Dog Thinks Entire House Is Food (& is a mess in general)

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Dog Thinks Entire House Is Food (& is a mess in general)

This is a discussion on Dog Thinks Entire House Is Food (& is a mess in general) within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi. This is gonna be long, because I don't know how to tell short stories. Sorry in advance. My family and I have 4 dogs, ...

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Old 02-06-2018, 07:36 PM
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Unhappy Dog Thinks Entire House Is Food (& is a mess in general)

Hi. This is gonna be long, because I don't know how to tell short stories. Sorry in advance.

My family and I have 4 dogs, all male. One Lhasa Apso, 17, and 3 Pugs, 8, 5, and 4. We've had our Lhasa since he was about 6, and our 8 and 5 year old Pugs we raised from puppies. Our most "recent" addition, our 4 year old/soon to be 5 in April white Pug, we got when he was about 6 months old. He is the center of this post.

He had a rough beginning. His first owner got him, along with a girl from his litter, from the same breeder we got our two other Pugs from. We suspect he might have been abused a bit and favoritism was showed to the girl due to some of his odd behaviors at times. One day, both of them ran away. The girl came back shortly after; he did not. He spent about a week out in the elements, all while still being a young puppy. My mom had been following the updates the breeder posted on Facebook along the way, so we had known about the whole situation prior. Then, he came back home, and I think the breeder intervened and got him out of that place. He put him back up for adoption, at a heavily discounted price compared to what his white Pugs are regularly, probably because he was already a bit older and such. He also put his name on Facebook, which happened to be the name of my late maternal grandfather. So, my mom was interested in getting him, and shortly after, we did.

We expected him to have some behavior problems and other abnormalities due to what he experienced. And he did. He peed inside throughout the day, despite supposedly being housetrained already, but we thought maybe that's because when he ran away, he could go anywhere he wanted, whenever, so he thought he still could. He (gross warning) ate poop. Gross as it was, we figured when he ran away, maybe he ate poop to survive, so that could explain why he still does. He chewed and ate furniture. This doesn't really have a direct root in his running away experience, but we mostly attributed it to the fact that he was still technically a puppy and you know how puppies can be. We figured he was going to grow out of all of this.

However, now he is 4, going on 5, and he still does all of these behaviors. It's only gotten worse, in my opinion. I ask myself, if a lot of these behaviors were due to his experience, why is he still doing them, so many years after the incident? Shouldn't that just be a distant memory now, especially since he was a puppy when it happened? I'd think dogs are like humans in the way that we don't remember really anything at all from when we were born to 1 year old. I feel like the experience should not be influencing his actions anymore since it's been so long.

But here we are. He still marks inside throughout the day, despite us making sure he pees multiple times each time we take him out, and we take our dogs out 3-4 times a day. He still eats poop... unfortunately. With our Lhasa being 17, he has a mind of his own when it comes to going to the bathroom, and he typically doesn't follow any schedule. He sort of just goes whenever he wants to. Since we don't keep an eye on our dogs 24/7, the Pug usually gets to the poop before we can. And the most terrible thing... he still eats furniture. It's gotten really bad. Our current set of living room furniture is second hand, because we had to get something quick after we had to dispose of our last set of furniture due to a flea outbreak we had here a few years ago. This furniture did not come in the best condition; it already had some holes and such in it, but we tried our best to work on it and patch them up. But the Pug does not care. He has ripped open pretty much all the patched holes, and has made multiple new holes. The furniture is filled with white stuffing and foam. He eats this on the daily, now. Some days it's a little, some days when we can't monitor as much, it's a decent amount.

And the worst part of all of this is that he has influenced our other Pugs to do this. Our Lhasa is mostly a sleeping dog now, so he isn't involved, thank goodness. But our two other Pugs now eat the foam quite often as well, when they never ever used to behave this way. Even when they were puppies, they never did anything this bad. It's starting to severely concern me and my family, because God knows what this foam and stuffing is made out of. It's probably cancerous stuff, and my dogs are eating it and having it go through their bodies every single day.

I'm very worried one of them is going to develop a serious health issue due to this. But we do not know what to do at this point. As much as I'd love to send him to obedience school or something of the sort, my family can't afford it, and I don't know how much it would do for these issues anyway which must be so deep-rooted in him to still be doing them years later. We also don't want to buy new furniture, because we believe he will just destroy that stuff too, and it'd be like dumping money into the trash. We give them enough bones and toys. We feed them enough. We give them enough attention. They are just doing this to do it.

I can't help but feel deep down inside that if I had known this dog was going to be like this beforehand, I would have convinced my family not to get him. And I hate feeling that way. It makes me feel so bad, because this dog does have his sweet moments. But it's just been a lot. Way more than we ever thought.

If you read through all of this, you deserve an award. I'd greatly appreciate any sort of advice, because at this point, we're desperate. Thank you.
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Old 02-07-2018, 10:27 AM
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I don't think puppies really outgrow doing naughty things I think we have to teach them what we want them to do instead
My havanese mix tried to mark in the house last year I went back to puppy basics left him in his crate when I couldn't watch him and caught him before he marked every time also contained him in the living room when I was able to watch him eventually he learned to only mark outside
However I still have issues with him marking at other peoples houses
once dogs start bad habits it's harder to break them gotta be vigilant if he is able to mark you were not paying enough attention yes it's a pain in the butt for a little while lol but eventually it will pay off!
Same with tearing up furniture the more he's able to do it the harder/longer it will take to stop it
Keep him in a play pen or crate when you can't watch him until he is more trustworthy




