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Dog Training/Separation Anxiety Expressed by Chewing

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QUESTION: Hi Chris,
My wife and I recently rescued a young female Rottweiler. We have had her for three weeks. This makes our fourth Rottie over a span of twenty five years. Typically the breed is characterized by a calm steady disposition which makes them relatively easy to work with. But this one is wild and unruly. We immediately got to work on obedience commands. She house trained in 2-3 days. She learned sit and stay in one two hour session. What we can't retrain is her disposition. We believe she is roughly a year and a half old and that the previous owner kept her in a cage and neglected her. She walks in tight counter-clockwise circles.

We now have her on a great nutrition plan. We exercise her every day. We give her lots of love and attention. Whenever we can we either stay with her in the garage (there is a TV out there) or we bring her into the living room on a lead and with a chew toy; but we can't get her to calm down. For the past week she is on Prozac, but when left alone she still wants to chew anything in sight.  We can't introduce her to the house due to her hyper-stimulated state; so she is in our three car garage with the vehicles removed. Since she still is able to reach items and destroy them so we now have her on a 20 foot lead inside the garage.

Chris, we are beside ourselves, we don't know what the next step should be. Everyone says get a crate but my wife refuses to put her back in a cage. We looked at muzzles so that at least we could take her off the lead but most of the muzzles look like cruel and unusual punishment. She has a lot going for her, she is the prettiest Rottweiler we have ever had and she has no aggression issues. She is sweet to us and gets along well with other dogs and people. So, how do we stop this dog's chewing and calm her down.

If you want more insight, she has a blog.

rottweilerdiamondsjourney.blogspot.com

Please let us know your thoughts

ANSWER: This will probably take some homework. How does she respond to being scolded.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I can not rate this answer as there is no answer.  You asked how she reacts to scolding.  This is Yvonne, Rob's wife. I have been doing most of the training so it is appropriate for me to answer your question.  I try not to scold, but do say NO in a loud voice, if she pulls on the leash I stop pull up and tell her STOP, STAY until she stops pulling the I say GO.  I will keep doing this until she listens and then treat her.  She mouths us, not bite, but will take our hand or arm in her mouth and will gently mouth which is a show of dominance.  I say NO and roll her lip in on her own teeth and press softly and say NO.  She is learning.  It took only two days to potty train her and 2 1/2 hours to teach her sit, stay and break, all done with a treat.  I have scolded her when I can catch her chewing, whether that is the work bench or the wall and wood work, I will sometimes use the end of her lead and slap her on the chest (not hard) and tell her NO.  Actually it seems not to effect her one way or the other.  Because she was crated for 1 1/2 years she has no social skills.  We have tried bitter apple, every chew toy your could buy, cow hoofs, femur bones, kong ball with treats inside.  This 100.00 rescue dog has cost us 600 dollars and we are now thinking of purchasing a crate (X-large) which we will use in the living room when we are watching television and next to our bed at night, instead of locking her in the basement on a 15 foot tie out.  I hate to tie her or crate her, but we are running out of patients and suggestions.  Someone told us to muzzle her when in the garage so she cannot chew, Sorry I cannot do that either.  If the Prozac does not work we are considering bringing her to Rotten Rotties a non kill rescue for Rottweilers only in Gilbert, Arizona.  We have tried everything.  Camie is a very affectionate dog and loves people and other animals.  Hopefully you can come up with an answer.  Our dead line is September 1st. I do not want to see her adopted by someone that does not have the time and patients to spend with Camie, worse yet would beat her or once again crate her.  Thank you for reading our concerns and we hope to hear back from you soon.  Yvonne Cole

Answer
It sounds like you have tried everything that you can. If you truly feel that it is separation anxiety then it will take much more work and may be instilled to the point that there is no correcting it. You have already provided the dog with the appropriate toys to chew on. The only thing is trying a firmer scolding. I am sorry that there is not more I can add. If you catch the dog scold them and then give them the right toy or item to chew on. If this does not work I don't know what to tell you.  

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Chris Cantrell

Expertise

Typically answer questions about basic obedience and search and rescue training for any types/breeds of dogs. I DO NOT answer questions regarding any health related issues. I DO NOT PROMISE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS OTHER THAN THE AREAS I HAVE LISTED. If you are going to ask a question I do expect to get sufficient information. I cannot make any promises that I can answer your question if it is a behavioral issue because you have to be around the animal to properly evaluate what the animal is or is not doing so do not expect a miracle through email.

Experience

Chief of local rescue squad. I have 2 trained K-9's. One is trained for live, cadaver and HRD. The second is trained for live search and in training currently for cadaver and HRD. Formerly trained Police K-9's for Patrol, protection and Narcotics.

Organizations
Alabama Association of Rescue Squads, North American Search Dog Alliance

Education/Credentials
NASAR, AARS, Alabama Fire College

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