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Hi all, Glad this board is here.

I have a 2 1/2 year old Australian cattle dog that chews EVERYTHING all day long. And I mean everything. SO we have to supply her w/ raw hides/bones and she is chewing out our wallet. She goes through a foot long rawhide a day. I bought one of the giant ones for Christmas (3 ft long) and she went through it in less then a week.

We buy steaksk w/ bones on them and she eats those up in an hour.

If we put her in her crate, she barks and whines. THis drives us nuts. We put her in the garage last week when company was over bc she whined so much and she chewed the cord of a (unplugged) $300 saw. If we put her outside she barks.

ANy ideas?
 

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Honestly she sounds bored. Dogs often turn to "destructive" behavior as an outlet for their boredom. Some dogs are just chewers. I havent trained or worked with cattle dog but German shepherds which are a herding dog that need a "purpose" if left to their own they can be quite destructive and grow bored fast.

Do you walk/run the dog? Dogs need an outlet and walking and running are a great way to do that. I dont mean just outside in a yard but actually getting them out of their "home" and giving them some mental and physical excercize and stimulation. It gets them to interract and explore with out it being destructive.

You mentioned chewing, I have a chewer as well due to teeth coming in. Do you provide lots of variety of textures and items that they can safely chew? I rotate toys out, I have a bucket and each day take 2 or 3 and leave those in the yard. I change out daily so they different things. And yes its costly buying various rawhides and hooves or chew toys.

as for the whining and crate, do you normally crate her? or is it only when they are acting up? A dog will normally be ok with a crate if begun early so that it sees it as its den. have you tried crating them with you in the room? possibly with some treats or something desirable so that they begin to associate the crate with good things. Thats usually how I begin crate training my dogs. I get them to associate it with good stuff and slowly start to work on leaving them in there for longer (still in the same room with us) and then gradually with out us in the room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, this is the deal (I've posted here before). When we got her from the shelter, we were totally honest on the application (trust me, I do not want a dog I cannot handle) and we said we were able to do up to 30 minutes of exercise a day. It seems this dog may need a lot more. Things were really rough at first bc she had a lot more energy, but she has calmed down some w/ age. My dh walks her a mile and a half or so every night; he does more on weekends. That is all we can handle right now.
We do not have a fenced yard, and no funds to fence it. Trust me, if I had a single extra penny right now, I would fence my yard for her. My neighbor has a fenced yard and she was letting our dogs run around together for a few hours a day, but they tore up the yard so much that her dh put his foot down and said no more.

There is a park near by that is not an offleash park, but I know other dog walkers that will let their dog off and throw a dog and play fetch, but she runs away when off leash.

BUt even on those days when she got a lot of exercise, she would still come home and chew for hours.

She whines in her crate bc she wants to eat whatever we're eating, but she is already fat (both vets have told me she needs to lose 10lbs,but she acts like she is starving to death if there is even a crumb on the floor---she licks the floor she acts so hungry).

Rotating toys doesn't work so well bc she destroys every toy. I bought her a tug a jug and she destroyed it (never even figured out how to get her kibble out of it)...the kong doesn't interest her. Any little animal, squeaky toy gets destroyed in less than 30 minutes. I could spend hundreds of dollars on toys for her and they would all be shredded.

I really feel like I have to make this dog work for our family. We have 3 little kids and she is really good w/ them. They are attached to her and dh and I like her too. Is there any other toy out there I should try? A place to buy chew toys in bulk that is affordable?
 

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Herding dogs are extremely high energy animals. They need mental stimulation and a job to do or they get bored, and when they are bored they bark/chew/destroy.

We used to have a farm collie...he was a BC/regular collie mix. We walked him everyday, provided many toys and rawhides, and loved him dearly but he was just not happy living in town. He was constantly destroying things, climbing the fence, running in circles...

We eventually rehomed him to a home schooling family with a goat farm. They trained him to do agility trials in competitions. The last I heard he was very happy!


If your herding dog is anything like mine she'll need lots and lots of mental stimulation in order to not be bored all the time. It's hard. Our dog was great with our DD too, which made us even more sad to rehome him.

(Never mind I just saw where you said the Kong didn't interest her. I've never met a dog that didn't like this toy!!) Have you tried a Kong toy? They are pretty sturdy, made of really thick rubber. I put peanut butter inside of it then shake kibble, crunched crackers, stale cereal, things like that inside of it to stick in the peanut butter. It keeps them occupied for a little while.

