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Destructive Chewing on Furniture AFTER Neuter
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Hello,

    My dog Quake was neutered three weeks ago. He is 2-1/2 years old and I have not had any chewing or destructive behavior before from him. I know his hormones must be going crazy right now. As of four days ago he started chewing on some furniture that is in my bedroom where he stays when I am at work. While I am away he has full run of the bedroom, the foyer and the kitchen where his water bow is kept. On Thursday evening I got home 40 minutes later than usual and he had chewed a rattan trunk and left the pieces on the floor which I showed him and told him "NO". I did not make a huge deal out of it. Then last night he did it again while I was home and I showed him the mess and screamed "NO" at him. This morning while I was taking a shower he did it again. Each time he has chewed on one of the trunks (I have four of them for storage). He has always be told "leave" or "off when he has licked at any of the trunks and he had never actually chewed the furniture before four days ago. This morning when I left for work I shut the bedroom door and he has access to the entry way and the kitchen. I am hoping for the best when I get home from work tonight. I had given a good 35 minute walk this morning which I always do and last night I had walked him for about 30 minutes prior to the chewing incidents. I have retained his same schedule and the only thing that has changed is that he is now neutered and that he has been very hungry. He has plenty of chew toys at his disposal. I have cut his food intake as was suggested so he doesn't gain weight but maybe he's acting out because he is hungry? I am going to buy some bitter apple to spray on the trunks and other furniture. Also, I will not leave him in the bedroom anymore when I'm in another part of the condo. I would appreciate any suggestions.
  • NASANASA
    Posts: 189
    I have cut his food intake as was suggested so he doesn't gain weight


    Who suggested this and why? I know you have to give small meals and work back up over three days. Small (Day 1) Medium (Day 2) Regular (Day 3) but he should be eating as normal after 3 weeks.
    Also He isn't chewing furniture because he is hungry, unless he swallows it, which is possible, so you need to be VERY careful now. Bitter apple is a good start but most dogs get use to the taste and keep at it. I usually only recommend this for pups. For you dog. Keep reinforcing the "NO".

    Suggestion: He may be bored and now wants to chew something hard. Get him Moose antlers and other HARD chews. Also Maybe a treat puzzle to keep him occupied. If these don't work I would suggest the Dentist. (Dont get worried) There could be an gum issue. What do you feed him?

    I'm going to assume you do not crate your dog, as this would also be a obvious solution, but the things above are all I can suggest you try based on the general explanation of your problem.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Reducing feed after neuter/spay is a current Veterinary recommendation. Here is an article about post neuter weight gain (applies to dogs as well): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22005425
    "Common sense isn't so common"
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  • NASANASA
    Posts: 189
    @Lindsayt - yes but she said he was neutered 3 weeks ago. I have never heard of sustained decreased food intake. Also the reference above is kittens. Sorta different anatomy and Bio functions.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    I've heard that it's not uncommon for Shibas to regress in their training, whether it being a result of fluctuating hormones, changes to their environment (owner going out of town), etc.

    I would think that the best actions for you to take is to begin the training process from scratch - restrict access to particular areas of the house, whether you use gates or a playpen. Reinforce all training, practice basic commands daily (leave it, stay, off, etc) and maybe try to give him a mid-day meal so he isn't so hungry from breakfast to dinner.
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  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Wait, dogs and cats AREN'T the same? I've wasted my life!
    "Common sense isn't so common"
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  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    15%-40% reduction in food intake just prior to neuter, and long term post neuter, are some ranges I have read or been advised of.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
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  • NASANASA
    Posts: 189
    lindsayt said:

    Wait, dogs and cats AREN'T the same? I've wasted my life!



    Lmbo, YEP! I didn't know until I googled it

  • NASANASA
    Posts: 189
    I also agree with advice from Kira
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    I was advised the same thing as @lindsayt reduce the food, monitor, gradually increase as needed.

    @Antoinette basically @Kira_Kira (I notice you're always one step ahead of me!) has said what I wanted to say. Especially with something that is "life changing" to them, Shibas occasional regress in training. Just start back from square one.

    Some other advice, don't show him the pieces and yell "NO!" especially since you didn't caught him in the act. Yelling in general doesn't work either with a stubborn breed. And since he seems to be destructive now, please either restrict him to certain parts of the house with an ex pen, or just crate him while you are gone.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    @Bootz - what can I say? Great minds think alike :)
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  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
    Do you have a pic with the cone of shame on?
  • There's no point in yelling no at him after he's done something. he doesn't know why you're yelling at him--just that you are. In general, there's probably no point in yelling at all, unless you're trying to interrupt a behavior happening right then.

    Most adult chewing is boredom. It's probably not really tied to the neuter, but I suppose it could be if he has had a lot less activity than usual. But this is really a management issue: he's chewing, whether out of boredom or frustration, and so you have to manage that. Keep him away from the things he's chewing, as you are trying to do. Use bitter apple.

    But yelling at him isn't going to help and if he is doing this because he wants more attention, it might even make it worse, because even negative attention = attention. (Which is why yelling doesn't work: better to grit your teeth and ignore his chewing if you don't catch him in it, and make sure he has plenty of activity, attention, and appropriate things to chew).
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8582
    I agree on the boredom issue... It sounds like you are only giving him one or two 30 minute walks a day? That is not enough for a 2-3 year old Shiba. Up the exercise, restrict him when you are unable to watch him 100%, and find some constructive ways to use up his mental energy.

    Luckily for you and Quake, you are in the DC metro area and have a TON of resources available at your disposal such as training classes, agility classes, parks, etc.

    Also, yes, please do not yell at him. You are just going to confuse the poor pup!
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
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  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Actually I am giving him three 30 minute walks per day minimum so he gets walked at least one hour annd one half per day. Plus when we get back from each walk we play fetch for about ten minutes. I did yell at him when I caught him in the act of chewing on the furniture yesterday morning. I understand that yelling "NO" was not a good idea. This morning when he went for the furniture I said "UH OH" in a calm voice and that seemed to work. I also priased him when he backed away from the furniture and he started playing with a toy I handed him. I left him in a restricted area when I left for work this morning but kissed him and petted him and left him with three of his favorite toys and a new chew toy that he liked. I talked to a "pet communicator" last night and she said that his problem is separation anxiety brought on by a hormonal imbalance since the neuter was three weeks ago. I think she might be right. She said to allow him into the bathroom when I am showering in the morning just so I put things out of reach that he can get into. I did that this morning and he seemed to like that. He just laid on a towel I had put down and he seemed content just to be around me. I agree with those of you who said that he might have regressed and that I need to start training from zero. Thanks again for all of the suggestions.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Perhaps try Adaptil for awhile? We used the Adaptil collar after Juni was spayed because she was also regressing but with barking at people and guarding etc. She calmed down quickly with it on. On other occations when she's been more stressed I haven't felt that Adaptil has helped much, but after the spay it was very useful.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Clearly a Vicious cycle that needs a break up via routine changes by taking a look at events leading up to chewing. Like you are doing see if there is a safe spot that can be a little more calming for him, give him praise and or treat for one on one quality time and add some new items to his toy box etc.

    Yep hormones can cause behavior changes so can just coming from the vet or moving or whatever, fill in the blank, based on what is stressful to the particular dog. It differs from dog to dog and it really depends on the individual animal how they will handle any changes. Be aware this can occur throughout life and pop up at any time and at any age!

    I know dogs who stress out when other dogs are taken out/away, when people argue or even when neighbors argue, new training routines, and when they do not feel well. Thus resulting in random article/item chewing and other not so bright ideas to relieve tension.

