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Category: Destroying the House
  1. When we leave our house, my 2 year old dog chews the furniture and rugs. What should we do to help him be a better dog?
  2. How can I keep my 9 week old puppy off the couch? He continually jumps up and last night urinated on it (lying down!).
  3. Our dog won't stay out of the trash when we leave the house. How can we train her not to do that?
  4. Our 3 month old puppy chews the baseboards and door frames in our house. We leave him toys and bones to chew and confine him to one room with our other dog. Is there something we can spray on the wood to detour him from chewing it?
  5. My 7 month old boxer has a thing for wood. She is outside with our other dog part of the day, but she also chews on things that are wood. She has torn off all the lattice work from the deck and has begun to chew on the deck. She has also torn the bark off the trees and pieces of the wood fence. Last night, she moved onto the wood siding of the house. She's also taken to digging small holes in random places in the yard. My husband is going to give her away soon if she doesn't stop destroying the backyard.
  6. My roommate and I live in an apartment. I work most of the day, and he works at night. For the first few weeks, my new, 3 year old rescue dog was an angel. All of a sudden he is peeing and pooping in the house, barking, humping legs, grabbing our items, and bothering my roommate when he sleeps. What happened and what do I do?



  1. When we leave our house, my 2 year old dog chews the furniture and rugs. What should we do to help him be a better dog?
    I think there are 2 problems here: First, I think your dog is very bored. Two year old dogs need to do things and some breeds need more activity than others. And second, your dog needs obedience training. Try these - walk your dog (maybe 2 or 3 times a day), play ball, tug-o-war, brushing time, games, toys, etc. Try some toys like the Buster Food Cube or treat Balls. They keep the dog interested by rolling the toy around and they are rewarded by getting pieces of treats that fall out. Your dog is begging for something to do. Your dog should not be loose in the house when you are gone until he is completely trustworthy. For now, put him in a laundry room or a crate (for short periods of time) where he won't get into trouble. Your dog needs training. Start basic obedience training and then continue it. Many people make the mistake of taking a six week course and then quitting. Dogs need and enjoy activities like this. Go to a class where he will have the stimulation of other dogs. Also, make sure your dog is healthy by taking him to a vet. But I would bet that your dog just needs some major fun!
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  2. How can I keep my 9 week old puppy off the couch? He continually jumps up and last night urinated on it (lying down!).
    Your puppy is very young and is begging for structure. It's important that your pup is never unsupervised especially at this young age. Your puppy just wants to be close to you, so you should get down on the floor and hold your puppy. Spend as much time with him as you can and he will be a better pet. He is much too young to discipline with harsh words.

    Look for the mistakes you might be making (like not keeping an eye on him) and try to fix them. Your pup probably shouldn't be left alone in the house until he is 1 or 2 years old. That sounds like a long time, but it will go fast and it takes that long for dogs to become trustworthy with their behavior. Your puppy is not housebroken yet. The accident he had on the couch was just that - an accident. Young pups cannot hold their bladder for very long times. Work on housebreaking with the tips from this page: Housebreaking.

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  3. Our dog won't stay out of the trash when we leave the house. How can we train her not to do that?
    Unfortunately, you can't train your dog to leave the trash alone. Dogs instinctively like the smell and interesting taste of trash. Put the trash in a cabinet under the sink or get a trash can that has one of those firm lids. I have found that it's best to just put the cans in cupboards under the sinks. It works very well.

    The other thing you can do is to confine your dog so she won't get into things when you are gone. No dog should be left unsupervised until they are completely trustworthy, usually 1-3 years of age. Last, you might try visiting this page: Helping Your Dog Behave.

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  4. Our 3 month old puppy chews the baseboards and door frames in our house. We leave him toys and bones to chew and confine him to one room with our other dog. Is there something we can spray on the wood to detour him from chewing it?
    There are sprays that you can use. They sell them at Petco and PetSmart, but they only work temporarily and you have to spray daily. I don't remember their names, but an employee can help you.

    Your puppy is too young to be unsupervised even in one room. He will want to chew things possibly until he is a year old, so this is not a short-term problem. The best thing would be to buy a nice crate and put a comfortable bed in it with some chew toys. Then he can still see your other dog and be near him.

    Another option is to leave the pup outside in a fenced yard, but very young pups still need a limited area so they don't get into trouble. An exercise pen is often a good option for a young pup because they aren't strong enough to knock it over.

