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Thread: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

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    Newbie emmaandchubbs's Avatar
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    Default Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    Hello!

    I'm brand new here and am looking for help with my 10 month old English Bulldog puppy, Chubbs. He is a very sweet, happy boy, loves going on walks and is fairly easygoing around people, other dogs, out in public, etc. The issues I'm having happen when we are at home. I realized that the problems are my fault for setting up bad patterns and rewarding him for negative behaviour, but I'm not sure how to break the cycle!
    Normally, Chubbs is outside by himself for most of the day in our large backyard. I bring him inside and/or play with him outside a few times throughout the day, but he mostly just sleeps out there. He isn't destructive, doesn't bark, chew, or dig.

    In the evening I take him for a 30 minute walk, after which he is exhausted (I guess bulldogs don't have much stamina--not like the labrador I had as a kid!). He naps for a bit while I make dinner, or watches me. Generally, if I'm up and cooking, cleaning, or milling about he's pretty content to watch me or occasionally play with a toy.

    As soon as I sit down, though--whether to eat dinner or watch TV in the living room--he wants to play. Normally I'll play for a minute or two, tug-of-war, tossing a toy for him to chase, etc., but when I stop playing he gets destructive. He will chew the furniture or jump on it to try to grab things he's not supposed to have. I'll tell him 'no!' and then try to ignore him so as not to reward his bad behaviour, but he keeps getting into things, I keep telling him 'no!' etc. I'll try to distract him with toys, which works for a bit if I play with him, but he's not super into toys if he's playing by himself most of the time. He gets bored easily and then goes back to chewing furniture. I tried spraying that Bitter stuff on the furniture, but he actually likes it and licks it off like it's a condiment or something.... *sigh*

    The other problem is that he sometimes gets mouthy. Often it's when my husband is wrestling with him, or if I'm playing with his toys. He never actually bites, more like just opens his mouth and grazes his teeth against you, but in a playful, non-agressive way. I try when he does this to immediately stop playing the game, but it really doesn't seem like he's 'getting' the connection between him mouthing and the game stopping.

    He also does occasionally open-mouth-graze if I don't play with him when he wants to play, or if I have him by the collar and am taking him to bed, etc. Again, he never bites, or even growls, he's more just 'annoyed' if that makes sense. But, it really needs to stop.

    Other than these issues he's a very sweet boy, it's just hard to relax and have him inside at night because this bad behaviour gets annoying. Plus, I feel that it's just this negative cycle of me yelling and him ignoring me... I need help! Thanks in advance for your input!

    -Emma

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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    Well first off, I'm not sure where you live but I would not leave him outside, that's a good way for them to get too hot and die, even if it's in the mid 70's outside. Plus not to mention someone steeling him. That being said, with the biting, he is bored and they love to chew. Just keep plenty of chew toys available, no rawhides, pig ears, or bully sticks. When he is chewing on you just tell him "NO" and give him a chew toy. Same goes for when he chews on the furniture, but you have to catch him in the act to correct it. Just be patient, as this too will pass.
    Have a Great Bully Day.
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    Newbie emmaandchubbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    Good to hear you think it will pass with time. I work from home so if it gets too warm I can bring him inside--I live in CA so it's very mild weather, but I'll be careful (our yard is padlocked).

    I have been doing basically what you describe--when I catch him chewing, I say 'No' and try to distract him with a toy, but first off he doesn't really go for nylabones or other chew type toys to relieve that chewing drive, and second I think the chewing furniture is because he wants me to give him attention... it's like, I'll massage him and play with him for half an hour, but it's never enough, because as soon as I stop he walks over to chew something he's not supposed to, so I get a toy to distract him, and the cycle starts again. He's training me to keep playing with him! I like to play with him but I mean there's a point where he needs to just lay down or go play with toys on his own, right?

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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    Welcome! My boy Otis does the same thing - I can leave a pair of boots on the floor forever and he wont touch them but the minute I am watching something on TV and he wants to play and I'm not right there to oblige he will grab my boots and the chase is on.....drives me nuts!

    Do you have a crate for him in the house?

    Otis too has the biting issues but he actualy plays too rough at times, to calm him down or stop any behavior he's doing that we dont like we put him on his leash and the other end to a door knob and tell him to behave and lay down. Once he calms down he comes off the leash and we go round and round til he gets it.

    Also wanted to mention chew wise if he doesnt like toys what about deer antlers of bones from the grocery store in the meat dept to steer him away from the furniture.

    I'm sure more will come on with other great ideas....good luck!

    Would love to see a photo!
    Otis you'll never know how much I love you I love you more then all the leaves on all the trees

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    Newbie emmaandchubbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    Thanks so much for your advice!

    I'll definitely try the 'time out' approach. We have a crate for him but he doesn't like it (plays you-can't-catch-me and then plays dead when I do every time it's time to go to bed... he's such a crack up!), so I don't want to use it for the time out... the leash/door thing sounds like a good option, though!

    I'll have to see about grocery store bones, I know he'd love that (he love people food of course haha)--what kind of bones are safe for them? beef I'm assuming? Any kind in particular I could ask/look for?

    Thanks again! And your Otis is adorbs!!

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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    Welcome to the world of bullyhood!
    Biting: Stay persistant, calm and redirect as much as possible. When Bogey will not redirect, he gets put in his crate for a "time out". This helps immensely! When he gets bored or tired, then the fangs of satan appear, and we go on high alert!! So, I try to keep him busy so boredom does not set in. I got one of those puzzle toys that you put treats in- he loves it! At night, when I want to relax, he is allowed on our couch. If he gets mouthy with me, I offer him a special bone (its like a nylabone) that he gets only at that time. that usually settles him down and he is content to sit with me and chew on his bone. If he does not settle down, off the couch he goes and he is on his own. If he has a lot of energy, I give him a marrow bone on his play mat. (never on my couch- they are messy!) For bones to buy at the supermarket- marrow bones are great- keep them in the freezer and give it to him frozen. I have also purchased lamb femurs and thick bison knuckles at pet stores that sell raw foods. They are in the freezer secition and they are big with only a little meat on them but Bogey loves to gnaw on them. Good luck!
    "We never really own a dog as much as they own us!"

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    Newbie emmaandchubbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    You guys are awesome! Thanks soooo much! I'll definitely be making a trip to the store today to try to find some yummy/fun/interesting bones and toys for him. I think if his toys are better maybe he wont get so mad when playtime with me is over

    How old is Bogey? He's so cute, I love the white on his face!

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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    Quote Originally Posted by emmaandchubbs View Post
    You guys are awesome! Thanks soooo much! I'll definitely be making a trip to the store today to try to find some yummy/fun/interesting bones and toys for him. I think if his toys are better maybe he wont get so mad when playtime with me is over

    How old is Bogey? He's so cute, I love the white on his face!
    This is typical bully puppyhood. When I had duchess in puppy school the instructor said to use listerine. Rub listerine on whatever he isn't suppose to chew on then in his mouth tell him no and redirect with a toy! It is not harmful and they hate the taste as much as we do. This curbed the biting chewing in about a week. She is now 10.5 months and ONLY chews her toys. I strongly encourage you to try this! Good luck!

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    Newbie emmaandchubbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    Listerine is a great idea. Hope it wont hurt my furniture... although, I doubt it could do more damage than Chubbies' teeth! haha. Thanks for the tip!

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    Lots of great advise. Sounds a lot like Colonal. ADHD yet he is 2 yrs old and anytime he gets left outside longer then I think they should be (Im usually at work) he comes in with a mood of lets destroy everything. You need to make the crate his best friend I always tell the dogs bed or go to your box and they all high tail it.. The crate is your friend :-)

    I have found even when Im home all day he ends up chilling under my desk or on a doggie bed. Some dogs don't like being outside for a long period of time even weather permitting.

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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    Im new on this forum as well and am dealing with almost the same problem. Chief is only 12 weeks old but he likes to chew on everything he sees and bite me whenever he gets a chance which Im sure is his way of playing. I try to buy him chew toys but he has a short attention span with toys. One thing I just figured out to keep his attention and keep him occupied is show that you are about to give him a treat but put it in an old shoe that you can tie up and make the hole fairly small (the ole Chuck Taylor sneakers are perfect for this and its what I used). He'll smell the treat inside the shoe and play with it for awhile trying to get the treat out of the shoe.

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    Default Re: Puppy chewing and mouthing - help please!!

    I am a brand new Bulldog owner. Bonnie is 10 weeks old and when we got her 2 weeks ago, she was chewing and biting everything....including all of us. I did a lot of research, as this behavior is maddening. The best advice I found was actually from Ceser Milan (The Dog Whisperer). He says you have to talk the language the puppy (or dog) will understand. After all, that is what the puppy is trying to do with you, with the nipping...that is how puppies interact. So, after trying the "No", ignoring her, etc, etc for the first week (none of which worked), I tried taking Cesar's advice.

    What I did was when Bonnie started to nip I very quickly, loudly (Bark, growl combination) and forcibly (within reason of course, I don't want to hurt her) took her to her side with my face going towards the back of her neck and my hand grabbing the back of neck area. I then looked her straight in the eyes and growled as she submitted (which she did immediately). I then let her up and ignored her.

    She sat still in utter shock (it was actually very funny to see this behavior)...it was like, what the hell, where did you come from....was that an Alpha I just encountered. Indeed she had, and she knew it and she understood it. She did not nip at me. I ignored her for a little bit then gave her the chew toy which she began happily playing with. Five or ten minutes late she came to me, rather cautiously, and licked my hand, sniffed, but no nipping.

    It was a remarkable change. I still do some re-enforcement of it now and then. Normally now I just have to growl and she stops (whatever she is mouthing). She certainly doesn't nip anywhere like she use to. Even when she does do it now, it is really softly.

    I have read a lot of forums in a lot of places about this behavior and how it is driving bulldog puppy owners crazy. I thought it would be helpful to share my approach. I am not a dog trainer, I am a first time Bulldog owner and I too was going crazy with this constant nipping and biting. The solution, turned out to be very easy....but, you have take complete control when you do it and be forceful (again, don't hurt your puppy...you can do this without hurting her/him). It took my daughter a few times to get the hang of it. But Bonnie no longer nips or bites at her also.

    Hope this will be helpful to some other newbies like myself.

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