(Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA in Ask the Trainer - Dogington Post)
My husband and I have a 2 year old schnauzer mix, Axl, that seems to like to chew on things (area rug, dog bed, toilet paper, welcome mat, etc.) when we are not home. I don’t have the slightest clue on how to get him to stop. Is there anything that we can do other than keeping him locked up or catching him in the act, which is difficult since this behavior happens when we are not home. Also I am 6 months pregnant and I don’t want to have to worry about him chewing on the babies things during the day once I go back to work.
With the information you’ve provided it looks like this is happening because Axl is either bored, has too much energy or is anxious. I’m going to provide a link at the bottom that will help you if it isindeed anxiety because I am going to talk about how to prevent a dog from getting bored or having too much energy. Some of the things you may already be doing.
Boredom and having too much energy kind of fall into the same category. Exercise is a must for young dogs and there are two types of it; Physical and mental. By meeting those needs sometimes behavioral issues start to fade away because what was fueling them is now gone. Physical consists of going for walks, jogs, hikes etc. Mental exercise consists of doing things like obedience training, trick training, confidence building etc.
Setting him up for success when you leave is very important. I would utilize something along the lines of a Kong filled with lots of stuff like peanut butter etc. You can even fill it earlier and stick it in the freezer to make it last longer. The idea is to give him things to do that is constructive.
Being two years old, he may not be responsible enough to be allowed out. I know in your question you mentioned you didn’t want to keep him locked up. One option could be a play pen. It’s basically a circle that Axl would be able roam around in but still wouldn’t have full access to the entire house. The other option would be a crate. The most important thing is to put a stop to him rehearsing this unwanted behavior. If he continues to rehearse it, and is enjoying it, he is reinforcing his own behavior which means he will probably never stop.
Thanks for the questions! Here is the link for help with separation anxietyhttp://dogingtonpost.com/helping-a-dog-that-suffers-from-separation-anxiety/#.UrECsqUSPFI.
Thank you for the question!
Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA