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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.
 

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Don't muzzle the dog and leave him all day. ACD? As in cattle dog crossed with a pit? No wonder.

Exercise - any routine to it? Sounds like you have more of a bored dog than anything. A good hard workout in the morning and some mental stimulation goes a long way - 10 minute walk isn't going to do it. Chew toys generally become boring after a bit - a good meaty bone will keep him going for quite a while.
 

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Totally agree with @jagger - You've got a firecracker combination in those two breeds. Pits, and ACDs especially, can go for HOURS. Walking and some fetch isn't going to do it. What do you have in the way of puzzle toys? What kind of training do you do?

For the record, I would never leave a muzzle on my dog when it isn't being supervised. What if he got stuck on something? Or ran around and caught his face on something as he ran by? Ouch.
 
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Are you able to crate him when you leave? Our rescue had major separation anxiety when we first adopted him, causing some pretty bad destruction in the house when we left. It was so nerve-wracking coming home.. "what will be destroyed today?" After lots of trial and error, we were able to crate train him and now he knows that is his safe place when we aren't home. It certainly gives me peace of mind knowing I won't come home to a destroyed apartment!
 

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Agree with crating. You have a combination of two intelligent, high energy breeds. He needs both physical and mental stimulation. My daughter has a cattle dog/border collie mix. She went to the park one day and was throwing the ball for her. When she checked time, she had thrown the ball for two hours! Mel was still not tired! Your other choice is puppy daycare on your work days.
 

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Threads like these make me cringe.

How about being honest and asking the OP if they have a lifestyle that supports a high energy dog - can they put the time and effort into giving the dog what it needs.

How about asking about what they are feeding? If they are feeding a kibble that's high in protein, carbs, fat and sugars but not providing the performance level to the dog to burn it off - it's akin to jumping a 2 year old up on sugar and expecting it to sit still.

Take a dog like that and lock it in a crate. Great. Wonderful.

If you're going to suggest locking a dog in a crate - how about suggesting how to crate properly, and that it is a means to an end.
 

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I have to agree with jagger.............just crating a high energy dog is akin to locking a sane person in the looney bin! Without proper physical and mental exercise and training, a crate will not solve the problem. No matter how much a person might love a dog, sometimes that dog is just not suited to our lifestyle, and for the sake of the dog, if you don't put in the working necessities, it is better to find it an owner that is able to .
 
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OP presents with a 7 month old pup who is destructive during her 2 eight hour work days. A change in diet isn't going to solve the problem. Nothing wrong with crating 16 hours a week. Especially during difficult puppy and adolescent periods.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi everyone! Thank you so much for the replies and apologies for this late response.
When I first got the puppy I was aware he was a cross between a ACD and *something*. He didn't look like a pit until he started growing a few weeks after adopting him and I did a DNA test. I grew up with a pit/lab and love pits so it was no problem. I was forewarned about how active he would be but the rest of his littermates were adopted by people in the city. I live in the suburbs, have a big back yard, a decent sized house, great parks around to bring him to--I figured if the other adopters were doing it while living in city apartments with no/or tiny backyards, keeping him happy and active would be no problem for me.

Since my OP, the muzzle arrived and I put it on him once. He actually calmed down quite a bit but I do worry about him hurting himself so I will likely never use it again. If I'm going out for less than 2 hours I'll usually crate him but if I'll be gone for longer, I don't have the heart to leave him locked up and give him free range of the kitchen area. Plus he is LOUD when he wants to get out and I have very petty, retired neighbors who I can see giving me a hard time if he starts barking. It's just been rough because I never know what mess I'll come home to. You could leave him in a completely empty room and he'd still find a way to destroy it. I went to the doctors yesterday about 45 mins away from my house. I left the dogs in the kitchen after playing with them all day, new high gates locked, petcam on, food away, anything in reach away, garbage can closed and weighted, etc. I came home about 3-4 hours later and he had jumped up about 6 feet to a small plastic bag hanging on a hook in the kitchen, ripping it open, letting the contents (some extra garbage) onto the floor and then ripping that up. Not a big deal and it was my fault for leaving the bag out, but my gosh, what am I doing wrong? Before leaving, I stuffed kongs, put treats in a ball maze, took out a new bone, along with leaving all their toys out.

