Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Shredder

I'm wondering if anyone else is having issues with their dog destroying stuff.  We're not having so much of a  problem with him trashing the house, but he'll tear the bedding in his crate into little pieces.   Leave a towel out?   He'll gnaw on that and tear it apart.   Gunnar's also partial to small rugs.  Seems to like to gnaw on them and pull the yarn out.   We've removed most of those rugs from the house.  Spraying stuff with the bitter apple deterrent hasn't had much impact.

Playing catch with a plastic Frisbee is similarly frustrating.   Gunnar isn't at all good about dropping an object.  He finds more sport in gnawing on it, literally tearing it into tiny pieces of plastic, which if digested, I'm assuming would not be good.  Tennis balls are objects to be similarly torn apart.  He hasn't punctured one yet, but he's good at stripping the green fuzz from the ball.  We're told by friends that this is normal puppy stuff and that he'll grow out of it.  Sigh!

1 comment:

  1. Here are a few suggestions for your canine buzzsaw:

    I'd advise not leaving anything but appropriate chewing materials in Gunnar's crate. Bedding is just another chew toy, and great training for carpeting, your mattress, etc.

    When he is out of the crate, try offering him an item that would be tough to destroy, but which he might enjoy destroying, in the presence of high value food rewards. Offer the toy, and then offer the food. He is likely to drop the toy, which you can cue (like saying "thank you," or "drop it,") and then mark (click or the word "good,") and reinforce—give him a tiny bit of food. You can progress to playing the same game, but replace the food with a second toy, and play trading games. This won't negate the puppy stuff--destruction of items is a great stress outlet, and dog's don't identify intact versus broken. It will, however, begin to provide a basis for interacting with stuff as a means to getting better stuff, and teach Gunnar that he can interact with toys as a stepping stone toward higher level gratification than destructive behavior provides. The goal is to get him to desire to use his toys as tools for engagement, not ingestion!

    We do address these issues in continuing education classes. Feel free to give me a call to do more advanced training, including retrieve work.