by starheart
(Portland, Oregon)

My one year old GP was rescued about one month ago. My husband and I work fulltime, but we have taken opposite shifts so that our GP is not alone for more than 3 or 4 hours, 4 days a week.

She is a wonderful addition to the family, but has started chewing up our books, shoes, eyeglasses, tissue boxes, UPS boxes, and window and door sills. She has complete freedom of the house and big backyard, with a doggy door. She knows that she has done something wrong, acts completely contrite when one of us comes home, but does it again the next day.

We give her walks every day, and she has a bunch of chew toys. She takes them all outside and puts them in a pile. Leaves nothing inside when she feels the urge to chew. Chews and bones and treats of any kind are buried, so that I fear buying her a Kong, she will bury that to. Help!

We have put everything we can out of reach, but the bookcases are floor to ceiling. Does she need a companion? If it is separation anxiety, how do I lessen her fear? She only started doing this about 2 weeks ago. I know that she has not been treated well by her previous owners. Any suggestions would be helpful.

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May 24, 2015
by: Donna

You have a puppy. This is what puppies do. Never punish your pup for this. Never punish your dog for anything other than to maybe ignore them for unacceptable behaviour.

Ensure puppy gets enough playtime and depending on the her age, exercise.

You must crate-train your pup so when you are not home, she must be in the crate. It's not for punishment but for her safety. The crate will become her safe place.

Here is some great information on how to crate-train:

Also use the words like 'in your house' when she goes in so when you are ready to leave and go to bed, you will say 'in your house' and she'll know to go in.

So many people think putting your dog in a crate is cruel but it isn't. It's for the safety and well-being of everyone. It really is a good thing.

May 24, 2015
re: chewing
by: Anonymous

Sounds as if you are doing all you can to help your dog. You've had her for a very short time, and it takes some dogs months to settle into a new environment. Do you know anything of her previous life? Her anxiety is evident by her need to hoard (bury) the things you've given her. You've also shown her with the chew toys that she's allowed to chew on something to relieve her tension. Interesting that she buries the things you give her, but chews the things with your scent all over them. It may help to leave the TV or a radio on while you are absent...channels with people talking. That means more to them than the sound of music. You could try a doggy day-care if one is available to you. Or, have someone you know come to stay with her while you work. Just until she settles, as her fear will only last until she does. She needs reassurance at the moment, and a fairly fixed routine so she can relax as every day is the same. Above all do not chastise her for chewing your things and don't be upset in her presence. Come into the house on your return with calm energy, acknowledge her and then go make tea. If you pay less attention the difference between you being there and not will be less. Hope this helps. Good luck with her.

Jun 08, 2015
another perspective
by: Tressie

It sounds like you are doing a lot of things correctly.

But maybe you've given her too much freedom, too soon. While it is true that Pyrs love wide-open spaces and consider the world their backyard, for a rescue - too much space too early is not necessarily a good thing. I would suggest confining her to one or at most two rooms, and give her one item to chew on, while you are away, not half a dozen. Be certain to puppy proof the area.

Given that you are providing her with many safe items to chew on and she is choosing to chew on other things does suggest anxiety. And what is anxiety about, except insecurity. Give her tons of reassurance and do not scold her, especially for something that happened more than a minute ago.

Bring out all the toys when you are going to spend time playing with her.

Crating of course as already mentioned is another option.

She is not experiencing guilt, nor does she have any concept of having done something wrong but is reacting to your mood. These are excruciatingly sensitive dogs who pick up the minutest shifts in emotional states.

Take a deep breath before you go into the house and count to ten. Keep calm, keep your voice low and calm. Being stressed by what she's done will only exacerbate her anxiety. She is after all a youngster who has at least another 2 years before you can realistically expect her to be mature.

This is a challenging time but with patience and remaining calm you'll both get through it.

Jun 14, 2015
by: starheart

She is doing much better now. We took all advice to heart and after watching her go thru more books and other items, I decided to correct her. For me the most a correction is, is saying "No!"
She has to know her boundaries. And she does. It was anxiety. But she now knows we are coming back. She knows she is home now. She sleeps at the foot of the bed, and protects us from strangers. We are now socializing her, and she is less afraid of strangers. She picked up a book yesterday when we had painters on the premises. It unnerved her. But she dropped the book and came over to me for solace instead. Thank you all for your input. I know that there will be more challenges ahead and I am glad that you are here for us. In case you didn't know, this is our first rescue.

Jul 01, 2015
by: Anonymous

Happiness is a contented fur-ball and her family!

Just would like to reassure you that teaching your young dog correct behaviour is a very important activity. Personally I don't consider that discipline...its just helping you all to live together in harmony.

Redirecting unwanted behaviour in a positive way will increase her confidence. But you must either catch her and redirect BEFORE she engages in an unwanted behaviour (not impossible-stay aware) or, give her your "no" command immediately you notice her picking up one of your things. And you seem to be doing well on that account.

It's important to remember that dogs live entirely in the moment so you have about 2 seconds between her action and your response to it for her to connect the dots. Which is why chastising her for making a mess in your absence is almost a wasted effort.

Also, when she comes to you for solace do not pet or snuggle with her. She would understand that as a reward for that behaviour (nervous anxiety). Rather, redirect by calmly giving her a command(ie: lay down), take a breath as that will calm her, then return to your activity.

These wonderful dogs are so worth the love and the effort...relax, hug and snuggle with her lots for no reason except that you love her...happy dog, happy you!

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