Dog Blog

Top 5 Truths for Dogs That Chew Everything In Sight

Posted by Michelle Allen on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 @ 01:02 AM

dog chewing shoe resized 600Destructive chewing is one of the most common complaints among dog owners. It can be a frustrating problem - and an expensive one. Chewing is not bad. It is a normal and necessary activity for a dog. Chewing only becomes a problem when your dog chews things you don't want him to chew. This information is designed to help you understand why your dog is being destructive and to offer you some avenues toward a solution.

1. Your Dog Did Not Eat the Couch Because He’s Mad at You!

Your dog may chew for any number of reasons, but among them is not anger, spite, or hatred. Dogs do not act out of spite. Here are some possible reasons for your dog's demolition of your couch, floor, favorite shoes, or whatever:

  • Boredom - One of the ways dogs relieve boredom is by chewing. They will chew whatever is available to them or what they enjoy most. Think of how much fun it must be to rip the stuffing out of a couch and watch it fly all over the living room!
  • Fun - No explanation necessary…
  • Tension - Dogs, unlike people, don't keep tension bottled up. They release it, usually by chewing. If departure upsets your dog, for instance, he may chew the kitchen table leg to relieve his anxiety.
  • Lack of Exercise - All dogs need exercise and some need more than others. If your dog does not get enough exercise, he may use chewing as an outlet for his pent-up energy.
  • Poor Diet or Hunger Tension - Dogs not getting proper nutrition or who are sensitive to food additives may exhibit any number of behavior problems, like chewing.
  • Teething - When puppies lose their milk teeth (baby teeth), they need to chew on things much the way human babies do when they cut teeth. After the adult teeth are all in, when your pup is about 6 months old, they will begin to set in the jaw. At this time, puppies need to chew more than ever. If your puppy is between 6-10 months old and is left in an empty room, he will chew the walls and floor because he has to chew.

2. It is Possible That Your Dog Has Too Many Toys

If your dog has many chew toys on the floor it will be harder for him to differentiate between what's his and what's yours. It all looks like fair game to him. If, however, he has just one or two toys, it is much easier to teach him the difference. When he is better trained you may wish to add a couple more. It is also a good idea to reserve one favorite toy that your dog only gets when you are gone. It will become a special treat that will occupy more of his time than his ordinary, everyday toys.

3. Your Dog Does Not, In Fact, Know He's Done Wrong

Dogs don't have morals and don't know right from wrong. When your dog looks "guilty" he is actually saying, in dog language, that he is submissive and/or scared. He is in effect saying, "I respect you and don't want you to hurt me." Let's consider what leads up to that guilty look: You leave for work and for some reason, perhaps boredom, your dog begins to chew a shoe you forgot to put away. It feels good on his gums and the leather tastes especially nice. He flips it in the air a few times for laughs. Eventually, he loses interest and takes a nap. A few hours later you come home. Your dog is happy to see you and you him - until you find the rest of what used to be your shoe. So you yell and maybe even hit him as you show him the chewed shoe. On another day you leave for work and your dog discovers how fun it is to rip the stuffing out of the couch cushions. He has a real blast scattering that puffy white stuff all over the living room. Some time later you arrive home to find this mess and again let your dog know how unhappy you are. Notice a pattern? Your dog has. He knows that he has a great time when he chews up your things and that he has a really bad time when you come home. Your dog has not learned that chewing is bad. He has fun when he chews. What he has learned is that your homecoming is very unpleasant. So now after a great day's chewing, when he hears you drive into the driveway, he gets scared and submissive and looks "guilty.” He reacts this way because he knows he's in for it when you walk in the door, not because he knows he has done something wrong. To teach your dog not to chew something, you need to catch him in the act or before. When he so much as looks at your shoe or the couch or whatever, utter a sharp, bark-like sound and/or clap your hands to startle your dog and interrupt his actions. Then give him something else to do like chew on his own toy, come to you, or sit on command. Punishing him after the fact will do nothing more than confuse him and damage your relationship with him.

4. Your Dog May Only Chew Things When You Are Not There to Catch Him

When you are away from home or are too busy to watch your dog, confine him in a place where he can't get into trouble. For some dogs, this can be a small room. For many, this means a dog crate. When confined, your dog will be safe and will not be able to get into anything he shouldn't. When you confine him, make sure he has fresh water and a safe chew toy. A stuffed kong is great for confinement. When you come home at the end of the day it will be with the comfort of knowing that your house is in one piece and you and your dog will both be happy to see each other. If your dog has already developed a habit of chewing your things, you may need to crate him for a long time before the habit is broken. When you begin to give him more freedom, do so gradually to help prevent setbacks. If you have a puppy, plan to crate him until he is at least one year old to get through the worst of the teething periods.

