Need Ideas to Solve Dog Dilemma

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by Peacock, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

    Apr 12, 2006
    SW Ohio
    I have two large dogs, a 5 year old GSD (Maverick) and a 1.5 year old Lab mix (Rocky). Bear with me here, as I'm still a relatively new dog owner (Got Rocky first, as a pup, and Maverick joined us in April). So what may seem obvious to you isn't so clear to me.

    They're both very happy here since we have a big fenced area for them to run around. They spend most of their days outside and on our back porch, which is usually left open for them. Even when it's cold, the porch is fairly sheltered and they can lay on rugs. When it's bitterly cold, yes, I bring them in, but that's not usually an issue. So whenever they want they can run in and out, play with each other, bark at the neighbor's cat, etc.

    Then at night, they both sleep in crates in our lower-level family room.

    The problem is that when it rains, our yard gets very muddy in spots, and Maverick (the GSD) LOOOOVES to play in the mud. Boy oh boy does he get filthy! Rocky stays pretty clean.

    Maverick doesn't like to be indoors. He's gotten better about it over the months we've had him, but still prefers to be outside and gets quite anxious after a while. He gets very upset at our cats, too. Rocky, unsupervised, tends to chew on things. Toys, chair legs, the firewood stacked by the hearth, shoes, whatever. Yes, we give him rawhide to chew on. It works for a little while, but if Rocky feels ignored he'll sneak off and find a toy or a slipper to see if we'll notice before he destroys it.

    So when it's raining, we keep them on the back porch and let them out occasionally to do their business, but call them back in before Mav has a chance to get muddy.

    Maverick is well-behaved on the porch. He watches the windows carefully, barks a lot, plays with his Kong, and snoozes. Rocky is BAAAAD. Rocky has chewed up the arm of our new resin wicker loveseat, ripped the buttons off the loveseat cushion, and today he tore apart Maverick's bed.

    I know Rocky is bored. We try to spend time with them, especially on rainy days -- they're just like kids, of course -- but this isn't always possible. I mean, you know, I have work to do! I can't spend my whole day playing with the dogs. They have plenty of toys and they have each other, so it can't be too bad for them.

    I could leave the porch open even in the rain and let Maverick get muddy as he wants, then just wash him off before he comes in for the night - we do this often. He gets the porch muddy too, but it's not difficult to clean. But that doesn't solve the problem, because Rocky doesn't want to go out in the rain anyway. Even if the door's open, he'd rather stay inside and chew up the furniture.

    Ideas? thanks!
  2. Cashs Cowgirl

    Cashs Cowgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 26, 2006
    Lots and lots of expensive hard to chew, chew toys! Very large bones and bully sticks...your just gonna have to spend the money on those to keep him from chewing everything else...oh and hit the thrift shop for bags of stuffed animals for cheap. Just take off any plastic parts that he could swallow.

  3. cricket

    cricket Well-Known Member

    Dec 15, 2004
    South, South Alabama
    Yup...LOTS of chewies. I would also get fluffies that he can rip apart and disembowl. You might also consider crating him on the porch or whenever he is out of your sight. When he is "free", tether him to you at all times until you can trust him. When he comes off of the tether, he should still remain in the same vicinity as you. Otherwise you will never get over this stage. You have to outwit him and not ever give him the opportunity to be bad.
  4. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    Labs are chewers. Bored dogs can be chewers. You have a bored lab. Get some raw bones. Big enough they can't swallow, but small enough to be carried. Give each dog a bone, but Mav may prefer to have his outside. You will probably have to seperate the dogs when they have bones if they can't be outside, so consider letting Mav inside, either in the kitchen or his crate.

    Both of these dogs need mental stimulation. THis doesn't mean you have to play with them all day. If you "work" each dog for ten minutes a day, he will be able to use his mind as well as his body. Work them on obedience, together and seperately, teach them new things. Hide objects in the yard and have them go find the objects. Run them through obedience, as though you were putting them in the obedience ring. Teach them tricks (high five, roll over, jump over an obstacle, speak, kiss, etc. If they know some fun tricks and games your children will be able to play with them. Hiding and finding objects is a good kid and dog game.
  5. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 19, 2006
    northcentral MN
    The one and only toy my springer would play with was a gallon milk jug with a short piece of rope tied to the handle. On the other end of the rope was some surgical tubing. It was tied to an overhead branch or the ceiling of the garage. She would tug on it and then let it go. Run over and grab and tug some more. It would keep her busy for 1/2 hour or more and she was a dog that didn't even like rawhide chew toys.
  6. NCGirl

    NCGirl Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Obedience, formal or for fun tracking, finding hidden things... something to stimulate and tire the mind. A (mentally) tired dog is a good dog. If that doesn't help, the crate.
  7. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    southern New Jersey
    These are all good suggestions. One thing, it is unusual that the GSD is the one who plays in the mud, not the lab - most times, this would be reversed!
    It is true that young Labs are notorious chewers. I have heard stories in the past of furniture destroyed, holes chewed through walls, etc, almost always involving a Labrador. See if you can find some of those large, pre-cooked cattle bones with marrow, sometimes they are basted in a beef coating. Our animal feed store sells them, they are really BIG, but dogs love the feel of chewing a real bone. Probably some people here will say don't give them a real bone, but if you can find those really big ones, he shouldn't be able to splinter it very easily. You might also have to temporarily remove the furniture from the porch, make it so that the only thing on the porch available to chew are things you WANT him to chew! Good luck!
  8. housewife

    housewife Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2006
    Southern Ontario Canada
    Every one has made great sujestions can't really add to them but to tell you Rocky will grow out of most of it. Our lab didn't do mud either LOL our big brave water dog hated to get her feet muddy!! I would remove the furniture on the porch and remember to catch him doing good, other wise he will be after negative attention. Good Luck