Monday, May 4, 2009
To Kong or Not to Kong
Dogs can exhibit behaviors when they are pups that should be corrected so they live a happy, secure and anxiety free life. Puppies can chew for many reasons, whether they are just bored, teething, or anxious about being alone. There are many suggestions and they all require persistence, repetition and time. It’s natural for dogs to chew and most articles suggested redirection.
In an article by Deb Duncan, a canine behaviorist suggests plenty of chew toys and an apple bitter spray. She encourages positive dog training by stressing to avoid getting upset when you find your dog has chewed on something they weren’t supposed to chew on. Similarly in an article by Ian Dunbar, animal behaviorist and dog trainer based in Berkeley, California, he encourages teaching the dog ‘how to entertain himself in your absence vs. punishment’. He suggests using ‘instant gratification’ and ‘passive training’. Fill a kong with treats that are difficult to get out and they will be more interested in getting the treat out of the hollow opening. Some dogs may not be as easily swayed. Something that the dogs like, such as cheese or peanut butter may be used to peek their interest in the toy if they seem uninterested. Ian suggests passive training such as confining them to an area away from the chewing location while redirecting their chewing. Some dogs are more stubborn than others. I had a behaviorist come out to visit my poodle when I was having issues with him digging in the potted plants, among other things. Because of his extreme case of separation anxiety he suggested blowing pepper in his face if catching him digging in the plants. He also suggested putting the pepper around the area to associate it with the object that is being destroyed encouraging him to stay away. The trainer also suggested hot sauce on his tongue when he was disciplined for tearing up the plants. The hot sauce didn’t work but the pepper was pretty affective.
Some dogs take longer than others to train. Most of the time they just need more activity. Our pet sitting services can help your dog(s) get more exercise. With a little bit of persistence you can make sure that you and your dog can live together in harmony.