Destructive Chewing Help Questions

Discussion in 'Alaskan Malamute' started by Drakeley, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. Drakeley

    Drakeley New Member

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    Destructive Chewing Help

    Hello all,

    This is my first post, spurred by the latest bout of chewing on my things, and I need help because this cannot go on any longer.

    Background:
    -13 month old male Mal
    -Rescued from shelter Aug/Sep 2020
    -Prior family surrendered due to small children.
    -He is fixed
    -Anti-chew solutions don’t work
    -He has plenty of toys
    -The amount of walking doesn’t seem to change anything.
    -Tried a metal cage, he would’ve broken teeth trying to chew out.
    -Housebroken IRT bathroom needs
    -I bought a muzzle today that I plan on using while he is inside and not in someone’s direct observation.

    So now is the problem, he cannot be left alone inside for even 5 minutes, this last bout cost a pair of leather gloves and electronic components from my hobby desk. Yesterday was a hat. Last week socks and shirts. Three weeks ago part of a wall....You get the idea.

    He spends more and more time outside in a 10x10 pen with an igloo due to this problem vice staying inside where I prefer he spends his time. Mind you, this is at a full size home with property enough to keep any dog content.

    When he is inside, among anyone, he still takes things that are not his-right in front of you-Food or otherwise.

    He is reprimanded every time, it started out small to correct the behavior but has rapidly escalated in severity to where it is now. Nothing seems to work, the only deterrent at all is a shock collar and I doubt that will work 100% of the time. He will take the same things over and over no matter what I do, and he knows it’s bad because he’ll cower away when he’s caught and expects to be grabbed for it.

    Just a couple of other things: He chewed his way through the chain-link pen last month, I fixed it to where he couldn’t anymore. He also started to throw his igloo around and turtled it a handful of times-this last bit was corrected with a zap from the collar so far and he hasn’t attempted it that I’m aware of since.

    He also wedges himself into small spaces and gaps whenever possible. This is usually your legs, the couch cushion you’re sitting on, the ottoman, etc...which is annoying but fine. The issue is that he always demands attention from you, which if you’re just trying to have morning coffee or the like, forces you to need to either put him back outside or the basement and risk chewing. Oh, the attention he wants isn’t just pets, he always mouths at you no matter what-like an oral fixation needing to drool up hands and pant legs. It’s never just good boy belly rubs and ear scritches-he always gets hyper and mouthy.

    Even when I shower, he cries at the door and hates being left alone-this seemingly is the trigger. He refuses to be left alone without access to people at his will. If he is prevented in any way, this causes the bulk of issues.

    I have never experienced this type of consistently and increasingly infuriating behavior in a dog before. Usually a dog understands ground rules by now, especially after physical force/shock collar is resorted to curb it.

    I am out of ideas and don’t want to force myself to give him up. I don’t take kindly to the thought of it, but if I can’t leave him for 5 minutes in fear I’m gonna lose belongings, then what should I do?

    He’s one of the kindest, playfully tempered dogs I’ve ever met. Not one angry hair on his skin, but I need help curbing these issues. He will even ignore food just to be close to a person at all. If I can stop the chewing, I can deal with the rest, but they may all be part of the same issue.

    Please help, as I don’t know where else to turn aside from paying for a trainer which is my next step from here.
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  3. who owns who

    who owns who Member

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    I think you need a really experienced dog behaviorist, not just a dog trainer. Others may come along with some advice or links to articles, but seeing as how this is been going on for sometime, I think it would be wise to have someone who can actually observe these behaviors and help you understand why he does these things and how you may be able to work on corrections. Good luck
  4. Queensland blue

    Queensland blue Member

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    Don’t know how long he was in the shelter for or if he developed these problems there as stir crazy fixations ?

    sometimes shelter dogs can develop bad obsessive habits .

    does seem like he needs someone experienced and patient to rewire him to a new focus .
  5. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    With rescue dogs some take longer to settle than others, when we had Kyra from rescue it took a good 12 months for her to get over the several issues she had.
    You have to remember he came from a family home, then into kennels and then you, his whole routine and the people/places he came to know is all different.

    Reading you post it sounds like he is very insecure and is suffering from separation anxiety and possibly boredom.
    He needs mental as well as physical exercise (is there any dog sports clubs or training classes you could attend?) and you could try stuffed Kongs to keep him occupied for a while.

    There is no quick fix and I suggest you contact the rescue you got him from and see if they have a behaviorist that could help you.
    Couple of links that may help also.
    Separation Anxiety | ASPCA

    Does your dog freak out when you leave? | The Humane Society of the United States
  6. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    I agree that you really need a behaviourist rather than just a dog trainer. Your dog sounds as if he has very little confidence, and I would question whether the electronic collar is useful in trying to build it. Punishment coming from a remote source might be able to stop a behaviour, but can also create more anxiety.
    I know Malamutes tend to be independent thinkers, but are there any of his behaviours that you are able to reward him for, to help in building a relaxed bond? Mental games like learning to do tricks or searching for items, may not sound much, but they provide the opportunity for you to give him praise, and for him to experience being able to please you.
    Good luck.
  7. Drakeley

    Drakeley New Member

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    He was in the shelter for less than a month as to my knowledge. This includes the time from when he got there and I saw him on the website (I was monitoring the site) and being approved to adopt.

    He was of course calm, sad, and aloof since he was in a shelter, but aside from that he seemed absolutely normal for a dog.
  8. Drakeley

    Drakeley New Member

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    I do not like having to resort the the collar, it is not something a want to do. He has come a long way since he arrived home, but these are lingering affects that I have not been able to work around since I do not know what the best course is as of now-as stated, I have tried all I know. Just to note, usually showing him the collar without using it makes him stop whatever he is doing.

    He seems overactive and no amount of attention can quell it. I’ve tried, but I get tired of playing at some point as we all know.

    I’ll hunt for a behavioral therapist since they can pinpoint what is wrong and what I should do about it since I’m taking shots in the dark right now.

    I can come up with something to occupy his mind, even though he seems to react well to basic positive reinforcement for simple commands. Although he seems to pick and choose when to react to his name, that’s another related issue.
  9. PieroDucati

    PieroDucati New Member

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    Drakeley likes this.
    I'm sorry to hear about you boy's anxiety. He seems to be very insecure and fears isolation.
    We have a 12 month old, 110 pound Anatolian male who is also a chewer. He does not respond to e-collar stimulation. Toys do not interest Tengri either. We now rely on cardboard boxes, tree branches, and old boots from thrift stores, and the big cow bones from WalMart (he loves them).
    When he mouths and nips our arms and hands, we give him a big correction word (AHHH), and grab his collar and force him into a sit and down. If he does not relax, he gets ignored by going into time-out.
    Also, Tengri has gotten less clingy/edgy after he socializes with other dogs. He craves interaction with his pals.
    Don't give up on him just yet. Any affectionate dog deserves his best chance with you.

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