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Question
Posted by: Laura | 2012/02/22

Boston eating his blanket

My four year old Boston Terrier eats the stuffing of his duvet. Usually it passes right through but recently some of it got stuck and he had to go for a very painful and expensive operation to get it removed.
Is there a psychological reason for him eating his blanket or is it just an unfortunate habit? I have two other dogs, so he is not alone when we are at work.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Laura, if the dog has been doing this since a pup it may be some sort of comfort seeking behaviour, especially if you got him from a pet shop, shelter, back yard breeder where the dog was taken away from mother too young.
If the behaviour has started recently it could be due to stress of some kind. We dont realize, as humans, how much our own stress affects our dogs. It could have been started due to new neighbours, visitors, changes in the home, illness in the home, change in routines etc.
What this needs to be seen as, if a cry for help, if a recent behaviour. Although he has company of other dogs, it is vital that dogs receive additional stimulation by way of walks, mental stimulation by way of games, varied chew toys, and human socialization - you are part of the combined human/canine pack.
From a management point of view, I would suggest both leaving the door of the room closed and also to sprinkle pure citronella oil on it. Dogs, on average, do not like the scent of this and will avoid it. At the same time, supply him with a nice chew toy in which you have smeared in a little peanut butter and some bits of biltong.
Thanks Scotty

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: scotty | 2012/03/08

Hi Lesley, funny enough not uncommon in pet shop dogs, I really feel that is is a form of security and his getting stuck into his sisters sound a bit of a hierarchy play from him. what you are doing is correct, but if you can catch the behaviour BEFORE he actually gets stuck in, it will help more. also do consider learning how to do the basic TTouch. this really does help dogs to relax more and makes a big difference.
would also suggest you look at ways of building his confidence, such as walks to new locations and encourage him to jump over, go through objects etc, bit like agility. Also, bringing in basic House Rules to show him that you are a compassionate, caring pack leader can also lower the stress. I cant put a website address here as am replying on site, not through my own link, but do have a look at my info and visit the site and read the article in the Dog Stuff section called House Rules and you will see what I mean (all free). Really nice for you to share your own experiences, thanks!

Reply to scotty
Posted by: Lesley | 2012/03/08

Hi Laura. My 4 year old Dachshund does the same and has always done it. He destroys his and his sister''s beds and blankets, even though he has a great collection of other toys to choose from. The blanket and bed thing seems to be a comfort thing. He also carries his blankie around the the house from room to room and then sits on it and chews. He goes into a trance. He will also do this right before I make his dinner. Seems to be habit/ritual. He is a pet shop dog. I try to break the ritual/interrupt him when I know he is likely to do it or hand him his chew bone instead. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Reply to Lesley
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2012/02/23

Hi Laura, if the dog has been doing this since a pup it may be some sort of comfort seeking behaviour, especially if you got him from a pet shop, shelter, back yard breeder where the dog was taken away from mother too young.
If the behaviour has started recently it could be due to stress of some kind. We dont realize, as humans, how much our own stress affects our dogs. It could have been started due to new neighbours, visitors, changes in the home, illness in the home, change in routines etc.
What this needs to be seen as, if a cry for help, if a recent behaviour. Although he has company of other dogs, it is vital that dogs receive additional stimulation by way of walks, mental stimulation by way of games, varied chew toys, and human socialization - you are part of the combined human/canine pack.
From a management point of view, I would suggest both leaving the door of the room closed and also to sprinkle pure citronella oil on it. Dogs, on average, do not like the scent of this and will avoid it. At the same time, supply him with a nice chew toy in which you have smeared in a little peanut butter and some bits of biltong.
Thanks Scotty

Reply to Dog Behaviour Expert

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