In presence item chewing!!

Posted by NiniRunCrazy
Dec 27, 2007
I have a Australian shep/border collie/ healer mix that seems to have a mouth fetish. When he's by himself he entertains himself with his toys and he is also kennel trained, so he usually puts himself in his kennel until we get home. However, when we get home he turns into something different. We play with him, exercise him, feed him, and everything. Even after all of this he will grab anything he can and chew it while in our presence. We've tried bitters, muzzles, the tsst, whistle, we've also associated hot sauce in his mouth after we catch him. I just don't get it. we play with him over 6 hours a day and still he chews. Please any suggestions would be great!!!!
Posted by Todd
Dec 30, 2007
Hi there

Thank you for question regarding your chewing dog.
I think at least part of the problem may be attention seeking. From the sounds of it he is a very well mannered and trained dog most of the time.
What i would recommend you do is look at other ways to stimulate him when you are there. This may be taking him for a run (as you will be well aware of these dogs have a heap of energy) or starting agility training with him. This will give him the attention as well as excercise. Interestinlgy many dogs with this sort of problem can be corrected with more exercise, but with him i don't think this is the problem
When you do arrive home i suggest ignoring him for the first 20 minutes. This will help teach him that you arriving back is not a big deal.
After this you can start to play with him. All the time he should be able to be controlled. If he is getting too out of hand and won't listen to any of your commands you should stop playing. This will teach him that you will play with him when he is a bit more relaxed and attentative.

When he starts to chew on something he shouldn't make him sit. If he doesn't respond reprimand him with a growl or an AHHHHH and give the command again. If he still does not respond wet him with the hose or leave him alone, he should lose interest in the item quickly. But don't try this if he is chewing something very expensive or dangerous. If he does stop and sit remove the object from his mouth and give him a chew toy. Encourage him to chew the right things.
When he starts using it praise him and pet him. The more he is encouraged to chew his toys the more likely he is to continue.
If he won't release the object he is chewing, ignore him and start playing with one of his chew toys. He will quickly realise that is a far more fun game.
At no point chase him or try and wrestle things off him. This will only encourage him into playing this "game" more.

Be patient and try as many toys as possible. By reinforcing the right things to chew on and ignoring him at the right times i am sure you will have some success. Good luck and please let me know how you go.

Kind regards
Todd Field