HAHAHA… I found this photo and suddenly remembered all of the stories I’ve heard from dog owners over the years: dogs chewing through walls, carpets, sofas(like this one), expensive shoes, etc. The list can go on and on and on…
The problem, however, is how do you get them to STOP?!?! You may or may not have known this about your dog, but if you are experiencing these issues, it’s because your dog loves you and misses you. Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety. Yes, this is real and dogs do experience it. Here’s my reasoning: if you think about it, dogs are pack animals. Pack animals (such as wolves) are not solitary animals. They are hard-wired, via Mother Earth, to want to stay with other beings with whom they have a bond for their survival. If you do see a lone wolf, they are never alone by choice. And if it were up to your dogs, they wouldn’t be either.
Now, some people (and you know who you are) have thought about taking their dogs to shelters, humane societies, or just turning them loose to prevent any more damage. Trust me, YOU are creating MORE damage than that one small animal ever could. Let me give you some hints and helpful suggestions before you sell out your best friend for not understanding your rules.
The first thing you need to do is create a list of rules for your house which ANYONE who is inside your house, living there or visiting, must follow. It is important that your first rule be that you are the boss. What does being the boss mean? It means that you always walk in the house before the dog, you always walk out the door before your dog, and you eat first. This is the very first and most important step of teaching your dog their place within YOUR society. The dog is now the lowest animal on the household totem pole. The dog needs to remain here for the remainder of his life, and will be happier because of it. This doesn’t mean that you kick your dog around and make him sleep outside.
In nature, where animals live in groups, you will see the same behavior acrossed a wide variety of animals. Lions, Hyenas, Wolves, Gorillas, Baboons, Elephants, and a number of other social animals follow a strict heirarchy. The “Alpha” or the Boss is the one who always eats first. They are the ones who choose which way to go on a migration, which tree they will sleep in, which animal they are going to hunt, and whether or not to move in on another animal group’s territory.
With this in mind, it shouldn’t be to difficult to establish a more solid and stuctured living environment for your dog. The next thing is to set boundaries. For those of you who have children or are expecting, this is something that you need to listen to. It is not healthy for your dogs to have full roam of the house. Now that I’ve said that, let me tell you that you don’t need to go out and buy a crate or a thousand baby gates (just yet). You need to start teaching your dogs where they can and cannot be. Dogs should not be allowed into a child’s room. So when your dog enters the room, give them a steady but stern look, point at the door way and say “out!!” Don’t expect them to know the word. Instead, watch their eyes. If they look at your face, then look at your your hand, and back at your face they are trying to understand your body language. Just say “out” one more time, and use the same body language. You need to be firm without smiling, no matter how much you love the dog, if you want them to understand.
We will continue this thread in the next update. Keep reading and learning!!