Another thing you can do is feed your dog inside of the crate. If she's fat, maybe you could space out her meals. Just feed her 1/2 a cup (or whatever measurement) every time you need to lock her in there. Maybe that would distract her for a few minutes while you're eating? If you put a couple big rocks in her food dish it will take her longer and more effort to eat it.

A last suggestion...raw food. If you switch to raw with bones then your dog will use up a lot of energy eating. (We did raw for a while and fed them outside, not in the crate.) A long long walk (like you mentioned) and then several chicken quarters and a few organs might leave you with a happy dog.
 

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One last thing--someone suggested this to us when we were trying to manage our high needs doggy...

They make mentally stimulating toys just for herding dogs! Something like this...

http://www.bestfriendsgeneralstore.c...ay+Jolly+Ball/

And if you google it you'll find more!
 

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I used to have an Australian cattle dog/Lab mix and ended up re-homing her with a close family friend nearby when we moved into a city. She's incredibly intelligent, full on energy, never liked kong toys, and can chew feet long raw hides in about an hour. Sounds a lot like your dog
. We still see her weekly and take her on hikes and at 9 years old, she still has the same energy from puppyhood. My husband and I used to take her biking a few times a week, and on days when we can't, we play fetch with a chuckit, so she can really sprint to the ball. And what a difference the hard sprinting makes! That was when we didn't have kids though. Also, the only way she would tolerate her crate is if there were at least a couple different chew toys in there. Good luck! PM if you need more ideas. I can't think of any at the moment but I'm sure I have more.
 

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My DH's family raised Australian Cattle Dogs, so I know a little of what you're going through! These were working cattle dogs, and they could go all day long. They are extremely smart.

You dog definitely sounds bored. More outdoor exercise would defnitely help, but I understand how hard that can be. How about more indoor stimulation? My Cardigan Welsh Corgi (another herding breed, but more mellow) loves to play "hide and seek" - I'll hide his favorite squeaky toy, and tell him to "Find it!" - he'll snoop around the house until he finds it. He also has a large repertoire of tricks that he loves to do, especially roll over (both directions).

I'm curious about your comment that he wants to eat whatever you eat. Our dog is a complete chow hound. If left to his own devices, he would weigh 80 pounds instead of 32! But since we have never, ever given him table scraps, he does not beg for food. Since she's already overweight, it's definitely time to eliminate ALL people food from her diet! That way you can measure the amount of food she gets. She might act like she's starving to death, but that's because she's smart, and has learned that it works. Be tough!

My dog can chew things up in a hurry, though he isn't a chronic chewer. Our pet store has real bones that last a lot longer than rawhide (and aren't nearly as messy). We have had one for at least 5 years.

Good luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for the suggestions, esp those that have been there. I would love to use a chuck it w/ her, but w/ the running away part, probably won't work so well. Others have told me that she will not do that once she gets more attached to us. It has been over a year, so maybe that will settle down. That is another thing the shelter told me she wouldn't do----run away when off leash.

She is supposed to be a working dog, but the shelter I got her from said she couldn't make it on a farm bc she is so submissive. It seems for acd to be workers, they need to be more dominant, or it doesn't work out so well.

Dh and I never table feed her---ever. Sometimes I want to if I have a little meat left over or something, but I don't. It's our toddler! He is 16 months old and always dropping something. When he was a baby in the swing, she would go and lick his face for the breastmilk!
SHe is so good w/ the baby and I really appreciate that.
 

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A working dog who cant do the actual job still needs to work if that makes sense. They need to burn a lot of energy and need a lot of mental stimulation. I am normally not a huge fan of using a treadmill, but that may be a good option here. Also, work on lots of training...clicker training is lots of fun for the dog and really wears them out as they have to think a lot.

Do you have a long line? That way she can at least run around a bit and play with you guys outside.
 

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do you have a long training lead, I mean like the kind used for sporting dogs they can literally be well over 50 ft. You can use them to keep the dog "leashed" but still allow them a lot of room. We use this with our boxer who LOVES to run but we dont ever allow our dogs off leash. Were able to use them at parks (not around other dogs) it gives her a sense of freedom yet we still have her under control.

similar to this you can find longer ones and ones made from different materials but to give you a general idea
http://www.remingtonsportingdog.com/...p?search=R3850

as for the dog chews/treats. We order a huge box of them at a animal feed store who can give us a better price on them than say a pet store. We buy them in bulk that way. We use peanut butter and then freeze it in the kong so its semi hard. The dogs LOVE it and it takes them a while to lick all the PB off.

as for the walking you dog seems to have a lot of energy and may do better running. Is there a neighbor or someone you know who runs? my neighbor often runs and occassionally will take one of our dogs especially if she runs a more remote trail. The dogs love it and she loves its so I let them
 

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My Chaos was quite the handful when she was an adolescent so I feel your pain. And unfortunately there is no other fix, just as other have already said exercise and training. The thing about exercise is that the more they get, the more they need to a certain extent so while it's necessary to keep them sane, it's incredibly important to teach them to sit still sometimes.

