Please help-my dogs chew all the plastic they can find.....
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Author:  gjsharon [ Thu May 12, 2005 6:33 pm ]
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A Kong is the brand name for hard rubber (?) toys that you can fill with doggie treats and let the dog work to get the rewards. They also have Kong balls. They come in red or black, depending on the destructive ability of the dog. Black is the hardest.

They are great, but they don't have a lot of different styles and none of them, as far as I know, make noise. I have a puppy who likes to hear the noise in the squeaky toys, but my deaf two-year-old just completely tears them up, rendering them useless and wasting my money.

Since you mentioned bones - Howard had an organic vet on his program a few weeks ago who said cooked bones were too hard for dogs to chew on and that raw bones would help them keep their teeth longer. I have stopped giving mine cooked bones, even though they love them.

Author:  northwesterner [ Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:18 am ]
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Time has passed, and I've learned more about what works for my dog(s) and is good for them. My research project, as Howard would say, has been to figure out what keeps her from chewing everything in sight.

I have started going to Albertson's butcher to ask for beef femurs, and when I'm lucky they'll have a couple. I have them cut the femurs into three or four chunks and I freeze them until needed, which for the pit is about once a week. She loves the things and they do keep her busy. I also have been buying the pigs ears as occasional treats and she demolishes them pretty quickly.

The plastic chewing was partly the need to chew, and partly boredom. We adopted a big pup (a catahoula mix) a few weeks ago and they are going along famously. I took my pit down to the Humane Society to meet the new dog (they were all kissy-face within about 30 seconds), and from there the only problem was letting her heal from being spayed before allowing them race around the yard as they wanted.

I still plan to buy bones and pigs ears, and will have to make sure each dog starts out with her own.

I also have been practicing taking them for walks together. The pit had been walking with one of those gripper collars because she would get so excited when we met other dogs that I could hardly contain her. Now that she has a companion shoulder-to-shoulder, though she is friendly and interested in other dogs, she is a lot less urgent and needy on walks. And when I take them for a morning walk, they are much calmer during the day.


Author:  northwesterner [ Sun May 28, 2006 9:55 am ]
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Dog update on destructive behavior and the Dog Whisperer program in general:

The pitbull settled down tremendously when she gained a companion, but since her companion is a higher-energy catahoula, we didn't eliminate the problem of an annoying jumping dog, we just transferred it to a new animal. :-/

The answer, again, comes from Cesar Millan, and anyone interested in a program that just seems to keep getting better may want to watch this new season's programs. He takes more time with animals and spends more time solving the human component of the problems. His answer that worked was one I already knew, but have had to modify--more walks and more work.

I bought a backpack for the catahoula, and these days she wears it on at least one walk a day, for preferably at least 45 minutes. I have a pound of kidney beans and a pound of chick peas and a couple of small bottles of water in the pack. About 3 pounds to start, and I'm going to add another pound soon. The dog weighs between 40-45.

The additional weight makes her work harder on the walk, and I can see the difference. People come to the house and after an initial excitement due to the pleasure of seeing a new person, they settle right down to a calm, submissive state (the optimum, according to Cesar). Now what we need to discipline that initial excitement to stop the jumping on people (the answer is to discipline the people not to walk right up to pet them). But we're getting there.

In the "for what it's worth" department: I shopped around for various dog packs, and found one that seems particularly well-designed and constructed. Some of those I rejected were harder to size to these mid-sized dogs, and looked like they'd slip around the dog. I found a brand called Outward Hound that uses a "three point" system (one strap across the lower neck/chest in front, and two under the belly). They retail somewhere around $40-$50, but I've found them new on eBay and gotten them for between $15 and $20.

Last week I had the winning bid on another one for the pitbull. She was already doing pretty well with her behavior, but I think a little weight in there might be good for her also. She may not wear the pack on every walk, but she'll have it for the day we decide to get adventurous and go for a hike someplace other than in the home neighborhood.