    My goodness I know an 8 yr old Shiba that chewed wood furniture trim after being accidentally locked in a closet for three hrs. An 11 yr old Shiba that pulled a coat of the owners coat hook and chewing the coat sleeve to shreds while the owner was gone and yet another ransacking under cabinets and opening kitchen doors, or attempting to dig or borrow a hole in new floors or couch cushions. Obsessive behaviors start somewhere usually when we aren't looking. Anxiety does strange things. If you saw these dogs one would never think they would do be up to the naughtiness at older ages.

    Once it’s done, it’s done though. Step back and take it from ground zero looking at routines. How about some toys that require some thinking. Feeding from Kong wobbler in a “safe” room or crate for example, feeding out of a buster cube or tug a jug. Maybe a pizzle stick to chew on when you leave. You have to be as creative as they are in coming up with stuff as an alternative chew and puppy proof (even adult dogs) human living areas.

    Your personal stress relief by yelling will just create more stress for the dog and maybe when you are not looking possibly even more chewing. Often chewing becomes habituated at particular times so it would be good to know when pup gets more active and starts searching around for stress relief and stuff to do. Usually that's 30 minutes after you leave and within the hour before one comes home. If you can have someone look in on him at odd times making it unpredictable this could help ferret out odd patterns. How about a Manners Minder you can program. See behaviorist Sophia Yin on that.

    Best of luck to you
    Snf
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2014-03-05 16:06:54
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Thanks so much for all the suggestions. I left Quake with another toy puzzle this morning as well as other toys and he seemed happy. I was also really happy when I told him to be a wonderful little boy and to guard the condo while Mommy went to work. I tell him this every morning. I will also try the Adaptil. I am also very careful to make sure to get home at about the same time every day which is something he likes. Yesterday I got home and he was fine (nothing chewed up) and we went out for a wonderful walk of 40 minutes and then later for another walk of 30 minutes. I am showering him with lots of petting and praise for being a wonderful little boy. I adore Quake and I know this is just a phase. You guys are so right that I need to be creative in coming up with alternative stuff for him to chew. I will be buying him some bully sticks too!
  • hypeunothypeunot
    Posts: 25


    My dog Quake was neutered three weeks ago. He is 2-1/2 years old


    @Antoinette, please may I know why you decided to neuter Quake. My vet asked me to neuter Tomo when he was six months old. Tomo is now seven months old and I would like to hold this off till he's at least a year old. And then maybe never if he has no behavioural issues that may be due him being intact.

  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @hypeunot

    Is there any reason why you want to keep your Shiba intact?
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    @hypeunot-I decided to have Quake neutered because he was being targeted by other male dogs. He was attacked by a Bull Mastiff last December and managed to get away but was bitten twice around the hip area down to the muscle. Our vet told us that intact male dogs are often attacked by other male dogs. In addition, I live in Washington, DC in a condo building and one of my neighbors three doors down has a female dog age six years that is not spayed. Every time the female dog was in heat Quake would be super anxious.
  • hypeunothypeunot
    Posts: 25
    @Bootz
    I'm afraid that neutering may affect Tomo's temperament.

    My family had two male dogs, one after another, when I was young. They were not neutered. The first was a GSD and the second (mixed breed) was a very mild and sweet tempered dog. We had no issues with them being intact.
    However, the temperament of my ex-neighbour's dog seemed to have turned for the worse after being sprayed. It became nervy and unpredictable.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8582
    @hypeunot - Making assumptions on the dog's behaviour because of him being neutered/spayed is silly. It is more likely that other events in the dog's life cause his anxiety issues such as not being socialized or having some sort of trauma.