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Old 02-07-2018, 12:57 PM
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I don't think puppies really outgrow doing naughty things I think we have to teach them what we want them to do instead
My havanese mix tried to mark in the house last year I went back to puppy basics left him in his crate when I couldn't watch him and caught him before he marked every time also contained him in the living room when I was able to watch him eventually he learned to only mark outside
However I still have issues with him marking at other peoples houses
once dogs start bad habits it's harder to break them gotta be vigilant if he is able to mark you were not paying enough attention yes it's a pain in the butt for a little while lol but eventually it will pay off!
Same with tearing up furniture the more he's able to do it the harder/longer it will take to stop it
Keep him in a play pen or crate when you can't watch him until he is more trustworthy
This does sound like a good idea in theory. However, the unfortunate thing here is that we have him sleep in a crate every night, to prevent him from doing all these bad things over night. So he probably associates positive feelings with the crate considering itís been his bed since forever. Lately, if we even try to put him on a bed, he jumps down and runs to his crate. So Iím afraid that if we try to put him in a crate for doing bad things, itíll change his perspective of the crate, and he might think heís being bad by being in there at night? I donít know.
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:43 PM
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My dog sprocket stays in his play pen all day when I'm at work he loves it in there yet when I was working on the marking issue I still put him in there when I couldn't watch him it's not about punishment it's to keep him from having accidents the more accidents he had the harder it will be to stop them



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Old 02-08-2018, 09:11 PM
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My dog sprocket stays in his play pen all day when I'm at work he loves it in there yet when I was working on the marking issue I still put him in there when I couldn't watch him it's not about punishment it's to keep him from having accidents the more accidents he had the harder it will be to stop them
Yeah that sounds like a good solution for your dog and your situation then. I still just wonder if it would be the best solution for my dog. The other thing is I thought about is since we have multiple dogs, I feel like it might be easier for him to interpret being in a crate during the day as a punishment when he can see all the other dogs roaming freely and he's just sitting stationary in the middle of it all. Maybe you have multiple dogs too though, and if so, I'd be curious as to if there was any reaction like that from him at first, or if the other dogs showed any reaction.

I would be willing to try this, I just don't want to create a new problem on top of what's already there, you know?
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Old 02-09-2018, 07:23 AM
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I did have another dog up until last summer I had to put her down she was always free in the house but sprocket was always in a play pen when I worked he's still young and don't trust him yet to have free roam
I would think it would take an adjustment period but you can't just let him roam free if he's not trustworthy just creates and keeps bad habits


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Old 02-09-2018, 07:29 AM
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I should add that the play pen shouldn't be all day it should be when u can't watch him
Like when your working or busy with dinner things like that catching him before he marks is ideal when he's out of his pen
U can always use a belly band too if you don't feel like ur capable of catching him before he marks although that won't teach him not to mark usually just will keep it off your floor and walls



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Old 02-09-2018, 08:58 AM
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what is their walk schedule like? Sound like maybe the pug needs to get some more exercise. I have a labxborder collie cross and watch my sisters Boston terrier cross who cant weigh more than 20 pounds if that. She requires A LOT more exercise than my dog. She will start to find things around the house to chew up and also tries getting into everything. She will drive you absolutely insane if she doesn't get walked for a good hour in the morning. Maybe try an extra walk with just him or a longer walk with the group. Maybe it would calm some of his destructive behaviors down. Good luck
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:42 AM
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This does sound like a good idea in theory. However, the unfortunate thing here is that we have him sleep in a crate every night, to prevent him from doing all these bad things over night. So he probably associates positive feelings with the crate considering itís been his bed since forever. Lately, if we even try to put him on a bed, he jumps down and runs to his crate. So Iím afraid that if we try to put him in a crate for doing bad things, itíll change his perspective of the crate, and he might think heís being bad by being in there at night? I donít know.
You don't put a dog in a crate for being bad, you do it to keep them from being bad. So if you see him pooping, just say no, pick it up and throw it out; don't put him in the crate though. However, if you are about to head to work, grocery store, etc. and can't watch him, take him for a vigorous walk then place him in the crate. Plus you may want to restart house training, all the way back to puppy pads.
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Old 02-09-2018, 01:44 PM
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what is their walk schedule like? Sound like maybe the pug needs to get some more exercise. I have a labxborder collie cross and watch my sisters Boston terrier cross who cant weigh more than 20 pounds if that. She requires A LOT more exercise than my dog. She will start to find things around the house to chew up and also tries getting into everything. She will drive you absolutely insane if she doesn't get walked for a good hour in the morning. Maybe try an extra walk with just him or a longer walk with the group. Maybe it would calm some of his destructive behaviors down. Good luck
Reading this makes me realize that we probably don't actually walk him enough.

As I think I mentioned in my original post, we take our dogs outside 3-4 times a day, but it's mostly just to go to the bathroom. So typically it's 5 minutes maximum each time. So hearing your sister's dog needs walked for an hour makes me go yikes! I guess why we don't walk him more is that he usually does run back inside once he's done with his business? But maybe we've just trained him to be like that... unfortunately. Also, I live in PA so of course it's winter currently and very snowy and cold sometimes. Being short-haired dogs, our Pugs don't like being outside during this time for very long because they get cold easy (we've tried coats and boots for some of them a while back but it was a struggle to get them on and sometimes they wouldn't stay on). Another thing I'm thinking about is schedules that make walking him for longer difficult. My dad works a 9-5 job so he can't really do anything for the dogs during the day. My mom has a stay at home job, which sounds convenient, but she always acts like she has to be tied to her computer all day... (which is untrue but let me not start shade on a dog forum ) And right now, I'm pretty available, but unfortunately the winter thing causes problems and in a couple months, I'll be starting school that's 9-5, so I'll be unavailable, too.

So yeah, I'd love to try to take him outside for longer, I just feel like there's a lot of hurdles at the moment. Sigh.
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