Hi everyone, this is my first post on dogforum
. Hopefully I can get some much needed advice!
I have two males dogs, both rescues: a 3 year old 25-30 lb pug/pom/toy fox/pointer mix and a 7 month old ACD/Staffordshire (40ish lbs). I love them both immensely but am having trouble with the puppy. He was suppose to be a foster but I fell in love and couldn't say goodbye. With my 3 yr old, he was rescued from a bad situation, so even though he was a typical puppy in regards to chewing, nipping, etc, he was afraid of mostly everything and therefore never caused much trouble.
My 7 month old doesn't know fear. When I first got him, I let him have free range of most of the downstairs area of the house when I went to work. I'd block off the stairs using a makeshift gate. The boys have more toys than most children, a bunch of nylabones and other chew toys, interactive toys, I'd stuff several kongs to keep them busy, etc etc. My reasoning was: my older dog is not a problem anywhere in the house, and this puppy is only about 8 weeks, he'll be sleeping most of the day. I was wrong. I'd come home to find the puppy had chewed the trim around the doorways, had used his crate to get on top of the kitchen counters and eat any fruit left on them. He'd somehow knock down the makeshift gate on the stairs and climb up. He learned to jump up on the garbage can to get it to open and would pull out garbage. He would tear up his bed. The list goes on. I ended up keeping them confined to the kitchen. I got "real" pet gates put up, put a weight on the top of my garbage can to keep him out, moved his crate away from the counters so he couldn't jump on it. I went with him to puppy kindergarten. For a while afterward, everything was pretty good. I no longer feared what mess I would walk into after work. I had hoped he was leaving that puppy phase but things have regressed in the past few weeks. My cat has an automatic litter box in the kitchen that all of a sudden the puppy has interest in. I'd come home to litter all over the floor and the cardboard pan torn up (they aren't cheap to replace). He also has learned to jump over the pet gates (something I didn't know he could do until I came home from work and he had gotten in my office and chewed up papers, bills and garbage. He also went into my dining room and dug
two big holes in my rug. And he is back to chewing my kitchen doorways and kitchen cabinets (I've tried bitter apple spray-- it sometimes works). I don't have a regular schedule (mainly I work two days a week for about 8 hours) but before going to work I walk them and play fetch hoping to get their energy out. It doesn't work on the puppy. I also give him a calming supplement before I leave, thinking maybe this destruction is from separation anxiety. Even going to run an errand for an hour or two makes me nervous. His energy level is unreal. While ordering taller pet gates yesterday, I came across a quick fit dog muzzle by Four Paws. I never used or needed one and was always under the impression that they're cruel for dogs but after reading a bit on them, I bought it. It's a muzzle that allows the dog to pant and drink.
I feel hopeless. I love my little guy so much but he is a handful. Anyone have any advice for me? What am I doing wrong (if anything)? Anyone have experience with muzzles? Is it safe to leave him in it when going to work?
I'd be grateful for any help.