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  5. My 7 month old boxer has a thing for wood. She is outside with our other dog part of the day, but she also chews on things that are wood. She has torn off all the lattice work from the deck and has begun to chew on the deck. She has also torn the bark off the trees and pieces of the wood fence. Last night, she moved onto the wood siding of the house. She's also taken to digging small holes in random places in the yard. My husband is going to give her away soon if she doesn't stop destroying the backyard.
    My guess would be that your dog has two problems: not enough exercise and not enough to do. Granted, most dogs who have a playmate get sufficient exercise. But your dog may have a need for more.

    First, Take your dog for walks at least twice per day, especially before you leave her alone and make it a good long one. And give her as much exercise as you and she can handle. Don't underestimate the power of tiring out your dog.

    Second, provide her with lots to do while you are gone. Buy some puzzle-type toys for dogs. There are several kinds now, and they are lifesavers. First, is the Buster Food Cube. It comes in two sizes. You drop dry kibble or treats in the hole and they get lost in the hard plastic cube. The dogs very quickly learn to roll it around with their noses and paws. Occassionally one of those treats falls out and rewards the dogs for their efforts. Dogs love it!

    There is also a similar toy that's a ball and serves the same purpose. Get a couple different kinds and see what works best. Kongs are great toys as well. Fill it with treats and plug the hole with a large milk bone type of treat. The dogs have to get that tight bone out before they can get the treats. These interactive toys not only keep your dog interested and thinking, but provide even more exercise. I never leave a dog alone without one of those toys. Also buy nylabones and other safe chew toys so that she has lots of choices besides wood.

    Last, you may have to provide a smaller area for your dog, like a pen, one with fewer temptations. Fencing off a special area where she is allowed to dig and chew on her toys may provide a safer area for her. Chewing wood, as you know, is not safe for her. I would also make sure she is healthy by checking with your vet on this problem.

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  6. My roommate and I live in an apartment. I work most of the day, and he works at night. For the first few weeks, my new, 3 year old rescue dog was an angel. All of a sudden he is peeing and pooping in the house, barking, humping legs, grabbing our items, and bothering my roommate when he sleeps. What happened and what do I do?
    It sounds like this dog spends a lot of time alone. You'll have to change that. He needs attention and training. Taking a dog obedience class would be a good start for you and your dog. Training classes aren't just so you can teach him to sit or lay down. By working with him, you accomplish many things:

    -you build your bond with him
    -you spend quality time together
    -he learns that you are the leader (very important for good behavior)
    -he learns to trust you
    -he learns that you will take care of, and protect him
    -you get to meet other dogs for him to play with
    -you get to meet other dog owners for socializing or for support
    -his overall behavior will improve because of the time you spend together
    -he learns to understand you and what you are saying to him
    -he gets out of the apartment and gets some fresh air
    -he gets activity that will tire him out

    Your dog needs lots of time with you, exercise, and stimulation. He needs rules. He needs to play with other dogs. He needs to get fresh air. He needs training. He needs contact with you - lots of it.

    Exercise:
    Trips to the dog park. Walks. He needs as much exercise as you can give him...everyday, even if you're tired. Once you do it, you'll have a good time.

    When you are at home with your dog:
    1. Carry treats in your pocket. Catch him being good and reward him. Tell him good boy, and give him a treat. That way, he will learn what you want him to do.
    2. Put a leash on him and tie it around your waist. Reward for all good behavior.
    3. Don't leave your dog unsupervised until his behavior improves.

    If your roommate is asleep:
    1. Consider a baby gate for the doorway area.
    2. Tie your dog to your waist with leash and just hang out together.
    3. Don't leave your dog unsupervised until his behavior improves.
    4. Consider getting a crate, so he can rest while your roommate sleeps if you're gone.

    Peeing and Pooping Outside:
    1. Most dogs need to poop 2x every day, usually morning and evening.
    2. Give him ample opportunity to go. Five minutes is not long enough. Reward when he does.
    3. Exercise will stimulate him to poop. Take a walk or a run with him. Give him time to go. If you are doing the exercise and the dog park, you'll find that he's probably going to poop during those activities.

    If your dog pees or poops in the house:
    1. Do not scold or raise your voice. That will only make him more sensitive and he will continue that behavior out of fear or emotional upset.
    2. As he starts to go, pick him up and put him outside. Wait with him to finish peeing or pooping and reward him verbally and with a treat. Take him back inside (that's a reward for him, too).
    3. Clean up the area and remove the smell, or he will go back to that area and repeat behavior.

    When the dog is alone:
    1. Buy some interactive toys.There are several kinds of food cubes or food balls. Fill them with treats and only give to him when you leave him alone (except when you first get them; you might need to help him learn how to use it).

    Humping:
    1. Although it is funny, try not to laugh. Don't get mad either. Just take your dog off the person and have him sit. Reward him for sitting. If he is bouncy and continues to try to hump, put his leash on. You need to show him the correct behavior.

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