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I need help with chewing

August 25th, 2007, 01:33 PM
I recently became the owner of a beautiful American Bulldog, Tank. He is 9-10 months old, and despite being a puppy he is, for the most part is well behaved. Except he chews, and I mean everything. He thinks my daughters toy box is his personal stash. He gutted my daughters pillow, and when I told him no, he went into our room and tried to make off with my husbands. Shoes, pillows, nothing is safe.
I have started training and puppy proofing the house. I was just wondering if anyone had good tips with this breed. Also, it's important to note, he was heavily abused as a puppy. My vet thinks it was very possible, he was used as a bait dog and then dumped/discarded. Or he was repeatedly attacked by other dogs.
I know it's highly important to train this breed, but I just want the training to stay fun and relaxing.
Well, here is a pic of my,Tank and his battle scars . And thanks in advance for the suggestions.

August 26th, 2007, 11:03 AM
Oh my goodness, is Tank ever a cutie-pie! It would be hard to get mad at such a sweet face, that's for sure. Does he have enough of his own chew-toys? He should probably have several very durable ones that you can fill with treats, like a variety of Kongs, and rotate them so he doesn't get bored. You'll also want to employ crate-training if you haven't already. Read this website: for lots of training tips, particularly this section on destructive chewing:

Here's a quote:

You must also actively train your dog to want to chew chewtoys. Offer praise and maybe a freeze-dried liver treat every time you notice your dog chewing chewtoys. Do not take chewtoy chewing for granted. Let your dog know that you strongly approve of her newly acquired, appropriate, and acceptable hobby. Play chewtoy games with your dog, such as fetch, search, and tug-of-war.

Chewtoys should be indestructible and nonconsumable. Consumption of non-food items is decidedly dangerous for your dog's health. Also, destruction of chewtoys necessitates their regular replacement, which can be expensive. However, compared with the cost of reupholstering just one couch, $70 worth of chewtoys seems a pretty wise investment.

Kongs, Biscuit Balls, Big Kahuna footballs, and sterilized long-bones are by far the best chewtoys. They are made of natural products, are hollow, and may be stuffed with food to entice your dog to chew them exclusively. To prevent your dog from porking out, ensure that you only stuff chewtoys with part of your dog's daily diet (kibble or raw food). Firmly squish a piece of freeze-dried liver in the small hole in the Kong, fill the rest of the cavity with moistened kibble, and then put the Kongs in the freezer. Voila, Kongsicles! As the kibble thaws, some falls out easily to reinforce your dog as soon as she shows interest. Other bits of kibble come out only after your dog has worried at the Kong for several minutes, thus reinforcing your dog's chewing over time. The liver is the best part. Your dog may smell the liver, see the liver, (and maybe even talk to the liver), but she cannot get it out. And so your dog will continue to gnaw contentedly at the Kong until she falls asleep.

Until your dog is fully chewtoy-trained, do not feed her from a bowl. Instead, feed all kibble, canned food, and raw diets from chewtoys, or handfeed meals as rewards when you notice your dog is chewing a chewtoy.

August 26th, 2007, 11:56 AM
In addition to Sugarcatmom's excellent advice I would be certain to teach him the Leave It command. "No" isn't particularly meaningful to dogs period, never mind puppies. It's more realistic and meaningful to teach them to do something rather than an abstract concept like not doing something. The otehr important thing of course is to make sure he (and such a cutie-pie he is !) gets PLENTY of exercise each and every day. In that way not only is he too tired to get into mischief but he is also emotionally satisfied by the positive attention he gets from you and he is intellectually stimulated by his environment so he doesn't have to seek out badness.

August 26th, 2007, 01:21 PM
I've found that replacing a bad chewy with a good chewy pretty helpful. I've discovered he is a very smart dog. Like yesterday, my husband took my old lab outside and shut the screen door. Well he just hopped right up and hit the latch with a paw, and went outside too.
I've started to have success with training. He sat yesterday. YEA!!! So hopefully I can get his chewy thing under control.
He has many chew toys, and I think that might be part of the problem. I'm wondering if he is thinking everything is a chew toy. So I was thinking, maybe I should pick some of them up, and give him a few at a time.

August 26th, 2007, 01:42 PM
Tank is absolutely adorable. :lovestruck: Sorry to hear of his previous history :sad: ....some people are dispicable. :mad:

The "leave it" command is one of the best things you can teach him. When he takes something he's not supposed to tell him "no - leave it" and replace it with one of his toys. I also think he would benefit alot by going to obedience class. :pawprint:

August 26th, 2007, 10:11 PM
you could try spraying things he likes to chew on with products like bitter apple or bitter lime. You can also try the keep him conected to you with a leash and correct him any time he starts to stray. amber

August 27th, 2007, 07:28 AM
Well Baxter and Bentley are the 3rd and 4th puppies I've had and chewing has always been a fact of puppy life. Freddie liked the drywall in the kitchen, Yogi preferred the chair leg and tearing the insoles out of shoes, and Baxter and Bentley like the chair legs, but have found the parquet floor in the living room even better :laughing: I spray with bitter apple every couple of days, and it works. I make sure they have lots of stuff to chew, I have old sneakers that they can gnaw on, I have a couple of those big boxes from Costco that I used to tote my stuff home in, they love to gnaw on those. Just have to clean up all the cardboard bits from around, make sure they're not eating the cardboard, just tearing the box apart. Bullie sticks are great, I give them those to gnaw on after they've eaten so they don't run around too much with full bellies. They each have a cuz to chew on and of course the occasional pig ear and chicken strips for treats.


August 27th, 2007, 07:28 PM
get two very different scents of essential oils ( prefferably vanillia and peppermint- which dogs generally dont like the taste of) and put a drop of vanilla scent on anything he can chew and a drop of peppermint on any he cant chew(but will go after) and for the first bit you might have to correct him when he chews on the wrong thing( even if it has pepeprmint oil on it)untill he associates the smell of vanillia with what he can chew and the smel or peppermint with what h cant chew. along with having a dog that wont chew the wrong things, your house will smell nice. haha :) hope this helps!

August 27th, 2007, 07:30 PM
by the way he is a gorgeous puppy!!!

August 28th, 2007, 01:31 AM
Thanks Allymack, great suggestion. I'll have to try that too. I have enrolled him into an obedience class, so I know that will help. I also got bitter apple the other day, and that worked very well. Tank, has finally got the hang of a leash, so now I have a running buddy. Nothing like a good 3 mile jog in the afternoon to wear him out. He is really starting to come around. Anyways, thanks for the help. The chewing is starting to get under control. Now I need to concentrate on getting him socialized, because he has a lot of catching up to do.