Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Cands, nice to hear from you. OK, what is happening here is that because you do love them so very much, you are not acting in a manner that the dogs understand, and that is as a pack leader. You are, inadvertantly, giving them too much love and attention and just as children will do, they are taking advantage of this - why not, it works! When we bring dogs into our lives we actually create a human/canine pack, and a thing that is of paramount importance to a dog is pack hierarchy. There HAS to be a natural leader and that should always be the humans. Not to have a natural leader leads to insecurity for the dogs and they will try to take over and become the 'leaders' in the pack themselves, often with behaviour like above and worse. Many of us believe that one dog or another is 'top dog / alpha dog' and this is where we get it wrong - the humans, because we supply all the dogs resources and needs are and should be the pack leaders.
Once your dogs realize that you are taking charge, their behaviour will start to improve. If you think about it, in every aspect of our society there are basic rules, whether it be the one's put in place by parents, schools, work environment etc and exactly the same applies in the animal kingdom. Different members of the pack do different 'jobs' whether it is hunting, looking after the pups or whatever. There are the natural pack leaders that look after and do their best for their pack and this is what both you and your husband need to do.
To try and tackle the bed problem at this stage is useless, as the dogs will simply not listen to you . What you need to do is to start bringing in simple House Rules, and in your case, in sections and then you will be able to tackle the bed problem.
1. When arriving home, totally ignore the dogs. Do not talk to them, look at them or interact in any way. Stand still, fold you arms and look away. This, in dog language, means 'I am not interested in your behaviour'. When the dog stops (and it will) and walks away or sits down, call the dog, ask for a sit and then give all the love you want too. You are saying - I am in charge. You need to do this each and every time you arrive home and so does your husband. Not to be consistent will totally confuse the dogs and make the behaviour worse.
2. Attention is given on your terms or not at all! this one is really hard, but is based on the above and very effective and does not mean you love the dogs less, rather that as pack leaders you decided as to when attention will be given - just like kids! If the dog comes and jumps on your lap, for example, dont talk to it, look at it, or interact with it. Simple gently pick it up and put it back on the floor. The odds are that dog will jump up again, and again. Just keep on with this behaviour of ignoring and placing on the floor and the dog will give up. As above, when it has walked away, give it a few mintutes to absorb the changes, then call dog back and by all means 'invite' it to come back. As the dog gets used to this, you can extend the time. The same applies is dog sits on your foot, brings a toy to you etc.
3. Use management and spray all items the dogs are chewing with pure Citronella oil. On average this works with most dogs, but some may need a stronger adversive, and if it doesnt work let me know and I will tell you what to use. You will have to keep on re-applying for a while. If you catch the dog chewing, dont shout, look at the dog etc (you are then just giving attention), pick the dog up and put it out the door. Leave it there for 30 seconds, then bring it back in - no interaction. If dog does the chewing again, repeat.
4. With the toys, the golden rule is 2 dogs, at least 3 chew items.There is then always a spare chew toy. Also try and give to the dogs separately.
5. Get the dogs out daily for walks. this will release the stress/tension and frustration and give them something else to think about.
When all the above are in place and the dogs behaviour has improved, then I can give you more tools to work with the bed situation and the rest.
If you are experiencing problems with any of this, please feel free to contact me. Thanks Scotty
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.