Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Need doggie advice!

**Update: Eric did not freak out like I thought he would. Whew. We brainstormed instead of him getting mad. Love this man. Our best guess is that she needs more exercise. She'll be getting extra walks from now on. Let's hope that works! ;-)**

Ugh. My most beloved dog, Ki-ki, has a new talent. This super strong Akita-Husky has taken to chewing up our fence! I'm not talking about chewing the edges of the fence. I'm talking 2X3 foot HOLES in the fence! She did this in a period of an hour today. She literally rips the 2X4s out of their nails and breaks them in half!

It's not because she's distressed for being outside. She could bark at any time and we would let her in. We were home! This has just become a new hobby of hers. It's not for lack of anything good to chew on. She is currently the owner of two new huge ham bones plus a 3 foot long cow leg bone (with meat and gristle and all that stuff dogs love), plus she gets 2-3 raw hides every evening as a snack.

I don't know what to do. The first big hole I covered and then told my (legally blind) husband. He went ballistic, and he couldn't really see that one! This one, I don't even know how to cover as it's higher up in the fence. Plus, I can't hide this from Eric (ethically). A destructive dog is his nemesis. I'm afraid he's going to tell me we have to give her to a country home. And I don't want to lose my dog!

I hate the thought of tieing her up, and would probably go ahead and rehome her before I did that, as I really think that is bordering on inhumane for a dog like her (who really has that sort of "wild" dog still inside of her).

Anybody have any sage advice? Ugh. I'm just sick at what Eric is going to say. I know we can't just let her continue to eat our fence though! We just replaced this fence less than 2 years ago and it is basically ruined because of her. But oh I love her still. =-(


shelly 5:17 PM  

try a wire fence....or going around the wood fence with some low price wire or pen type fencingon the inside

Venegas Family 7:26 PM  

A dog run in the yard made of chain link? She could be in this when you aren't home or aren't able to be outside keeping an eye on her. Sounds like pure boredom on her part and maybe a little vindictive?? Did she not get her way today? Jealousy?? Might get some ideas from the vet too.

noranott 9:13 PM  

How much are you walking her? I don't have much dog experience, but I like to watch that show, "It's Me or the Dog", and it seems like this is the first question the trainer always asks. Is it possible that the destructive behavior is related to being bored?

Heather 9:47 PM  

I'd say you're right on target. Dogs are *usually* destructive when they're bored/have pent up energy. I'd suggest some daily play time where the kids play tug of war with her, daily walks or runs at a dog park.

My other thought would be, have you changed your routine? Since it's "Christmas break" have things changed and left her feeling left out?

Last, if she does keep chewing, I'd suggest mixing peanut butter and red pepper flakes (the really hot stuff) together and placing it where she's most likely to chew. After a few bites of that, she want want to go further.

A. Gillispie 9:52 PM  

Thanks all.

Heather, I was hoping you'd weight in as my resident friend dog-lover!

When we go out of town our neighbor feeds her and comes over to play, but she is basically alone for a few days. Has been that way her whole life though. This December we were actually home more than usual. Can't think of any other ways our life has changed, except that she lost her best playmate when our pup Scarlett died. =-( She refuses to play with pipsqueak Lucy! Maybe she is just really missing that physical play she had with another big dog.

I play as rough as I can with her each evening, but the kids can't really do that. We don't do any sort of tug of war because she could get the idea quick that she is above the kids in the chain of command (she would be stronger than them).

We'll step up the walking, and hopefully have a new playmate for her soon. I wish she had a favorite place to dig/eat the fence but any part is fair game!

whenpigsfly 9:56 PM  

Often animals chew out of boredom. Do the kids play with the dog very much? My gut response is to include her in more play time/ interaction time and make some extra walking on a leash socialization as well. Good luck girlfriend!!! Hope your problem is easily remedied without a re-homing!

Heather 10:46 PM  

I'd lay my money on her not having her playmate anymore, so she's bored and lonely. Our two youngest dogs NEED time to play with their "siblings" in order to get the wildness out of their systems. And she probably won't play with Lucy because she's so small and she knows she'll hurt her. Dogs are much smarter than people give them credit for. All of our big dogs know that they can tease the cats and nudge them with their noses to play, but anything rough is out of the question. They KNOW and not because we've worked with them on that.

Jennifer Hurd 10:11 PM  

Huskeys in general are escape artists. They're a bit wild still. Akitas are similar to huskeys in nature I guess. Boredom, yes big issue with destruction. My own dog spent a lot of his free time opening and destroying our delivered Christmas gifts. I have overlayed wire on the inside of my fence. There is also electric fences, no matter your opinion of them, they're better than your dog roaming free and getting hit by a car. Getting a playmate also another option.
That's this vet's opinion. Got on your blog because I am interested in adopting a child from Africa. Looking at Lesotho. Was going to Ethiopia but with the unrest in Somalia starting up I'm becoming less comfortable with that.

A. Gillispie 10:32 PM  

Thanks for your comment Jennifer! Yes, she is quite the escape artist! You should see all of the bricks stacked against the inside of our fence! This new "hobby" seems to be more about destruction than escape. She's never been destructive before.

The kids walked and walked and walked her today. By the end she was pooped out! No energy to chew wood! Her new playmate is currently growing big and strong with his mama. We expect him in late January.

Good luck with your journey towards an adoption in Africa! Have you considered Uganda? Seems like a really neat program. Of course, I'm partial to Ghana. =-)