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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 21 May 2003 Issue

WHAT JILL KNOWS

Dog Chewing Up Guardians' Belongings

Dear Jill,

I adopted Kammie from a woman who didn't want her anymore. She's a pit bull terrier mix, female, about 1 -2 years old and really, really sweet. We had her spayed. She's good with kids, other dogs, even cats. Our problem is that she chews up everything in sight. We have to go to work from 8-4 or 5 p.m. and while we are out Kammie chews the TV remote, bedspreads, window blinds, plastic dog bowls, plastic trash cans, computer cords, cats toys, buttons off our clothes.... You name it, she'll destroy it! We just can't afford to replace our belongings any more. What can we do? Please help or we'll have to bring her to the shelter. Thanks,

Barbara

Dear Barbara,

First of all, Kammie needs to be crate-trained. Please consult your local pet supply store for the correct size and type of crate appropriate for your dog. You can purchase crates and companion animal supplies online through various pet supply catalog companies for less than at your local pet store. Kammie needs to be properly crate-trained so that while you are not home to supervise her she can be a perfect little angel.

It sounds as though Kammie may have separation anxiety, which is quite common in rehomed dogs. Kammie may have a tremendous amount of anxiety that she cannot handle on her own. She may fear being abandoned, that you will never come home again. Or, she may be bored, and/or she may simply need to chew a lot. She may be chewing to relieve her anxiety. Please don't be mad at poor Kammie, she just needs you to help her through this.

I prefer the heavy-duty plastic crate/carriers for dogs with separation anxiety because they have less metal bars to bend and hurt themselves on. I recommend extra-strong dog toys to chew on, like the black "Kong" toys. Use a butter knife to smear a tablespoon or two of peanut butter inside the hole of the Kong toy in the morning, to give Kammie something to do all day in her crate. Leave her with a few interesting toys made for heavy chewers, so she has some variety in her chew-toys.

With crate training and tons of positive reinforcement, if Kammie still suffers from anxiety, please bring her to your vet. There are drug therapies that can significantly help Kammie.

I wish you and Kammie the best of luck. For best results, remember to practice patience, persistence and lots of love in all you do with your companion animal!

Love and paw pats,
Jillouise Breslauer
Companion Animal Behavior Consultant
What Jill Knows, Copyright 2002
e-mail: PetBehaveConsult@aol.com  

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