One of the things we did with Chaos is we never fed her kibble in her bowl - she got all of it for doing commands or tricks throughout the day, on walks as rewards for paying attention, in treat-dispensing toys, etc. I swear I had kibble crumbs in the pockets of all my jackets and most sweaters.
Of the treat dispensing toys I've found the Kong is great (you said she's not interested but she sounds crazy about food - she will ignore it even with food in it???). We smear PB or low fat cream cheese in it, or put a thick-ish slice of pepperoni (this one is tough to get out), or wedge a cookie that is big enough to not just fall out, but small enough that it won't break into crumbs if she crunches on it. We also used a big round treat ball a lot - basically I'd put 3-4 kibbles into it at a time, and I taught her to bring it to me when it was empty (she could tell by the sound, lol). Putting in too many would just make them fall out fast, defeating the purpose, though that's what I'd start with to get her interested. Even with the toys though you can't just leave her alone until you see how she does with them, otherwise they'll get chewed up as you saw (esp. if empty). We also have several other toys by the Kong company.

We have used other techniques to get Chaos to settle, and I'm sure you'll find some that work for you. One was that I'd sit down with a small bowl of her kibble (kept from a meal as I mentioned before) tell her to lie down and stay, and I would reward her with a kibble periodically. At first it had to be more frequent, but as she learned the routine I was able to space it out more and she would actually fall asleep waiting for the next one. At first she'd jump up when she got the reward but I'd just tell her to lie down again, or you can use a leash at first in case you have a hard time keeping her from running off.

We also do little "jobs" around the house to keep her mind busy. She brings recycling to the kitchen, you could also teach your pup to pick things up that you drop, give her toys a name and ask her to bring you a specific one (we do this with treat dispensing toys and the reward is the treat that I put inside it). The long line is a great idea, I've also made one from climbing rope I got at a hardware store with a clip tied onto it (you'd have to make sure you use a very sturdy knot though!). I then tied knots along the length to make it easier to grab if she makes a dash for it. At first I didn't give her too much room to prevent this though. Personally, I wouldn't trust her offleash, and I wouldn't expect her to stop running away at any point - a leash is a safety device, I'm a big believer in them.
 

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We have 5 cattle dogs and one cattlexboarder at work, they run almost all day and never get tired. They too chew and chase everything. The one dog can catch the sparrows in the rafters at the barn and almost grabbed one out of the air. She is so quick and agile!
They really seem to love rubber horse feeders, they spin around with them in thier mouths and shake the heck out of them- the feeders make great toys. They love the jolly balls(horse toy) as well, but they will chew them to pieces within a week.

I have a cattle/husky cross and when she was younger she also could run all day and would take off if i did not have her on a leash.
I ran a piece of clothesline from the house to a tree, a little over 50', I attached her leash to a metal ring that was threaded by the line and snapped her to that for exercise.
Then I worked on obedience training almost everyday. I taught her commands, tricks, and I taught her to scale trees. I could tell her where to go and how to do it and she would. There were no limits to what she could learn.
Working dogs are very very smart and LOVE having a purpose and a human partner.
Once she was trained, I could trust her listen to me to know our boundries in the yard, or if we were camping and she could be loose.

I also have a lab cross and I have been going through bones and toys too. She is not interested in a feed dish unfortunatly, but i bought her a 'giggle ball' a week ago and it is mostly holding up to her teeth. She pulled the plug in the first 10 minutes then chewed the end a bit that night, but she still has it! I think the hard rubber toys may be the way to go.
 

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We don't have a fence, but did buy a 50ft tie out for our dog so he can play outside with us and run around off leash. He can pretty much go all over the yard on that thing. The only downfall is sometimes he will trip the kids.

Good luck--I am going through something similar right now. I am pregnant and dealing with extreme fatigue and really haven't had time or energy to walk the dog. My husband is no help either. I am considering paying one of the teen boys next door help with walking...I am at my wits end with a hyper destructive dog
 

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Thank you all so much for this thread. We've got a 1 year old shelter mutt. When I looked up Australian Cattle Dogs on google, I thought "Oh, wow. That's totally Becky!" (Although I'm sure she's got hound in her as well....) All of your posts have been really helpful to me, too!
 
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