Author:  Health Helper [ Mon May 29, 2006 11:39 am ]
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I have two Great Pyrenees that I got from the rescue society. They liked to chew everything plastic when I first got them at 6 months too. So I would buy the huge cow bones from Wells Brothers for them. The bones only lasted a week or two (they chewed them in two and destroyed them) but it seemed to satisify their chewing craving. They are over their destructive chewing stage now, but I still get them the marrow raw bones from Whole Foods or the raw dog bones from Burgundy Pasture Beef as a weekly treat to chew. I worried about what was in the rawhide too and they would go through a large rawhide in a few hours anyway. I don't know how they treat the large cow bones but they are great for large dogs with powerfully destructive jaws.

Author:  northwesterner [ Mon May 29, 2006 12:06 pm ]
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Bones are a good outlet for the chewing need, but those bone vendors sound like high-dollar answers to the chewing problem. I go to Albertson's and buy a whole beef femur soup bone and have the butcher cut it into the right sized pieces. And I don't just give them to the dogs any more, we go for a walk first and then they get them.

Giving bones is one instance where the possessive nature of the dogs kicks in (pitbull is tuned higher, but the catahoula also) so I put one dog in the kennel and one is loose in the yard. The catahoula always takes longer so she goes in the kennel. When she barks that she's ready to leave the pit comes along to see what is left and finishes it off.

Author:  Cynthia and Marie [ Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:42 pm ]
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Hi. I enjoyed all the suggestions. There are probably as many as the individual dogs out there...thank God for individuality...keeps us on our toes. Maturity does wonders for destructive behavior. Most dogs grow out of the stage in a couple of years. Others just have separation anxiety and need to be more carefully kept. An environment that sets a pup up for success...ie crate training or a large escape proof kennel area outside if you are gone for hours. If leaving for short periods...ie up to 4-6 hrs. a large crate with water and the kong toy with peanut butter inside is good. If the larger area outside try Kongs with peanut butter, the hard dog proof balls...even large empty sacks of dogfood....just somthing to explore, push and shred will give them somthing to do when you are gone. When you return and as time permits long romps and especially formal obedience work will help them to be calmer citizens.
I have had a large and varied experience with dogs over the years and found I learned much from each one. Currently my challenge is a 100 plus pound Pyrenees boy who is just over a year. Much is chalked up to tolerance as you just have to laugh when you see the big galoop hauling a trophy up onto a haystack to chew and observe his domain....he has certainly gone through his share of trash cans, traffic cones, feed sacks, blankets and the like. I trade him acceptable toys, put things up I know he is attracted to and simply pick up pieces and thank God for his lumbering, lovable prescence.

Author:  northwesterner [ Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:29 am ]
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I'm not one who is mollified by benign jocularity and a "dogs will be dogs" attitude. Destructive behavior is a problem, and continuing to let them destroy things, even if you're substituting "good" stuff for "bad" is still destructive. It does get better with age, but it gets a lot better if you work with your dogs every day. If you have a dog, especially a large or powerful breed, you have to do better than work with them "when time permits." You have to make a commitment to training, walking, and giving the dog a job to do every day--and why is your dog ABLE to bring home all of this junk? Trash cans and traffic cones? Is he out running unattended? That's frightening. If these are simply things that are loose in your yard, then you might want to think about clearing all of that out. The vet bill can get pretty high when they eat too much of the wrong kinds of junk. (I've had to reinforce the faucet cover in the back because the plain styrofoam ones are a target and get torn up. A trimmed down hardened black plastic 5-gallon nursery pot slipped over the styrofoam has done the trick).

Sorry to change the tone of this discussion, I just find the patronizing voice in the last answer to be vexing. The more I learn about dogs, the more I realize that there are a lot of people who shouldn't have dogs, or who should have to pass some kind of minimum standards of care before having them. I wouldn't have a dog if I had to keep it locked in a crate for hours a day. I wouldn't have my sized dogs (55 lbs each) if I didn't have a huge yard for them to run in. My dogs are outside dogs--they are here for general protection, based on the theory that if they make noise they're going to scare off burglars (they did scare off a prowler last winter). They have a large heated stall in the garage that has lots of hay around and dog houses with hay. They have a 1/4 acre to play in (and that seems small some days) and it is their choice to be in the stall or out in the yard. They get a long walk and I work with them every day. I put in Invisble Fence to be sure they stay in the yard, as much for their protection as the protection of others. They're friendly and well socialized, but in this day and age, letting dogs run free is an invitation to trouble.

