chewing/stealing/cat chasing- bored dogs?

Posted by djbobetsky
Feb 24, 2008
We have 4 rescue dogs(one is a foster) and they are all chewers now. Two of them seem to have learned this from the other two. They chew anything in sight, and love to shred paper, and hard plastic. I've lost count as to how many tv remotes we've gone thru. Every dog toy we have bought has been shredded. I cant get any of them to chew on the hard rubber/non destructible toys, and it's nearly impossible to keep everything up and out of the way. Anything left on the floor or within their reach is fair game. This is not only frustrating, but dangerous. I have had to do the heimlich on my golden/sheppard mix because she got a part of my kids toy lodged in her airway. That was a very scarey situation.
Besides chewing, they love to steal socks, slippers and gloves and bring them to the back yard. They have a doggie door, so frequently bring things outside.
And then there is the persistent cat chasing. All but one of my cats, who they leave alone, are confined to one room in the house. They have a pet door in the window of that room to get in and out. I cant figure out why those cats are chased, and my old cat isnt, but am thinking it may be because the other cats run, so this makes it a chase game to the dogs. Also, two of the dogs didnt initially chase the cats, until they saw the other two.
Are my dogs bored? I walk them every morning but only for about 10 minutes. They have a fenced back yard where they play frequently.
Sorry about the length of this post, but thanks for reading.
Posted by jlynn9573
Feb 26, 2008
Sounds to me like that's exactly what you have. Amber, my 1 year old lab mix steals things from the house and takes them out the doggy door as well. Then she chews them to smithereens. She only seems to do it when I haven't been giving her enough attention or enough exercise. Depending on their breed, they could need up to an hour of exercise a day or more to be content. I would recommend looking up the breeds of your dogs and seeing what is a good recommended time for exercise per day. Make sure you spend some time in the evenings playing fetch or other games with them if you cannot walk them again in the evenings. Hopefully this will help fix your chewing problem. As for chasing the cats, that's out of my league, but maybe someone else can help you.
Posted by Blue
Feb 26, 2008
It definitely sounds like boredom - destructive behaviour is often indicative of boredom.

A 10 minute walk is good for perhaps a shit-zsu sized breed, but not larger breed dogs, your dogs should be getting at least a total of an hour of exercise each per day (especially if they are medium sized or larger) - backyards are okay for some of that, but they need the mental stimulation of new environments to really "work" their mind and body.

I would recommend taking each dog aside for some one on one obedience training. Often it's not even physical exercise that's lacking, but mental stimulation. By doing some one on one obedience training with the dogs for around 15 min each at least once if not twice a day, the dogs will be challenged to think and focus on a "job".

Most dog breeds were created to "work". Without mental stimulation, they will try to find anything to keep their mind busy - destructive behaviour does that, tearing paper up into systematically sized little pieces, carrying things through the house, playing steal the shoe and chasing cats - even when the cats are members of the household.

Before even thinking of trying to get the dogs to behave around the cats, your obedience training needs to be worked on so that the dogs have at least a reliable sit-stay, down-stay and recall.

Predator prey instincts are the hardest to reduce in a dog, but even harder without tiring the dog out and keeping it up to date on its obedience.

Hope this helps! I'm pretty sure someone else posted about their dog chasing a cat, I will try and find the link for you.

Posted by Blue
Feb 26, 2008
Cat Chasing Link: