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Question
Posted by: Jody's Mommy | 2006/03/31

WHAT DO I DO WITH MY BULLDOG?

Jody moved in with us when he was 10 weeks old.
He is a gorgeous animal - thoroughbred with the cutest face imaginable.
He is 6 months old and destroys everything... He sleeps in his own room, adjacent to the house but with the door open. I would however prefer him to be a domesticated pet but when he start chewing my Persian Carpets, my antique furniture, my brand new kitchen utensils, etc. there's only one way and that's right out of the back door.
He receives a lot of attention, goes for an occasional walk, have stacks of toys - yet, whenever he really gets out of hand, and I put him outside, he makes use of the moment either ignoring us or getting hold of a doormat and chewing it to pieces.
His bedding... needs to be replaced once again.
Am I just too harsh with the 'young man' or is he trying to be the dominant figure in and around the house?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi there

He is being a normal pup, but you can adjust it to suit you. He needs walks everyday. Dogs bestroy things for various reasons. Loniliness, boredom, frustration. You need to stimulate his brain. Leaving toys out for him 24/7 is not a solution. They get bored with the same old toys day in and day out. You need to alternate the toys, walk everyday, etc. Contact me on candice.dv@absamail.co.za if you need any further info.

Some info on destructiveness and digging:

Good luck

Regards
CDV

ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT

Excessive digging, barking and chewing in dogs are often the result of an under stimulating environment in which the dog experiences boredom and frustration. All of these behaviours are part of the normal behavioural repertoire of dogs - sometimes however, it becomes excessive and is no longer acceptable. There are measures that can be taken to prevent normal behaviour from becoming problem behaviour and also to deal with a problem that already exists. Anxiety often also plays a role in problem behaviour and will then require additional measures such as behaviour modification and medication. This would necessitate a consultation with a professional behaviour practitioner.

Oral stimulation
Chewing is a basic need of dogs. Provide a variety of toys - rawhide chews, cow hooves, Kongs, Buster cubes, Pedigree toys (quadra toy, saturn ring, kinked ring, frameball), squeaky toys, rope toys. Always consider the quality and safety of a toy - rope toys must be removed before they become too stringy and the dog could ingest the individual strings.

Rotate toys on an unpredictable basis so that they retain their value to the dog. Ensure that kid’s toys and dog’s toys are kept separate (and keep socks and underwear out of the way!). Make dog toys really attractive with peanut butter or cheese spread. Don’t even give old shoes to chew on - they simply learn that all shoes are chew toys.

Visual stimulation
Enable the dog to see human and other activity - a good view through palisade fencing is more interesting than walls all round. Visual access to activity within the home is also stimulating. An easily bored dog between four walls would really appreciate a jungle gym on which to climb in order to survey the happenings outside!

Olfactory (smell) stimulation
Dogs enjoy exploring smells far more than we can imagine. The easiest way to provide this is the traditional daily walk. This enables the dog to pick up all the smells left by other living beings. You could even hid interesting-smelling objects in your garden to keep your dog’s olfactory needs stimulated.

Physical stimulation
Dogs have lots of energy to use up - it’s up to you to channel this in a positive direction! Play games with your dog, but don’t allow rough play and don’t allow mouthing of human body parts - play with a toy. Some dogs have more energy than their owners and need to be allowed to run off lead. Do this only in a very safe environment and once you are very sure that your dog’s respond to the recall is consistent.

Digging
Many dogs dig because they are genetically programmed to do so. Dogs also often dig for thermal regulation - in the heat the soil provides a cooling effect and in the cold it warms them up. Consider providing an attractive sandpit. Make other areas inaccessible with thorny branches, aluminium foil, citronella oil or temporary fencing until the dog has become conditioned to digging only in the designated area.


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.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2006/04/01

1. All puppies chew stuff.
2. Raising a puppy is HARD WORK.

Bearing the above in mind, here's what you do.

1. Remove from his environment, temporarily, everything he isn't allowed to chew.
2. Supervise him actively whenever he's around something he absolutely must not chew, and be prepared to intervene equally actively every time he considers having a go.
3. Provide LOTS of distractions - ie, stuff he CAN chew, and here are some ideas to start you off:
- Cow hooves. Lots, not only one. Occasionally smear some peanut butter or cheap liver paste into a few, and also shove a dogbiscuit in (ovals are good for this) and glue it down with peanut butter. Takes ages to get it out. 'Refresh' the hooves now and then by soaking them in water for a few hours... improves the flavour!
- Order a cow's thighbone from the butcher (P&P butcheries will do this for you if you ask nicely) and have it cut in half. Freeze one half, and give him the other. It's HUGE and irresistible and will keep him interested for weeks.
- Make a whole lot of rags out of scrap material, and tie big complicated tight knots in each piece. Play with him often with one or more of them... tug of war, fetch, hide the rag - make it fun. Encourage him to destroy those and make sure he has enough stashed around that he always has the option of chewing one of those. Old t-shirts are perfect for this - the cotton doesn't come apart in any way that could harm him (which could happen with some synthetic fabrics). Denim, if you have some old jeans lying around, is also very suitable.
4. When you aren't around, don't let him be where he can cause damage. This takes a bit of care and planning on your part... and it's different from what you are doing at the moment, which seems to be to first let him get 'out of hand' and then banish him. This will cause negative associations.
5. Make sure he knows exactly what 'NO!' means. Say it every time he does something wrong... not 'no, no, no, no' all the time, but a firm, direct, unambiguous 'NO!'. Make certain you enforce it every single time - if you absolutely cannot drop what you are doing, then rather don't give the command at all.

As I said - it's hard work. But he will learn, and it's worth it!

Reply to Chill
Posted by: SallyA | 2006/03/31

Hi.,
Bulldogs are very strong charactered dogs., i would suggest take him to doggy training. 6months is young, and at that age all dogs will chew things! You just need to discipline him,. not by smacking but by teaching him what he can and cant do.,

Reply to SallyA

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