I've since put the dogs in a doggie daycare for when I'm at work and that seems to help quite a bit. The puppy came home exhausted his first day. I'm not stressed about whats happening to the house and they can play with other dogs. Getting rid of him is not an option and I'll do everything I can to accommodate his energy level.

To answer the food question---the boys get Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free dry food. I change up the flavor once in a while from beef to salmon, but mainly it's their chicken/turkey recipe. They have WEF wet food once in a while. They also eat a lot of fresh fruit (mainly bananas, apple slices and blueberries) and fresh vegetables (mainly carrots) between meals. I also blend in coconut oil with plain yogurt/bananas for stuffing their kongs. I was concerned with natural/healthy foods but good point, jagger, I didn't even consider that. I will definitely look into the amount of protein/carbs/etc they are getting.

Thanks everyone, every response was appreciated.
 

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Hi everyone! Thank you so much for the replies and apologies for this late response.
When I first got the puppy I was aware he was a cross between a ACD and *something*. He didn't look like a pit until he started growing a few weeks after adopting him and I did a DNA test. I grew up with a pit/lab and love pits so it was no problem. I was forewarned about how active he would be but the rest of his littermates were adopted by people in the city. I live in the suburbs, have a big back yard, a decent sized house, great parks around to bring him to--I figured if the other adopters were doing it while living in city apartments with no/or tiny backyards, keeping him happy and active would be no problem for me.

Since my OP, the muzzle arrived and I put it on him once. He actually calmed down quite a bit but I do worry about him hurting himself so I will likely never use it again. If I'm going out for less than 2 hours I'll usually crate him but if I'll be gone for longer, I don't have the heart to leave him locked up and give him free range of the kitchen area. Plus he is LOUD when he wants to get out and I have very petty, retired neighbors who I can see giving me a hard time if he starts barking. It's just been rough because I never know what mess I'll come home to. You could leave him in a completely empty room and he'd still find a way to destroy it. I went to the doctors yesterday about 45 mins away from my house. I left the dogs in the kitchen after playing with them all day, new high gates locked, petcam on, food away, anything in reach away, garbage can closed and weighted, etc. I came home about 3-4 hours later and he had jumped up about 6 feet to a small plastic bag hanging on a hook in the kitchen, ripping it open, letting the contents (some extra garbage) onto the floor and then ripping that up. Not a big deal and it was my fault for leaving the bag out, but my gosh, what am I doing wrong? Before leaving, I stuffed kongs, put treats in a ball maze, took out a new bone, along with leaving all their toys out.

I've since put the dogs in a doggie daycare for when I'm at work and that seems to help quite a bit. The puppy came home exhausted his first day. I'm not stressed about whats happening to the house and they can play with other dogs. Getting rid of him is not an option and I'll do everything I can to accommodate his energy level.

To answer the food question---the boys get Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free dry food. I change up the flavor once in a while from beef to salmon, but mainly it's their chicken/turkey recipe. They have WEF wet food once in a while. They also eat a lot of fresh fruit (mainly bananas, apple slices and blueberries) and fresh vegetables (mainly carrots) between meals. I also blend in coconut oil with plain yogurt/bananas for stuffing their kongs. I was concerned with natural/healthy foods but good point, jagger, I didn't even consider that. I will definitely look into the amount of protein/carbs/etc they are getting.

Thanks everyone, every response was appreciated.
That dog food is high in carbs, that would be the first thing to investigate and possibly change.
https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/whole-earth-farms-grain-free/

Daycare is a great idea. Try something, when the pup comes home tired, do your normal fence him in routine and leave for a bit - while he's tired. See if there's a difference in the dog.

How's the dogs' recall? If it's not good, then I would start working on it, gives you the opportunity to run the dog in an open field. If you have a treadmill, that's a good way to get exercise for the dog too.
 
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