This ISN'T meant to say that I'm doing it right and you're doing it wrong--but having weighed the issues long and hard myself, I wonder at the choices some people make when it comes to choosing the breed of dog, and I'm sorry when dogs are mismatched with owners and dogs who must spend days waiting for someone to come along and provide brief liberation. The original question came from someone similarly situated as I am--she has two high energy Australian shepherds (close relative to the catahoula) who are outside dogs. In the couple of years since this thread started, I concur with our moderator Tony M--my answer is now that she needs to take those dogs for long walks every day, needs to work with them (and absolutely check out Cesar Millan's work, if you're not familiar with it--he performs miracles as he reforms dogs and trains people--especially trains people).


Author:  Cynthia and Marie [ Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:27 pm ]
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I apologise if I stepped on any toes. I am a registered nurse in an operating room for 19 years with formal schooling and registration as a veterinary technologist. I worked as a vet tech from the time I was 18 and on into my human nursing career. I was married to a veterinarian until his death for 16 years. My pup is a livestock guardian living on 15 acres with 21 sheep and 3 horses. He runs with a half breed livestock guardian who is very serious about the work. The pup provides the muscle to back up the older dog with coyotes, bobcats, hogs and the occasional cougar. The trash cans hold water for horses...sometimes they become empty and fall over in high winds. The cones are training tools for precision in riding and sometimes to deliniate where an outbuilding or hitching post needs to be built for workmen. Currently they are up on shelves. All 4 of my dogs are altered. The companion dogs are obedience trained and were used as therapy dogs in nursing homes. My 83 year old mother lives with me and is able to navigate in and around all without difficulty. Dog toys are expensive and I buy them from time to time. Many are easily destroyed and shredded in a short time. I do not mind picking up after my dogs. A feed sack is inexpensive and provides entertainment for the same period of time. I use mostly large hard bones...sometimes with shreds of meat from the pet stores. Occasionally they get rawhide chews.....mostly they get love and attention. I don't deny that animals get into mischief but as with children there is an amount of tolerance and creativity which comes into play....and many people have to be away from their pets for more time than they prefer to afford the luxury of having them.

Author:  northwesterner [ Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:14 pm ]
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Now THAT'S a story! Interesting, and of course, had it been in the first post, would have changed dynamic entirely. As I mentioned before, my comments about people owning dogs weren't directed at any post in this thread, but spun off from it. Working dogs and dogs who are given work are, in my opinion, much happier than dogs that languish in kennels and crates. The original dogs mentioned need to be walked, and need to work harder by wearing backpacks with weight, or finding an outlet such as the agility training that has become so popular.

My dogs live and play in the back, but they are attuned to their human pack leaders. If I watch out a window where they can't see me, when they are playing or lounging they tend to glance at the house on average every 20 seconds. There is no anxiety in the glance, just running the regular dog radar. They have a view of four large back yards and across the creek to several others, so they're busy watching the world and responding when people or other animals get too close.

We also have wildlife, though the largest here are bobcats and coyotes. The predators stay away from the fence, preferring to run in the creek below the back gate, but the dogs still hear them and bark. Having two dogs does provide better protection for both of them should anyone hop the fence. My one regret is that the wildlife we used to enjoy in the yard doesn't come by much any more. The dogs have caught possums, squirrels, birds, snakes, and lizards, all things I wish they'd leave alone. I've gradually moved all habitat type areas out of the dogs' reach (piles of rocks in particular).


Author:  Tony M* [ Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:25 pm ]
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We have two livestock guardian dogs (GP's) that we got from a shelter and had all the vet work done on them. They run with our dairy goats and keep every varmit in the county away, including large overhead birds and planes. They run free in about 4 goat fenced acres. I chose to install an invisible fence because one of the dogs liked us too much. I think our attention distracted them from their job of being goats. It is hard not to interact with GP's, they are so lovable.
I have a brush pile near the back of the property where skunks and possums sometimes hide. If they leave the pile and come towards the chickens, the dogs deal with them. We've had few losses of chickens from varmits. I think the brush pile idea helps.
Tony M

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