Dog Eating Stuffed Animals - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 3 Old 06-13-2011, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ten year old dd (darling dog) has started eating stuffed animals that belong to my 3.5 year old dd (darling daughter). I also have a 9 month old son but the dog doesn't touch his things. Up until now she has been a very good dog and not destructive at all. She is gentle with my three year old and will play with the dog toys in the yard with her nicely. I'm not sure why she has started destroying stuffed animals.

The only thing I can think of is sometimes my daughter doesn't wash her hands well after eating so maybe the food smell ends up on her toys, but were vegan so I don't think that could be that big of a deal. The other thing is my ex left his dogs here for me to watch over a month ago, he had said it would be for a weekend! They arn't allowed in the house, they live in the shed (it's 300 sq feet and has electric and windows) and in the yard for a few hours twice a day. I'm thinking she might be jealous of other dogs being around here.

I don't know what to do. If she notices me walking in the room she'll get up and stop chewing but I can't watch her all the time since I'm watching two kids all the time! I would appreciate some advice on how to get her to not chew up stuffed animals anymore, it's making my daughter very sad.


be good family...

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#2 of 3 Old 06-14-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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I suggest taking a three-pronged approach to this.

1. Does your dog know "leave it?" Place a coveted item in your hand in front of your dog (I start with something small). Instruct your dog to "leave it." When she begins to nose the item say "Ah!" and "Leave it!" and close your hand. When she stops immediately praise and give a food reward. Repeat until she consistently leaves the item in your hand alone.
When she is ready place a coveted item(that can easily be covered up with your foot) on the floor in front of you. Repeat the exercise, vocally correcting and covering the item when she tries to sniff or take it. Praise when she waits and does not approach the item.
When she has mastered this you can try it while you are a few steps away, and then when you are across the room. Be sure not to proceed too quickly; you want her to be solid with each step before continuing.
Try this again with stuffed animals. Start with the animal in your hand, move it to the floor in front of you, and finally place it away from you entirely.

2. If she is consistent in your "leave it" training games then I recommend baiting her by leaving stuffed animals around the room when you will be there and are able to focus on the dog. When you are in the room with the dog and she begins to sniff at a stuffed animal, tell her "leave it" in a strong voice. Reward her with a treat when she turns away from the stuffed animal and give her one of her own toys. Eventually you can stop with the food rewards and simply redirect her to her own toys. When you need to focus elsewhere pick up all the stuffed animals to remove them from temptation. This is VERY important.

3. When you are not able to be in the room with her (or can't pay attention) make sure that ALL stuffed animals are out of her reach. DO make sure she has several appealing toys of her own when you leave the room.
If the kids are having trouble remembering I'd consider putting a lidded tub in each room where they and you can put stuffed animals quickly. Your dog will not learn to leave them alone if she is left with free access to the toys. It will be hard for the little kids to remember, but if they want to keep their stuffed animals then hopefully they will get it pretty fast. Getting a pup was a huge adjustment for my daughter. She was used to being able to leave her things around, but after the pup came home that was no longer an option!
I was actually glad we had an excuse to clean up a lot more. A chewing puppy was just the motivation I needed to keep the floors clutter-free. It didn't last, though. Our training was so thorough that by 7 months of age our puppy never chewed on anything that she didn't know was hers. We can leave stuff all over the place and she won't touch it.

Example: My pup was OBSESSED with our socks. She loved them, adored the, wanted to mouth them and sleep with them. She was constantly sneaking into our bedroom and taking socks out of the drawer if we left it cracked open. If I took off my socks and left them in the living room she was on them within minutes.
I used the above approach to train her to leave our socks. It took a month or two to get get 100%, but now we can leave the house for hours and she will not steal a sock even if it is on the floor in the living room. She knows it is not hers.
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#3 of 3 Old 06-14-2011, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post

I suggest taking a three-pronged approach to this.

1. Does your dog know "leave it?" Place a coveted item in your hand in front of your dog (I start with something small). Instruct your dog to "leave it." When she begins to nose the item say "Ah!" and "Leave it!" and close your hand. When she stops immediately praise and give a food reward. Repeat until she consistently leaves the item in your hand alone.
When she is ready place a coveted item(that can easily be covered up with your foot) on the floor in front of you. Repeat the exercise, vocally correcting and covering the item when she tries to sniff or take it. Praise when she waits and does not approach the item.
When she has mastered this you can try it while you are a few steps away, and then when you are across the room. Be sure not to proceed too quickly; you want her to be solid with each step before continuing.
Try this again with stuffed animals. Start with the animal in your hand, move it to the floor in front of you, and finally place it away from you entirely.
 
She is excellent at 'leave it' and will not hunt down stuffed animals in the same room as me. The closest I get to catching her in the act is her laying down as I walk into another area of the house and a few feet away there is a chewed up stuffed animal. She mainly gets the stuffed animals when I am outside with my kids or when we leave the house.



If the kids are having trouble remembering I'd consider putting a lidded tub in each room where they and you can put stuffed animals quickly. Your dog will not learn to leave them alone if she is left with free access to the toys. It will be hard for the little kids to remember, but if they want to keep their stuffed animals then hopefully they will get it pretty fast. Getting a pup was a huge adjustment for my daughter. She was used to being able to leave her things around, but after the pup came home that was no longer an option!
I really like this idea. We use a large decorative bucket for the toys to live in but I guess we could switch to a rubbermaid bin since I have plenty of those. I do hope this encourages my daughter to clean up, or else it will help in my quest for decluttering.
 

I was actually glad we had an excuse to clean up a lot more. A chewing puppy was just the motivation I needed to keep the floors clutter-free. It didn't last, though. Our training was so thorough that by 7 months of age our puppy never chewed on anything that she didn't know was hers. We can leave stuff all over the place and she won't touch it.
 
Thank you for responding to my question. It's been a long time since I've been to a training class, read a dog book or even been around dog people so I wasn't sure where to ask but here.


 


be good family...

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