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Pet Mama in tears most of the time!

Pet Mama in tears most of the time!

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Pet Mama in tears most of the time!

by Furface on 12/2/2010 at 4:09 PM in Training

Angus, our mastador, adopted from the humane society at 4 months now 10.5 months old, is driving me crazy! He's extremely loving yet incredibly destructive. Never went through this with our other dog (4 yrs.). Angus destoys an average of 3 things before noon each and every day. And yes, I try to watch him but I do have to attend to basic chores and shower ya know?! We've supplied him with plenty of kongs, hard rubber chew toys, tons of stuffed animals - which he is rapidly de-stuffing, a special cuddle/comfort blanket to drag around. We live on a beautiful 1/2 acre of land with a creek along the back property line, and a view of a river and a mountain. When we built our split rail 4'fence it was able to contain our other 2 dogs, but Angus continues to either jump over it on through it. We've lined it with chicken wire, bought an electronic collar, walk him outside the property 1 - 2 times daily.....still he gets out and continues to be destructive. I bake soup bones 2x weekly, stuff the kongs w/peanut butter, when I really need to run errands and put the dogs in their compound. It's 39'x12 with an attached 7'x10'enclosed porch. All their needs are met, and yet Angus continues to get into, destroy, ruin things. I don't dare leave them in the house (mind you we have but Angus and our 4yr. old shepard mix Anika now - our precious long haired Rotty passed away - which is way we adopted Angus). It's getting to cold outside to leave them in their compound for the couple of hours a week I run errands, so I'm forced to use our F-250 truck with a large kennel inside the canopy, to house Angus. He lost his right to have free run inside the canopy with his sister when he ripped out all the wiring and ate large hunks out of the carpeted overhead custom canopy! I'm truly at my wits end here. We would never, ever give up on him, yet I'm so frustrated I end up in tears some days. We also have 4 kitties, all of which are wonderfully accepting of the dogs. The 14 month old kitten actually interacts all the time with Angus. HELP?!
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I am very sorry to read that you are experiencing such problems with Angus. I have personally not owned a mastiff or mastador, but know from experience that labradors, although generally regarded, when adult as amongst the calmest and most reliable of all, surprisingly when young are amongst the most lively and destructive. Like most pups they love to chew and being fairly powerful they can destroy things easiy, and added to it in Angus's case you have the even greater power of the mastiff. The usual comfort is that he should grow out of it in time, but unless you do something about it soon you will be able to start a wrecking business and hire him out. You need action to remedy now and first of all need to ask why is he overdoing it. Almost certainly lack of exercise and possibly boredom are the root of the problem. You are of course responsible owners and I am not for a moment suggesting otherwise. You have made excellent facilities for your two dogs, but really a common mistake by very many owners indeed of large dogs is that they think having a large garden enables the dog to run around. But does he, not much. They usually stand forlornly at the gate hoping to see another dog. Also providing loads of toys which they can play with whenever they want doesn't relieve their boredom. A well exercised dog is usually a contented dog. Loving a dog means giving her three things, love (food, water, shelter)discipline, and exercise.The walk is the most essential part of exercise. As much as possible. If it is possible the walk should be in interesting surroundings (for a do) and he should have the opportunity to sniff and meet others, run and play if at all possible.The duration of this essential part of LOVE should be a minimum of a good hour at least twice a day, ideally much more whenever possible especially for a large dog. I know for busy people it is difficult but there is really no substitute. I walk a weihmaraner, a labrador, a greyhoundmix and a pug-zu (pug x shih tsu) a minimum of four hours a day in three walks, often more. Even the little one with short legs and a heavy body can do much more.The labrador used to chew but doesn't now, except she would degut a soft toy, so she doesn't get one! Chewing by pups is usual and you have supplied him quite correctly with toys. However, I suspect that this is also part of the problem. You say you have given him tons of stuffed animals, which he is rapidly destuffing. You are really encouraging him to do that. You may even be partly training him to do it. Some dogs have a favourite toy, which is fine, but I think Angus may be rather spoilt for choice. The hard rubber rings,kongs etc which he find harder to chew, are much better, but he should not have an unlimited choice. To train a dog well he should have as varied a selection of toys as you can muster, but they are not his. They are yours and you, not he, decide what he will play with and when. He should not be able to get to them. Working with malinois, Belgian shepherds, which are replacing German shepherds worldwide for police and military purposes, they are allowed only to play with one toy, usually a ball, for very short periods, given as a reward for good behaviour. I stress a toy should not be left with a dog for him to play with if and when he wants. The only exception I would say in your case,to try to break this cycle of destroying your property is of course to train him not to do it, by giving him a firm no every time he tries and removing him. To provide a distraction try to provide alternative things for him to do, more exercise should be the key and reduce boredom. I would try having fixed ropes and logs, or boxes in the compound where both Angus and Anika can play. Creating things like tunnels and blocks which can be climbed on, which you can change from time to time would be ideal. If Angus gets on well with the kitten, he can't be all bad. I hope you find this helpful and also, nearly forgot, throw that bloody electronic collar away!!! I am sure with perseverance you will manage it.
michdwy on 12/5/2010 at 7:18 AM

I have a Spanador who is extremely smart. I find that if I don't engage him in something that uses his abilities and intelligence that he gets destructive. He is now 7 1/2 months old (neutered). I did not have problems with destructive chewing when he was younger, as I would find him with the object I didn't want him to have, say No calmly but assertive, remove the object and replace with what he was allowed to chew. I find it best to always redirect the unwanted behaviour with something I know he enjoys. Now that he is reaching his teens he has become more destructive than when he was younger. I am only guessing, but I think my dog is bored. It seems that dogs with extra smarts need more to do. I'm starting with training him to dog freestyle dance, and also signed him up for agility, that starts the end of May. I find that if I challenge him with something to make his mind work, he doesn't chew so much. He has chewed a hole in my boxspring, tore off weatherstripping on the porch door, destroyed some shoes, and always finds my socks.He usually only does these things when I'm in the shower, or getting dressed, and it's no good correcting them after the fact, they won't connect the correction to the action if not done the very second they are caught. I've tried Ceasar Millans way, by presenting my dog with non-allowed items and correting him with a "No" every time he tries to touch it, you have to practice, practice, practice, and don't forget to reward your dog when he stops trying to touch the non-dog item.This is how I stopped my dog from eating out of the cat litter. I kept putting the cat litter right in front of him, and corrected him if he tried to touch it. Now he never touches it. I hope this gives you some kind of idea.
Bohdi on 5/3/2011 at 3:13 PM

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