Posted by: Worried | 2008-11-08

Behaviour changes

Hi, I' ve got the sweetest boston terrier, his 1 and a half years old now. Lately his behaviour has changed a lot, he' s always like chewing so I always have hooves and pig ears and other chewy toys around for him. He never chewed my things, but lately his chewing everything! my shoes, al his toys are in shreds, his bed is only a pile of cotton now, anything he can get to he chews, I first thought it was him not getting enough attention or because his frustrated. I' m a final year engineering student and had a rough couple of months, wasn' t home much, things calmed down now so I started walking with him aswell as throwing the ball for him more often - he loves this. This hasn' t helped at all

He also suddenly started urinating in the house again, which is just so unlike him, he doesn' t sleep through the night anymore, constantly waking me. Can all this changes be due to something that is wrong? or is he just being naughty? I can' t help but feel he must be frustrated. There has been a lot of break inns lately, burglars getting into my yard and then stealing from other houses in my complex (my house is next to the wall of the estate) might this have caused him distress?

he seems happy when he chews, but I' m afraid his going to start hurting himself, some of the stuff he chews is hard, might hurt his teeth, and if he swallows something sharp! he also loves chewing papers and yoghurt containers (picks them out of the dustbin)

Any advice will help, don' t know how to handle his new obsessions? I must probably add he is very agitated by being left behind, an escape artist at the door, doing anything possible, even hurting himself getting through a gate so that he can also get into the car and come with me when I have to go to campus or where ever, but I' m home more these days, though constantly working on my projects, does he need even more attention?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Worried

Consider having him neutered and take a urine sample to your vet to rule out crystals/infection. If you are not home much you can't expect to have a well behaved dog.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Mandi | 2008-11-09

Hi Worried,

Try getting a Kong (or a cheaper imitation) from your local pet store. Fill it with canned food and broken Beeno' s, freeze it over-night and give it to him in the morning. It will keep him busy for a while and he gets to chew something.

Reply to Mandi
Posted by: Worried | 2008-11-09

Thank you for all your advice, I really appreciate it. I have taken him for training and do repeat the exercises as often as possible. My sister lives nearby and she also has a boston, we often let them play together, at least 3 times a week. He is not only confined to my house, he can also get into the yard which is quite spacious. I wouldn' t have gotten a dog if I didn' t think I could look after him appropriately  ) just wanted to make that clear, I really love animals so will never do something deliberately to make them unhappy.

I' ll start by extending our walks, and it' s a good idea to do it in the morning, we usually go in the evening so maybe it' ll help. I' ve got a lot of toys for him that I routinely change, but maybe its a good idea to get something new that he hasn' t seen before. Hopefully he wont feel as frustrated anymore...I' ll see what other ideas I can get up with to help with the boredom

Reply to Worried
Posted by: WR | 2008-11-08

I strongly suggest you read Cecar Milan' s - Cecar' s Way.

Take him for daily brisk walks or jogs (at LEAST 30 minutes) - if you do it in the mornings first thing - he should be a lot calmer throughout the day.
Make sure you pack away any ' chewables'  - except toys he is allowed.
Where are you situated?
Training need not be expensive - I know of a club in Pta that only charges R50 a month.
Good luck - patience and consistancy is the key.
Ignore the negative and praise/ reward the positive.

Reply to WR
Posted by: Chill | 2008-11-08

I would say he' s seriously bored - dogs are social animals and locking him up all alone for prolonged periods is likely to result in exactly the kind of behaviour you' re having to deal with.

In addition, once he' s discovered new ' toys'  and games, he won' t see any reason why he should give those up!

Can' t someone maybe look after him for you during the day?

It' s not really fair to keep a solitary dog, confined to your house for long stretches - and I would hesitate to recommend that you get him a friend, until such time as you can devote enough attention to them.

Whatever you decide, don' t wait too long - once bad habits become entrenched, dogs become difficult to live with or even rehome.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Carol | 2008-11-08

Have you done any training with him ??? im wondering if it wouldnt help?

Boredom is also a factor here ...

Reply to Carol

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