at a loss

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We have a very sweet dog.

Her name is Avi.  She’s from Craigslist.  She’s the best $50 we’ve ever spent.

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She’s a purebred Labrador retriever dog, mostly.

Her retriever part is broken.

 

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She likes toy cows and her moosen.

She loves to snuggle.

 

Her Labrador chewing skills are not broken.

Avi loves to chew all things plastic – bags, Tupperware, lids, iPod covers, wii remote airbags, you name it.

2012-01-11 22.35.49It is becoming a major problem.

In the last week, Avi stole 2 Ziploc Tupperware containers of cookies off the counter (shoved all the way to the back or on top of the toaster oven, on top of the counter!) and last night a Pyrex 9×9 glass pan with lid.

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We are starting to reconsider our $50. (not seriously, I promise)

I am at a loss as to what to do next.  She does not get into things while we’re at work, but when we come home from work and then leave again, even after spending snuggly time together (say to go to the gym or Bible study, all good things for us), she gets into trouble.  We are taking care of my sister’s dog this weekend and I thought having the other dog would keep her busy.  NOT SO MUCH! 

So, Mike and I are asking the blogging community for help. 

We know the “easy solution” of just crating her when we leave in the evenings, but if we ever have to leave her at a friend’s house while we’re out of town, I want their stuff be safe!  Plus I would prefer to just “fix” the problem rather than avoid it.

Any ideas?!

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15 thoughts on “at a loss

  1. Sounds like classic “puppy” to me :). She will probably just have to out grow it. She probably just hates being left alone. Just as if a child feels ignored, they will act up… maybe it the same thing. Even though your not ignoring her…she may feel that way when you guys leave. I’m not dog psychologist though 🙂

    • Thanks! It would seem a bit easier if she was a puppy instead of pushing 5! I’m rereading all the classic puppy training stuff right now to hopefully start the process of “retraining!” =)

  2. With our older dog (he’s 4 now and we’ve had him since he was 2), we determined his obsessive behavior was extra energy when we finally cured his extreme skin allergies. He had so much extra energy when he didn’t have to scratch all the time. This mostly stopped with the adoption of our second dog who wears him out.

    The younger dog (7 mos) just destroys things out of being a jack russell.

    At any rate, the only things that have worked for us is to have an unlimited supply of appropriate chewing items… for them, they like those bones that you can get at the grocery store in the meat section. If I have a couple of those around the house, they happily work on those and leave my tupperware and furniture alone! Mostly.

    Also, my dogs get particularly destructive if they haven’t been outside enough (last week with 3 rainy days in a row was tough.)

    Good luck!

    • Thanks! I think I’m going to have to take a trip to Petsmart. Another friend suggested giving her the tupperware along with other good choices and encourage the good choices. While another friend said they have shock strips that you can put on the counter (or sofa) that sock the dog when they get up on them… either way, I think we’re going to have to make some life changes – and may work on fixing the retriever part of her!! =)

  3. Perhaps ‘baiting’ her with some temptations that have tabasco or some similar deterrent on them would work. There may be something better than tabasco, but making it a negative experience a time or two might do the trick. 🙂

  4. My neighbor’s dog used to dump all the waste baskets when they came home and left again…..so they decided before they left again they would have to “Lucy-proof” their house before they went out again….they were lucky they only had waste baskets to contend with. They moved so I don’t know if it worked. Their dog’s name was Lucy….which you probably guessed. Your dog is absolutely beautiful…so hope you find a solution.

  5. How long have you had Avi? Why did the previous owner give her up?
    My take with the limited knowledge from your post:
    Dogs are pack animals and desire to be with their pack. If you are gone most of the day and then evenings with only a small amount of “snuggle time” Avi will find things to do on her one to relieve her loneliness and boredom.
    She needs positive reinforcement training – redirection away from the items you do not want her chewing on and training to not counter surf. Does she counter surf while you are at home or only when you are away? She will need to be caught in the act to be trained not to do this unwanted behavior.
    DO NOT allow her to sink her teeth into Tupperware or plastic, put it in closed cabinets. It is toxic and can cause intestinal blockage if a piece is chewed off and swallowed.
    Without more info it seems to me that Avi needs more attention and exercise…maybe walking her instead of going to the gym? How much exercise does she get in a 24 hour time period? How much people time does she get in a 24 hour period?
    I have several ideas in training the unwanted behavior, but need to know Avi’s exercise and people times. 
    Avi is an awesome dog!

  6. oops – my intro did not make the post in the previous comment…
    Hi, My name is Libby and a friend of Stephanie Kozick, she sent me the link to your blog. I have several questions, this will help in knowing WHY Avi is behaving in this way.

  7. You could block off the kitchen area (where the most problems seem to occur) using one of those kiddie gates. I’m just not sure it would work with that wider part of your kitchen.. the gate might not be wide enough.

  8. My vote is to spray the pastic with bitter mist or alternatively rub with the zest of orange. Both work equally well and taste and smell completely different than the meat of the orange to our pups.

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