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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16876
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
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We have a 10 month old pitbull terrier mix. When we leave

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We have a 10 month old pitbull terrier mix. When we leave him outside of his cage while we are at work, he eats, or chews on everything! Today, he tore into our bed, and ate all of the stuffing. Is there someway to train him to quit eating things, or is it just a phase?

Also, he whines very often. We will play with him for over an hour, and then we stop for a few minutes, and he begins whining. Is there some way to help with this, or is it that he wants attention?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.
Hi JaCustomer,


My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.


Dogs do chew excessively while teething but at 10 months of age, your boy should be pretty much done with teething. Providing him with lots of stimulating toys to chew on may help if this is just a case of boredom. A kong with treat compartments can be filled with peanut butter or yogurt and frozen which will keep a dog busy for hours. Dogs also get bored if all their toys are available all the time, so rotate them weekly.


Dogs experiencing separation anxiety are often destructive as well, so this might be the problem as well. There are some things that can help with separation anxiety. First thing is to take your dog for a nice long walk in the morning before you leave, preferably 30 minutes or long. Make it a long, quick paced walk to tire your boy out.


Second is to use a low-key approach to leaving the house. Ignore your dog before you leave and after you come home for at least 5 minutes or more. If your house is like mine in the morning everyone is running around getting ready to leave. This has the dog in an excited mood and then suddenly he is alone. If this is the case, put him away from everyone, say in a bathroom until the frenzy is over. Keep him guessing as to whether you are leaving or not. Pick up your keys but then don't leave, or leave without putting on your coat or keys or other things like that.


Don't punish or shout at your dog when you come home and find he's destroyed things. When you do, you increase his stress level rather than reduce it. You can prevent this behavior by crating your dog every time you leave.


Sometimes leaving a TV or radio on can help a dog with this problem as well. Also remember to not reward a dog's excitement to you with petting and affection or even eye contact. You want to show him nice calm praise when he is being calm. You can also try practicing alone time by having him spend time away from you in a crate or other area away from you for short periods of time when you are home.


These should help his separation anxiety and boredom and help curb his chewing. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family’s part to be consistent in your interaction with him.

It really is important that this behavior changes as the ingestion of foreign objects may eventually cause a bowel obstruction and you may lose him. You might also try a DAP collar or diffuser. They emit a pheromone similar to the one a mother uses to calm her nursing pups. It has been proven to help with separation anxiety. You might use the collar and training. Leave him in the house and leave for a few minutes. Come back in and if nothing has been destroyed, reward him with a tasty treat. Gradually extend the time you are gone in order for him to get a treat. You also need to vary the time gone from 2 minutes to the extended period so that he doesn't know if you will be gone a half hour or 2 minutes. This will help him learn to deal with being separated from you.



The whining seems to be something he has learned to do to get your attention. The best way to stop this behavior is to not respond to it. Instead, when he stops whining for a minute or two, then pay him attention or give him a tasty hot dog treat. He will learn quickly with positive reinforcement.



I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .

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Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.
http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Another question if you don't mind. We have a baby on the way. Not for another 8 months, but our dog does like to nibble. What are some good ways we could prepare him not to do his normal pouncing, or nibbling on the baby when the time as come?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.
Zach,


I would start on extensive obedience training now. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.


Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.


I suggest this as you want him to listen to you immediately and see you as the boss. The nibbling is likely to be what we call mouthing. It can be a show of dominance, so it does need to stop. The pouncing can be controlled with the obedience training. Just remember to reward with treats and praise. Make it more enjoyable to obey.


. Now there is a method for stubborn biters but it should be used as a last resort. You can stop mouthing and biting hard by going the opposite direction. Instead of taking your hand out of her mouth, put it further in the mouth. DO NOT do this meanly (not that you would). Do not do it quickly or shove it in too far, just move it further in enough that it makes her uncomfortable so that she pulls her mouth away from your hand. SHe will learn that putting her mouth on your hand results in the hand going further in and possibly triggering a gag reflex which she will not find pleasant. I'v found that this methods works on the most stubborn puppies.



Now to avoid problems with your baby in the future, I think you should set rules down with the dog as soon as the baby comes home. I would start teaching your dog to stay a certain distance away from the baby. You will leash your dog and if the dog gets within 3 feet of the baby, you will give the dog a short tug on the leash and a firm, low toned NO. It may take a bit of training before he realizes that he is not allowed near the baby. Once he starts stopping the required distance from the baby, start rewarding him with a tasty treat like a thin hot dog slice. At this point you will see him stopping long before he gets to the baby. It is important that you reward this behavior with both treats and praise. Once he has it down pat, you can start sometimes just using praise and sometimes treats so he doesn't know if he is getting treats or not.



At this point, you will want to teach him to move if the baby gets within 3 feet of him. So you will move the baby into his space and then using the leash move him away from the baby the required distance and give a treat. Since he already know he isn't supposed to be close to the baby, it may only take a couple of times before he sees that he needs to get up and move if the baby enters his space. Since treats are involved, they usually learn quickly. Again, treat for desired behavior. This is important because when the baby starts walking everywhere, the dog needs to move out of his way.



Most of the dogs that I have trained have learned within a few weeks but the owners worked with the dogs daily and were very consistent. Once your baby is around 3 years of age, then the baby should be able to say sit and down with a little conviction. At this point, you will start the baby giving the dog known commands to teach the dog that he has to obey the child as well.

Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16876
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.
Hi Zach Zucco,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler

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