It will also be helpful to your dog if you make your departure and homecoming low-key and uneventful. If you get your dog excited just before you leave, he will be more anxious about your going. The same holds true for your return. If your greeting is a very excited one, your dog will begin to get revved up around the time you usually get home. If you are late, your dog will need to do something to relieve his anxiety and pent-up energy. He will chew. Similarly, if you always feed your dog or take him out to relieve himself immediately upon arriving home, your dog will learn to get excited around the time you are due back. Get your dog used to the pattern that your homecoming means a quiet "hello" and a pat on the head, and that going out and eating have no connection with your return. Let your dog out 10-15 minutes after you arrive (with the exception of a young pup who has been confined for an extended period of time) and feed him 30 minutes to an hour after that.

5. Exercise Can be the Solution

Give your dog lots of physical and mental exercise to provide him with constructive ways to release his energy. Along with 1-2 hours of physical exercise a day; give your dog a mental workout in the form of training. Training gives your dog a job to do and you will strengthen your relationship with him by establishing clear (and fun) communication. Feed your dog a high quality, naturally formulated dog food to ensure that your dog is not being destructive because of a nutritional imbalance or sensitivity to additives in his diet. Feed adult dogs twice a day and young puppies 3-4 times. Give your dog every chance to behave his very best.

Daycare may be another good option for your dog. At a good daycare they will be active for part of the day and have nap breaks in between their play sessions. If you cannot afford daycare every day even a day or two a week can make a big difference. Note: Gemini Dogs Doggie Daycare is open every day of the year from 6:00am to 10:00pm, and pricing can be as low as $20 per day with a package plan.

By trying to understand your dog and his behavior and by following a common sense approach, you'll be well on your way to having a dog that is a joy to live with, a couch (and carpet and walls and shoes) that is intact, and a lifetime of friendship with your dog.

Topics: Puppy, Chewing, Puppies, Dog, dogs, Chewer

Doggie Quote of the Day

Posted by Michelle Allen on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 @ 01:11 PM

anatole france quote resized 600
How true...

4 Ways to Curb Your Dog's Urge to Dig

Posted by Michelle Allen on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 @ 08:00 PM

Dog Burying Toy

Has your dog ever buried his bones, or even his favorite  toys, in your backyard? Well, if he has, hopefully he doesn't make it a habit to dig them up and bring the dirty mess back in your house!

What Makes My Dog Want to Bury Stuff?

The short answer is that it's an instinct. You see, ancient dogs survived on anything that they could scavenge or hunt. If they managed to get ahold of more than they could eat in a single meal, they had to come up with a way to make sure that the excess would still be available when they became hungry again. Dogs protected their leftover food by burying it. The dirt helped keep their food fresher longer by protecting it from sunlight. In addition, the temperature in the ground was cooler than in the air, so burying food helped it to stay fresh for longer. It also protected the food from flies, and prevented other animals from stealing it. When the dog was hungry again, he would return to his hidden cache and dig up his leftovers. 

Today, dogs are given their food in portions, so they no longer need to save any for a later meal. However, many of them still have the instinct to bury "extras" in a secluded spot for later. Essentially, your dog is just following an ancestral urge. So even though you feed your dog every day, you can’t take that "save it for later" mentality out of him. The same goes for those toys, and sometimes some other household items like the TV remote.

What Can I Do About It?

So what do you do if your dog is the burying kind? If the burying urge becomes a problem for your pooch, remember that dogs tend to bury extras. Try these tips:

  • Make your dog's favorite digging spots less attractive. You could try covering the spot with chicken wire or something that is not so paw-friendly.
  • Try offering your dog a less-destructive option: Show him how he can bury his favorite toy under a blanket, or create a sandbox for his burying enjoyment.
  • Pick up most of your doggie's play things and limit your dog's access to one bone and one toy at a time.
  • Vary the type of dog bones and toys from time-to-time; this will help to keep him interested.

Limit the quantity of extras and provide some variety for your doggie, and you may just lessen his motivation to take those items out to the backyard and treat them like a buried treasure!

Topics: digging, burying

How Well Do Dogs Hear?

Posted by Michelle Allen on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 @ 07:32 PM

Gemini Dogs How Well Do Dogs Hear resized 600A dog’s sense of hearing is up to 10 times more efficient than the average human’s.

Dogs can also hear a much greater frequency range than humans can detect.

Why? Eighteen or more muscles can tilt, rotate, and raise or lower a dog’s ear.

Dogs have specialized ear shapes that allow them to ascertain where a sound comes from much faster than a human can, and to hear sounds that come from up to four times the distance that humans are able to hear. 

How Good Is a Dog's Sense of Smell?

Posted by Michelle Allen on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 @ 09:38 PM

What's that I smell?So, have you ever noticed your dog intently sniffing the air, and you're just looking at him thinking, "What the heck are you doing? There isn't anything there." We can't smell what they smell, because dogs actually have almost 50 times more cells that are sensitive to smell than us humans have! Your dog has such a superior sense of smell that he can actually detect odors up to a million times less concentrated than a human can detect.

And a rather interesting tidbit is that a dog's sense of smell is at its greatest when he is moving. Maybe that is why so many dogs love to hang their heads out of car windows...they are literally taking in the scenery with their noses! (Be aware though, that dogs who hang their heads out of car windows are at significant risk of injury from airborne debris.)

It's good to know why they like to stick their heads out there, but that doesn't mean that we have to allow them to do it. The safest place for your dog when traveling is always in a crate. But we'll get to that another time...

Topics: smell, dog senses, car window, nose, sense of smell

How Cute Is This?

Posted by Michelle Borelli on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 @ 03:14 PM

My Cookie!

That just says it all...

Home is Where the Dog Is...

Posted by Michelle Borelli on Thu, Nov 08, 2012 @ 04:03 PM

Mich & TylerFound a quote today, “In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog.”

What a great quote for this day. You see, I was attending a dog-related seminar this week, and being that it took place in a hotel that doesn't accept pets, it's a bit strange - while we are here discussing dogs all day, there aren't any dogs around!

Penny and I share our home with five dogs, and of course I always miss my own doggies when I'm away from home. (This photo here is of me and my Bichon, Tyler.) I even miss our doggie daycare pups when I don't get to see them for a while.

Sometimes, there is a surrogate doggie that I can latch onto to help fill the void. It's so nice when that happens. But it's so weird when I go away and there are just no dogs to be found! Kind of reminds me how important dogs are to my life and how happy I am just having a dog in my lap.

I honestly don't remember what it was like not having a dog in my life...and I cannot imagine living in a home in which there are no dogs. I must admit that I have always felt a little sorry for people who say that they have never "owned" a dog; they're missing so much love and so many smiles - and they don't even know it. And of course we all know that dogs own us; it's not the other way around.

Anyway, help me out a bit and give your pooch an extra snuggle from me as I make my way back to my pups!


Topics: Tyler

Photo of the Day: Don't Ask!

Posted by Michelle Borelli on Wed, Nov 07, 2012 @ 08:00 PM

Just found this photo online with a little quote beneath it:

"Don't Ask What Happened to the Rest of the Car
Unless You're Prepared to Hear the Answer..."

Rest of Car

Topics: hubcap dog

How We Can Help the Displaced Dogs in NYC

Posted by Michelle Borelli on Tue, Nov 06, 2012 @ 10:00 PM

Bodhi ~ Humane Society Rescue

Thousands of pets have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy...I am sure by now that you have seen the pictures of the horrific conditions in NYC and in New Jersey. That very well could have been us; you just never know when and where something like this will happen!

As a disaster volunteer myself, I have seen what this type of disaster can do to people emotionally, and (as you can imagine) the most important thing to most of those affected is the safety of their loved ones; including their pets.

Photos like this just bring tears to my eyes. It tugs at my heart, imagining that something like this could happen to our precious pooches. So...what do we do about it?

Well, thanks to a contact that we have with the staff of Brooklyn Bark in NYC, there are a couple of things we can do! As they told us, "Too many people evacuated during Sandy have lost their homes and are facing uncertainty. Some short term situations that become available will not necessarily be pet friendly. To give these people the flexibility they may need in rebuilding their lives, we are seeking foster homes. This need is going to be continuing as evacuees move out of shelters into temporary situations over the next few weeks." 

Gemini Dogs has already offered to assist the displaced doggies by fostering any of them who need a place to stay, and we have offered to drive down to NYC and pick them up as needed.

Brooklyn Bark is also collecting items that are needed for the animals that are currently in temporary emergency shelters, and you can help by donating the following items:

  • Any Type of Unopened Dog or Cat Food
  • Any Type of Dog or Cat Treats
  • New or Gently Used Collars, Leashes, Crates, Carriers
  • New or Gently Used Bedding or Towels
  • New Toys of Any Type

You can bring your donations to Gemini Dogs anytime, and we will drive them down to NYC, where they can be distributed to the affected animals who desperately need them. After disasters like this, it is sometimes weeks and months before the people can get back to some sense of normalcy. Our thoughts are with all of the pet owners who are still searching for their companions, and we are thankful for those who escaped Sandy's path.

Topics: disaster, pets, NYC, donations, Hurricane Sandy, dogs

Rory at the Beach!

Posted by Michelle Borelli on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 @ 07:37 PM

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to our buddy Rory who is recovering from TPLO surgery this week. Mommy sent us some pictures of him when he was up-and-about last fall, so here's to seeing him running on the beach again soon!

Rory at the Beach

"I was putting up some pics today of my boy and came across these from the beach last September. Thought I'd share a couple of them. The ones by the water: Rory thought the waves were chasing him (no, he didn't go in). The one on the deck: After a hard day at the beach chasing the seagulls, for which he did get an "A" for effort." ~Diana & Rory

Rory on the Deck