hobby. Ask your vet what would be right for your dog. Use this chewing hobby to your advantage by introducing the concept indoors as apart of the new training.  A special, new “chew bone” could be given in a gated area creating a “new space.” * Note: Always ask your local vet what type of dog chew is best for your dog!

Choose a gating area for a (20 minute period of time) while YOU are home. This teaches your dog to be gated in an area and learn to be mellow in the house. The gates allows him to see what’s going on yet still be apart of things. This is a temporary training exercise only meant to be applied for an hour here and an hour there, while your home! This will psychologically create a new “den space” for your dog and develop a trust. Absolutely, allow your dog free time loose in the house with you after a walk, this will reinforce mellow behavior.

Occasionally, guide your dog into the space on a leash, say sit, WAIT and then put up the baby gate. Always take off the leash while your dog is gated for safety and give the proper chew type toy or bone that’s safe for your dog to chew. Dogs are den animals and LOVE small spaces, if introduce correctly. The baby gate allows them to see out and be apart of the household without being completely loose all of the time. They love being apart of the family. Begin training with a little patience and always while you are home. This will help you to be able to correct any anxiety. Remember, gate in a central part of the house for best results.

4. Put music on while your dog is gated. This triggers a comforting feeling and trigger a mellow behavior and help to mute out other sounds.  This may also help get your dog of the pattern of going to the door, window or back door waiting for the next sound. All of these tips together will work together over time to help curb the barking or anxiety. You must be in the room your dog is gated during this training process. At least for the first week. You need to build on a new routine.

5. Stop the madness. While your dogs gated, and you are in the room or near by, if your dog continues to bark, you can give a correction. If your dogs needs are met and you know that he’s been to the bathroom, exercised, loved, fed and has water then correcting him to waittTake a coffee can, empty it and then put a hand full of pennies in the can and make sure the lid on the can is on tight. Make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom and had plenty of exercise. If the barking gets excessive, shake the can once, from out of sight, only while your dog is gated. Being out of sight is key! The noise of the can acts just like a siren does of a police car pulling you over for blowing a red light. It’s a sanction, a growl or just plain NO! This can help break the barking pattern.

Remember, it’s important to keep this gating exercise to a short amount of time, slowly building up to an hour over a few days.  I do not suggest you leave your dog gated in the house alone when you have to go out! This new pattern may take months of application before  a new pattern is set. 

Yes, I know dogs can jump over gates and get through most barriers, if the process is initiated incorrectly. This new routine is only meant to be implemented for short periods of time, while your home, only! All of the steps must be in place in order for this concept to become effective. Slowly, you and your dog will learn to trust and eventually the old pattern of anxiety will dissipate.

It’s really important to do all of steps together! Increase exercise, apply short increments of time gated, only while you are home. Remember, gating your dog for “short” periods while your home, can be done several times a day! This creates a pleasant chew bone “chewing” experience and music triggers a new positive pattern of waiting! Often shutting a door on a untrained dog can sometimes create massive anxiety. You may have to leave your dog at home (the way you used to) until a new pattern is formed for a while. Add these new steps indoors, slowly over several weeks or even a month adding the new routine slowly, and before long a healthy trustworthy behavior will develop.

In extreme cases:  ALWAYS seek out a professional dog trainer in your local area. Always ask your local veterinarian what type of  ”dog chew” is best for your dog, 

Why Does Your Dog Chew? How To Teach Him Not To Touch The Manolo’s


Demolition. Some homes don’t need a contractor, the construction or rather destruction has already begun. Whether it’s furniture, rugs, shoes or cabinets some people are convinced there dog has it out for their most expensive things. Why?!!!

Chewing is a function, not a behavior. Dogs must chew on something. Now, it’s true some dogs “need” to chew more than others. However, the ‘FYI” for most owners is that what their dog chews in can become a behavior. Let me explain, all dogs loose their baby teeth between the ages of 4 to 6 months of age. Yup, all breeds.

Many people don’t realize that if they don’t provide their dog the proper teething chews then shoes, carpets and cabinets are fair game. Ah, so it’s your fault? Well, kind of…

Many owners have a hundred toys and not the right chew bones. The chewing needs of a dog largely depends on the age, but it’s up to you to provide the time and place and teach your dog to chew, relax and leave your things alone. Once you have that down, then you can show your dog properly his wayward ways. Yelling the word NO! doesn’t always penetrate. The best thing to do is to get a leash, guide your dog to the chewed item and show it to him. He smells his saliva on the shoe. Now, you can say the word NO.

The leash helps guide, isolate the experience, gives the reprimand a structure to prevent misunderstandings. After showing your dog the “chewed” item you can then give him the delicious something to chew. That’s when you can really end the reprimand on a happy POSITIVE note. Lots of love, praise and take off the leash.

Oh, by the way, always ask your vet what chew is best for your dog, every dog is different.