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I have two 2-year old Jack Russells. They love to chew our furniture.  I started crate training them when they were small but they hated their crates.  Now they stay in the living room while we are working.  I have doggy doors for them to go in and out as they need hoping this would keep them from getting bored.  I don't think it is boredom but rather they start to play and then one starts playing with the furniture.  They never do it while we are at home so I do not know which one is the culprate.  Any tips on how to prevent the chewing?  Thank you.

Answer

Hi Wanda,

I'll have to disagree with you. I think the reason your dogs chew the furniture is out of boredom. Dogs who are bored are more likely get into trouble when left alone.

Your dogs are young and active, and even though they have a dog door to get outside, it's obviously not enough exercise and mental stimulation for them. They probably have a routine outside and get far less exercise than you think they get. Behavior problems such as chewing (and worse!) are nearly always the result when a dog isn't getting enough mental stimulation and exercise.

The Jack Russell is a very active breed. At a minimum they need two brisk 30 minute walks each day. Having access to a fenced yard isn't a substitute for leashed walks. Before you leave your dogs for the day, they need a good long leashed walk or run in a park, or running after a ball or chasing a fresbee. This is the very best way to use up their extra energy. When you leave them in the morning, you should be leaving behind dogs that are panting and totally knocked out tired. A well exercised dog will be calmer when left alone, they'll spend more time sleeping than chewing! Walks are more than an opportunity for your dogs to go to the bathroom, they're also allow for mental stimulation and of course it's exercise.

Along with the increased exercise, give your dogs something to do with all the time they have on their "hands". If you provide them with something to do, they will be less likely to find things to do (such as chewing your furniture). If you don't do this you've got a couple of marathon athletes who are BORED and looking for stuff to do to meet their mental needs.

Get a couple of dog toys such as Kong or BusterCube that you fill with food. Your dog will have to work to get the food out. For a dog, it's the same as a difficult crossword puzzle or a math problem. And when they're done, they'll probably lie down and sleep. This is high-level mental entertainment! When you come home clean them, and put these special toys away. If your dogs always has access to them, they won't be as captivating for that special time, when they're alone.

Stuff the toys with different things to keep it exciting, such as their regular food, peanut butter, bits of cheese or hot dog. You can even freeze the stuffed toy to make it harder on your dogs to remove the food. Read more about Kong toys here:

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/how-stuff-kon

Another good way of occupying your dogs time during the day is to measure out your dogs dry kibble and throw it into the grassy area, making sure to spread it as far as possible. Allow your dogs to see you doing this. Do this only if you don't use pesticides or fertilizers or other poisons on your lawn. Again, this isn't a substitute for leashed walks or runs.

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,

Patti  

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Patti

Expertise

To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.

Experience

My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

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Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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