    Generally speaking, if you are not breeding (responsibly) or showing, you should neuter your dog once he is mature (with Shibas, generally between 8 months and a year).
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
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  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    @hypeunot-My son bought Quake from the previous owner when Quake was 14 months old. My son irresponsibly in my opinion refused to have Quake neutered saying that Quake's personality would change. My son gave Quake to me three months ago and I am glad that I had Quake neutered. Right now we are going through the post neuter hormonal stage but I feel confident that Quake will be fine. It is very important to note that the older a dog is when neutered the more possibility for complications during or after the surgery. My vet told me she had to cut into the muscle because Quake was older (2-1/2 years) when neutered. I feel bad that Quake had to go through additional pain because my son had refused to get him neutered when he was younger.
    @sunyata-I agree with you.
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    hypeunot said:

    @Bootz
    I'm afraid that neutering may affect Tomo's temperament.



    ...no.
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  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Quake's hormones seem to be stabilizing. Yesterday it was a month since he was neutered. His chewing on things other than his toys has stopped. For a week now he has been chewing on his toys and not on any furniture or other items that are not his toys!!! He is still more vocal about guarding the condo and barks loudly whenever a dog walks by but I do not react because I know he's just trying to protect me.
  • euphaireeuphaire
    Posts: 347

    @It is very important to note that the older a dog is when neutered the more possibility for complications during or after the surgery. My vet told me she had to cut into the muscle because Quake was older (2-1/2 years) when neutered. I feel bad that Quake had to go through additional pain because my son had refused to get him neutered when he was younger.


    Due to breeder contract i will not be able to neuter my shiba until maybe 3.5-4 years old. This is the first time i heard of this and that makes me a little worried :(

  • TrishTrish
    Posts: 271
    @euphaire Wow! That is very strange... is your breeder using your shiba in their breeding program? I've never seen a contract requesting that unless they were planning to borrow the dog for breeding.

    @Antoinette I am glad you are seeing some improvements with Quake and I hope it continues!

    I am getting Oliver neutered next month at the age of 11 months. After reading this thread it looks like I will be preparing myself for any regressions in our training together.
  • @trish - it happens if a breeder places a semi-retired show dog with someone they already know and trust (this is a breeder with whom @euphaire has already had a relationship). If the line is a particularly valued one, the breeder is more apt to ask the companion home not to neuter. This is also likely the case if the breeder doesn't think that the boy is a good match for any of the girls in their program but would like to preserve the lines and see if they can find a good match in the future. It's relatively rare because it requires a lot of trust between the breeder and the individual.
  • TrishTrish
    Posts: 271
    @violet_in_seville thank you shedding more light on that! That is very interesting and I definitely understand why a high level of trust would be required. Thank you again :)
  • Age of neutering is always a compromise: too early is bad for the developement of the young puppy, but there can a mild chance of more complications in an older dog (but usually the chance of complications is still slim). I have no idea why a vet would have to "cut the muscle" to neuter, unless one of the testicles had not descended or something like that, and in that case, it would have nothing to do with age. (That's a very puzzling statement in general, and I can't quite figure out what that would mean anyway.....)

    I neutered one of my males at 6 months, and two at 1 year. I saw no difference in behavior in the earlier neuter vs. the older neuter, and frankly, didn't see any difference in behavior really at all, except for changes to sex related behavior: my adult males (neutered at 1 year) stopped licking the pee up from my female, thankfully, and the Kai Ken stopped his insane marking (he was peeing on people!) Otherwise, I didn't see many changes at all.

  • I think this may be a good place for this question.

    In general, Winston is pretty good about not chewing things he is not supposed to. He has plenty (PLENTY) of toys, of varying textures, and leaves most everything alone..

    except for this damn ottoman.

    For some reason, he is obsessed with killing one particular ottoman. We stored toys in it for a short period, but stopped in hopes that the chewing would stop too. (it didn't) We also kept toys in another ottoman, which he doesn't have a fixation with. This was months ago. He goes after the lid primarily, and seems to fixate on grinding away the wood circle. No matter what methods we used (including bitter apple), he will insist on destroying this ottoman.

    Are there any other homemade repellants that work for you guys besides bitter apple? (which he seems to stubbornly tolerate?) He also has a drywall chewing issue that we'd love to nip in the bud, as well as a good way to teach him to stop mouthing our guests so much. (He means it in play but it doesn't come off well).

