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Hello! I just rescued a chocolate labrador retriever named JoJo about a month ago (June 12, 2012) who is between the ages of 5 and 7 and is overall a very sweet boy! He is not aggressive in any way and gets along well with other people, animals and kids. JoJo has alot of energy and I try to help expend it by having a dog walker come in the middle of the day each day to take him and my other lab (who is perfectly well-behaved) for an hour-long walk and I go running in the park with him almost every day after work. We have begun obedience training and he is doing pretty well with commands. My main problem with JoJo is that after several weeks with no issues, he has begun rooting around my apartment and getting into random things when I am not at home. So far he has eaten (and spread around the apartment) raw rice, he has shredded a boatload of plastic grocery bags, he destroyed a nearly empty container of crazy glue that he got out of an unlatched tool box and he found and decimated a bottle of dog vitamins that I had forgot were in a bag in my closet. JoJo is a very food-centric dog and I suspect that the things that he is getting into are things he smells and gets curious about. It seems like he keeps finding things to get into that I didn't realize were even there or would be of interest to him. I feel like I can't anticipate what he will get into next and I am obviously concerned about his health and safety potentially getting into things that might harm him, but I am also frustrated with coming home to find the messes that he makes while I am gone. My apartment is very small and has an open plan with very little storage space, so using a baby gate is not an option. Crating JoJo for the first few days he was with me made him more agitated than not crating him, so I got rid of the crate. I keep trying to be patient and keep perspective, reminding myself that JoJo was in shelters for longer than he has been with me. But I am here on this site because I could really use some words of advice and reassurance from anyone else who has adopted or rescued an adult dog. I am hoping that this is just a phase in the course of him settling into his new life with us. It's natural for him to be curious about his new environment and I fully respect the need to keep the apartment as puppy-proofed as possible, especially where food-related items are concerned. The trainer said that the reason he is just now starting to get into things and make messes, as opposed to doing so when I first brought him home, is that dogs suppress their instincts and behaviors at first when they are rescued or adopted. I just wonder if the situation will improve with time and JoJo will eventually be less curious about the 'hidden treasures' in my apartment. I also wonder if the fact that he is doing it when I am not there suggests some sort of anxiety on his part? What is normal for rescued dogs? What should I expect and what should I try and do about his behaviors? Any advice would be most welcome. Thanks!
 

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Sounds like you have a high energy dog. It's great that you run with him and that he goes on walks mid-day. He may need a morning run as well, which will benefit both of you physically.

However, you may want to consider kennel training him. A bored dog will get into stuff, because all an apartment really is to the dog is a really big kennel with exploration opportunities.
 

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Do you know if he's getting into the items before or after the dog walker comes?

If it's before it could be because he needs to go for a morning walk in order to burn off some energy then, if it's after you know it's not an energy problem and may be a boredom one.

If your dogs are not food aggressive you can leave them each a food stuffed toy like a Kong stuffed with some yogurt or cottage cheese mixed with some of their daily ration of kibble and frozen, or a food puzzle for each of them.

If it's anxiety then the destruction will become worse most likely, and if it's that then you'd need to work on making him comfortable with you being gone. Start small with just leaving for a minute or two and if he's quiet go back in and keep extending the length of time you stay out as he get's comfortable with each increment of time.
 

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We rescued an adult dog 5 months ago (she's 5ish yrs), and she is a slightly different dog than we got her. She's more "talkative" than when we first got her, probably because she was too nervous at first and didn't want to draw attention to herself. I wouldn't count on the investigating/destruction your dog is getting into to "just go away" without training or other preventative measures. None of Bree's undesirable traits went away without training, although she's taken to training nicely.
 

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Crating JoJo for the first few days he was with me made him more agitated than not crating him, so I got rid of the crate.
A crate will keep him safe and you happier, knowing he is safe. Sometimes, getting used to the crate takes more than a few days. I suggest you purchase another crate, and slowly get him used to it by putting treats in it and leaving it open for the first few days.
So far you and JoJo have been lucky, but he is obviously an inquisitive, and as you say, food centric dog. He may get into something that will hurt him so perhaps crating is worth the effort and time it will take to properly introduce him to a crate.
 

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if you cannot crate him, you will need to go through your house and puppy proof it... there are all sorts of child safety devices that will keep him out of dangerous areas. any area that cannot be dog proofed, may need to be blocked with baby gates or closed doors (if he jumps over a gate, you may need to use 2 in that door way)

you can also try giving him a frozen, stuffed kong, to keep him occupied while you are out. if the dogs are resource guarders, you will need to separate them in order to do this.



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sounds to me like your dog is bored. an hour long walk is fine, but technically dogs should be getting half-hour walks multiple times during the day. does your dog get to play/socialize with other dogs? I think this would help alleviate some of his energy. it simply might not be enough for your dog to run
 
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