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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Out of nowhere, Dominic has started destroying our screened in back porch. Tearing off paneling, shredding the screens, chewing on the woodwork...

The dogs have always spent a lot of time out in the yard alone, and the door to the porch is always open so they can come up for shade or to look for us. (Not that it would matter if we closed the door...Jaeger can open it.)

What do I do? You would think he had an entire demolition crew out there with him, and escalating punishments have not curtailed the behavior. Has anyone dealt with this before? He's a year and a half old and still intact. Other than this, he has never chewed on anything but toys, bones, and sticks.
 

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Justin and a few others can attest that I've been through the exact same thing with Coda....with our screened porch - oddly enough at about the same age as Dominic. The only thing that worked for me is alot more exercise for her. I also put plastic lattice work (they have some nice colors now)in front of the lower level screens on the porch so the temptation would not be so great. I feel for you....it is frustrating to say the least:sad:
 

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Do you catch him in the act when you punish him? Beyond more exercise, is there anything that he sees that could be causing him to do this, like people passing on the yard?
 

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I couldn't agree more, Lacey.... exercise, exercise, exercise.....

Frustrated energy = destructive activity, either on the environment or on the dog's own coat/skin.

Why it just started -- who knows? Hot in the yard so he wanted some shady activity?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The first time I didn't catch him in the act, so I just took him to the spot and showed him the board and told him "no". The second two times...yes, I caught him.

His exercise level hasn't really decreased, but I can certainly try upping it. He's a hard dog to exercise, though, because he doesn't like any of the normal doggie exercise stuff. Hates swimming, doesn't retrieve... And I definitely can't jog or bike anywhere near long enough to give him a good workout. Jaeger is so much easier with that. He'll chase a ball until he falls over.

Suggestions?

It had also occurred to me that perhaps he doesn't like the heat. This is his first summer outside (last year he was so young and sick that I kept him in, mostly).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, and Maren... No, there doesn't seem to be a stimulus like people passing or anything like that causing his behavior. His view is most restricted from the back porch, actually. All he can see is a bunch of trees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
He has, in fact, been banished to solitary confinement, Jeff. Doesn't seem to mind much, actually. My only concern was that a reduction in exercise and stimulation might compound the problem. Not your exerience?
 

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Alicia, if you have any off leash trails around where you live, this is what I've been doing. I will ride my bike at a somewhat decent pace and the dogs run along with me off leash. It's better exercise than just walking on the trail because it forces them to run faster to keep up with you and they are very tired after just a few miles. I don't go so fast to keep them at an all out sprint, but a pretty good loping canter for 3-4 miles does the trick to take that edge off. And it's kind of neat, like I feel like I'm on the fox hunt with them. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
haha I wish I could do that with him! I'd love something like that. We've discovered, however, that once Dominic is off the leash...forget about putting him back on it. He doesn't take off like Jaeger did as a pup - he sticks really close - but you'll never get your hands on him again. ::sigh:: We try to take the boys to off leash places as often as possible. Jaeger stays close AND comes right up when you call him.

Guess I'll try the "in the crate and only out for supervised exercise (i.e. wearing out)" thing for a while.

Jeff - in your experience, how long does this phase usually last?
 

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haha I wish I could do that with him! I'd love something like that. We've discovered, however, that once Dominic is off the leash...forget about putting him back on it. He doesn't take off like Jaeger did as a pup - he sticks really close - but you'll never get your hands on him again.
I little bit O.T., and not in any way meant to be insulting.... but I'd put "recall work" way high up on my to-do list. "Keep away" isn't a good habit. ;>)


P.S. Training is tiring to the dog's lil brain, too ---- nice side benefit.
 

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This can easily be solved by letting the dog run with a 20ish foot drag line (assuming the trail isn't real narrow so it'll get caught on stuff). Just cut the handle off if they are inclined to get stuck on it. The other nice thing about the bike is that you can now "run" as fast as they can if the trail is relatively clear if they are being ornery. That's what I started my current foster on in this running with the bike thing and she keeps up just great, limp and all. Can't keep a good Malinois down. She's now good so I can let her run with a 5 foot drag line (just in case). And always keep a good supply of high priority treats with you and reel Dom back into you several times throughout the hike and touch his collar each time and reward. That way, he doesn't assume being called equals fun time is over with.
 

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I have a dog that is impossible to tire out (BTW, I recommend weighted packs, weight pulling, forced swimming, high jump, springpole and treadmill). It was bizarre. But when I train him with food and ball rewards, he tires quickly and stays calm. I have to do it twice daily for my dog.

I'm with Connie. Recall is THE most important thing. It's something I work on with my dogs every day. but we make it fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC6qy_AnCGw

Here's an example of how I use jumping, clicker training and drive satisfaction altogether for Kado's training. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1djLMeUvQrE and the clicker part:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTEhSdBtdKQ&NR=1

Jeff - hold your tongue... erm... fingers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey, not insulted at all, Connie. I know it's a BAD bad habit. I'll try the drag line (thanks Maren). I have one I can use, just wasn't sure if using it would really make a difference in his "off leash" recall since in his head he probably still sees the drag line as a leash. He is the most difficult dog I have ever had - I'm sure some of you have seen my other posts about him. Truly puzzling in some of his behavior.

I'll give the line a shot... And I'll carry treats. I can say with all certainty, though, that NO treat his high enough in value to make him come if he doesn't want to. Speaking from experience. You could lay a raw steak out, and if he has it in his mind that he's not getting caught, forget it.

Gonna go watch your videos after work, Anne. Thanks.

And no, Jeff, you didn't use too many technical words. For how incompetent I am, I do have a fairly large vocabulary.
 

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The more difficult he is being, the longer the drag line needs to be. ;) My Aussie mix likewise does not like being caught and he'll bolt if you chase him, but if he runs out the front door, I jump on the bike and run him down. The bike and the long line are the equalizer for the dog's speed. Or add in a prong collar if you like as well. Run him down so you can jump off the bike and get to his long line and correct the snot out of him for not coming when he *knows* he is supposed to. Big big reward for when he does come.

I can't use the prong on my Aussie mix much as he is a very soft dog but a stubborn dog and not highly food motivated. But eventually with some long line work on the bike, I was able to get where if he is within about 10 yards of me on foot out on the trail and I can call him with some hotdog and he'll come about 95% of the time with no leash on. Much more than 10 yards and he'll ignore me...which is honestly better than the recall on about 95% people out there in the park, so we'll live with it. Interestingly, when I am on the bike and I call him from farther away, he'll be more likely to come. So you just cut off the source of their advantage and make them take the easy road of treats for coming or stern consequences for not coming.

Back when Zoso was about Dominic's age or slightly younger, he decided to push me on the recall out on the trail and decided that he would rather jump in the pool of nasty muddy water than to come back to me. Next time out, on went the prong collar and long drag line and he decided to ignore me and try jumping in the pool instead of following "on by." He got checked at the end of the prong collar right as he was about to jump in the pool and we had a nice "come to Jesus" moment. Now he's generally much more mindful. :) It's not just testosterone (he was neutered at 4 months old). It's just adolescent male behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, we took him out on the bikes tonight with a long drag line and a prong (otherwise he acts like we're flies on the end of the leash). Ran the snot out of him...let him choose the distance (which was pretty close anyway) until we stopped and called him over. First time, he walked almost up to me, then ducked and spun around... Got a good pop on the prong and decided next time that he'd actually come all the way and sit. So maybe that will help. I intend to keep working with him. Especially with how "pooped" he was when we got home.

Funny stories about your dogs Maren. Why is it that some are just so much more willing to come? We can take Jaeger to the dog park and he will keep his eye on us 100% of the time and will come from the complete opposite side of the park no matter what he's doing. Now he did "bolt" two or three times when he was little - thought I was NEVER going to catch him - but then one day, he just was good. Never had to use a line or treats or anything. ::shrugs::
 
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