    In addition, any insight as to why this particular ottoman is on his "must destroy" list would be helpful.

    Thanks guys!
  • NikkitineNikkitine
    Posts: 776
    Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar worked for us. I think your ottoman is just really tasty to him.
    image
  • @Shiba_surprise Do you use time outs with Winston?

    With Ham, for a while it was a section of the carpet in the living room that he was fixated on. If he tried to chew in that spot, he would go to time out. He would be in time out for about a minute or so (not including time if he's crying), then I'll let him out.

    If he immediately does it again, he goes back in time out for five minutes. Then fifteen if he still doesn't understand. Ham really loves being able to roam the apartment (mostly my room and the living room), and having that privilege taken away for a few minutes has been a good deterrent for him. Since it's harder to reward him for 'not chewing the ottoman' or 'not chewing the carpet.' But if Ham is sitting nicely near the area but not chewing the carpet, I'll reward him for that.

    This is also how I got Ham to not bite on me as much.

    When Ham would mouth on me or guests first we'd tell him no, we would also try to redirect him to a toy to bite on. If he directed himself to the toy to bite on, I would reward him.

    But if he continues to mouth, we do a 'soft mode' time out. For this we simply withdraw our attention from him, stand up face away from him and fold in our arms. If he still continues, he goes to full on time out in his time out area.

    For Ham, he gets so excited that it's hard for him to pay attention/listen even when I try to tell him that he's playing too rough. A time out gives him time to compose himself so we can continue to have a good time. Even on walks we take a time out where we do a lie down, and wait for 3-5 mins.

    I read a lot about puppy time outs on Shiba Shake, but I'm not sure which post of hers it was.
  • @Justifiedgaines Time outs sound like a great idea, but one that does puzzle us a bit in it's application. Catching Winston to take him anywhere is a arduous task, and I'm afraid if it takes 5 minutes to catch him to put him in timeout, he won't remember what the time out was for.

    But thank you for the recommendations! If needed, we'll see if we may need to start trying short time outs - if we can catch him! ;)
  • @Shiba_surprise Aah,

    Ham has relatively good recall. If he gets into trouble, I can tell him to go to his crate and he'll go.

    Also, he usually has a leash attached to his collar when he's in the house near stuff that he has a history of getting into trouble with. It's easier to grab the leash than it is to grab Ham!

    I haven't had to grab the leash much lately, I did a lot of work with Ham to get him used to me grabbing him by the collar. So if I reach for his collar, he typically doesn't budge, then I pick him up and take him to time out.

    But just put a leash on his collar or harness, it'll make catching him super easy!
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    @Shiba_Surprise - I would recommend training Winston with a crate command so that no matter what, you can get him in there as soon as possible.

    Although Kira no longer needs a crate as often, her crate command is "Go To Jail" and she immediately goes to it when she's told.
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  • @kira_kira , @Justifiedgaines

    Looks like we missed that particular bit of training until now! I assume it goes similar to the come command, where you say the phrase whenever you put him in the crate, and praise him for it?

    In addition, we are trying a new vinegar based repellant, but we should definitely work on these commands so the spray is more of a side help than our main defense against those chompers.

    Thanks!
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    @Shiba_Surprise - that's exactly how you instill the command. I heavily treated in the beginning in conjunction with a verbal praise "YES" (or whatever you prefer). This allows that you not always have to give a treat when the behavior is followed but still give affirmation that he does what you want with verbal praise.

    Edit: So many typos :(
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    Post edited by Kira_Kira at 2015-07-14 10:11:03
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    I was reading back through my posts regarding Quake's destructive chewing on furniture after his neuter and feel so happy that his destructive chewing only lasted about a month after the neuter until his hormones calmed down. After that he got back to being my adorable non-destructive Quakey boy. I look back on that period and am so glad to have had the support of this Forum!

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