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July 19th, 2008, 12:17 PM
So, a few weeks ago we finally decided our 10 month old puppy was old enough to have the run of (part of) the house while we're out. We shut him out of two rooms where there are lots of little things to get into, but he had the run of the living room, main hallway and one bedroom. He could also get into the kitchen and dining room, but knows he's not supposed to and never does, at least while we're at home.

Everything was going well. We would usually get home and find him on the couch or in the bedroom. Nothing else was disturbed and all seemed fine.

The other day though, we got home to find that he'd gone into the dining room, where he knows he's not allowed, and chewed the hell out of a book that was on the shelf. That was the first time he'd ever chewed a book, and I was surprised he'd gone in there anyway since he will usually stop at the precise boundary of his own accord and go no further.

So yesterday when we went out, I created sort of a barrier with a few chairs. It wouldn't prevent him from going in there, but would certainly make it harder. When I got home I discovered he'd gone in there again and chewed several books, plus dragged a couple off the shelf and partially destroyed them.

So now I'm at a bit of a loss. I realized that yesterday none of his toys were accessible to him (we'd been cleaning and had picked them up and forgot to put them back down) so that might have been part of the problem.

We haven't had too many problems with him chewing stuff. When he was much younger he chewed part of a wall, which I stopped by covering it with tinfoil. And around the same time he chewed a couple of baseboards, but after a couple of stern "No!" 's he never did that again. And he once chewed a little hole in a piece of furniture, but never bothered with it again. As I say, all that happened months ago when he was teething. Also, I don't think he has much separation anxiety. We worked up to leaving him alone quite slowly and without much fuss. He typically barks once when we leave the house and that's it. And he's usually very calm when we get home.

Anyway, now I'm not sure what to do. There's no way I can take the books off the shelves or effectively prevent the dog from getting in the dining room or accessing the shelves. Besides that, there are other shelves with other books elsewhere in the house where he can get to them anyway. And if he can't get at books, there are plenty of other things he could potentially chew. What's clear is I can't leave him free in the house when no one's here.

So the question is, what to do? I could go back to putting him in his pen when we go out, but that's not a good longterm solution: he doesn't like it, and it's big and ugly and takes up a lot of space. I could kennel him if we're going out for short periods, but that wouldn't be good for longer periods. Or I could shut him in my bedroom (his favourite place to sleep) and hope he doesn't turn on my shoes. And of course I can make sure he has plenty of toys to chew. Any other ideas? Preferrably something that will help him learn not to go after my books!

July 19th, 2008, 01:28 PM
MAybe you've given too much freedom too fast. Could you create a more puppy proof room and give him access to only that area? Kitchens are often good, though with my dogs I had to get child-proof cupboard locks, make sure nothing was on the counter or shelves that were even remotely accessible.

The problem, in my experience, is that once they figure out something is fun, like chewing books, they'll keep doing it until the opportunity is taken away for quite a while and/or you go through many, many, many repetitions of re-directing them to a more appropriate activity. So , in the meantime you've got to restrict the puppy's access to save your stuff and for his own safety. Smaller areas of the house, a good sized crate, etc. are options to try out.

July 19th, 2008, 01:33 PM
There's something very tempting about paper products I think - Chase can be trusted left alone with a remote or even food on the coffee table (not that we torture him like that!)....but if you leave a book or magazine, or he even finds a receipt in the car he instantly turns into The Shredder! :shrug:

I agree with pitgrrl....try to give him less space.

July 19th, 2008, 01:52 PM
I also agree with giving him less space. If your house is hard to section off then perhaps you could set up an x-pen for him. :)

Ford Girl
July 19th, 2008, 02:08 PM
Hi! I would pen him while you have to work or when you will be out for hours, I use an X pen, works wonders, easy to take with you places like camping or in the yard if you are out there and just want to relax...and give him freedom while you just run out...small chunks of time...and they don't need full run of the house, dogs thrive of routine and boundaries, if you ask for them, they oblige, usually. :rolleyes::angel:

Dont rely 100% on barricade and chairs, things like that, reinforce it even when home if you dont want him in an area and stick to your guns, at that age, they'll try anything...:evil: :crazy: It takes time, but they learn quick if you are consistent.

Another key to your pups happiness is exercise, how much exercise does he get? Outside of the house and yard - real exercise. :) A tired dog is a good dog, especially if you give it to them in the morning, burn off the energy, just enough to take the edge off. When we get home from work our energy is low, theirs is sky high cuz they've been home all day waiting for you.

Your dogs still a pup and will be for another...oh, year and a half. :D They need to be stimulated and need a release for all that crazy puppytude! :thumbs up The level and intensity of exercise varies thru their stages, and right about now, you've got an adolescence on your hands, some pretty cool info if you research adolescence/puppy stages...sometimes its like..:lightbulb: :laughing:

Good luck, keep us posted. :goodvibes:

July 19th, 2008, 03:03 PM
It took many months and many small steps to reach the point where we started to leave him free. I guess we're going to have to back a few steps.

As for the barricade I mentioned, it wasn't intended to keep him out, exactly. I knew he could easily bypass it. I just wanted to see if it making it a little harder would stop him, especially since he knows he's not supposed to be in there. It didn't....