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Hi everyone. 

 

 I just wanted to say first that I am so thankful for the insights offered here constantly. Reading other people's issues and solutions really helps me to put Jax's behaviour into perspective and helps me to be thankful for the things he is good at that not every pup is. Thanks to everyone's previous help, Jax settled beautifully for day naps and now self-settles at about 9/9:30 almost every night. He also sleeps in the living room without us, which behaviour he led himself and he's very relaxed with it. His barking is better and he has stopped getting so overstimulated.

 We have two problems I could use help with, one more urgently than the other.

 He has discovered the wonders of humping in the last 3-4 weeks: dog, person, and inanimate. 95% of the time he will listen to me and leave a person alone when we are walking, but the 5% that he sees someone he 'likes', if he is allowed to (it goes without saying I remove him from the situation immediately if he does) he is completely focused on humping and is quite rambunctious about it. He has to be taken away because he will not calm. If it's in the house he has to stay in another room the entire time that person is there.

Humping dogs is our real issue, though. He has very, very good recall, and I was confident in having him off lead for our very rural walks before this, but now he is on lead at all times. Around known dogs he is allowed to play, but with stranger's dogs I stopped allowing free play, as there was one occasion when he started to play hump another dog and quickly became manically overstimulated and they had to be physically separated and I felt he was distressing the other dog. I wanted to keep allowing greeting, but recently he has tried to hump other dogs during greeting and they have been let's say, pee'd off by this, but he doesn't moderate behaviour, and so we have stopped allowing greetings so as not to put other dogs in this position, which feels awful for his development. I need to know how to move forward with this, but I don't know where to start.

 His bed is a real issue now for this. I tried to let him work it out himself at first -- new hormones to get used to, teenage stuff, and all that. But he can't really hump it, he just flips it over and over and quickly becomes frustrated so he progresses to trying to rip it, and he rips things -so fast-. I then tried requesting "leave it", which worked the first week, then quickly escalated to him leaving the bed for shorter and shorter periods (even though leave with other things remains successful). Now I remove the bed from the room the first time he starts to fuss with it, and only bring it back in when he has calmed down, but it's at the point where I take the bed away within a minute of bringing it back. At night I have to wait for him to fall asleep on the floor or chair before I can reinstate the bed otherwise I'm worried he'll just have to sleep on the floor all night or shred the bed.

 Speaking of destruction -- I feel this is where I'm totally lost. He has started to destroy everything he can. There were a few months where he seemed to get that only toys were fair game but in the last few weeks he has destroyed countless objects and he now destroys the van when left alone for short periods. (We have a camper for work, he has always been more comfortable in that than left at home before now, and usually would mainly sleep or watch the world go by calmly) I left him yesterday morning for 30 minutes with a tripe filled bone (early when he is normally napping) and he chewed through a leather seat cover and a seat belt, leaving the tripe untouched. I did very nearly cry. I can't afford to replace these things and I need the seat belt.

 Already in the last week he's chewed through the dashboard plastic, the window opener, the rubber runner for the window, bits of the woodwork in the van... I took furniture out of the rooms we use because he started to annihilate anything that he could, so he just pressed his face to walls and chewed them, dug the carpet... We haven't changed routine in this time except he's now allowed longer walks, so I assume it's linked to his hormones, but I'm at the stage where I can't afford to replace the things he destroys and I'm out of options for where to leave him. I  He's in the office with me today and we stop once an hour for 10 minutes to play tug or simple training and I treat him passively for relaxing or choosing his own toy/settling on the bed, but he will try to tear up bits of the floor even when he's right next to his favourite treat if I stop watching for more than a minute. He's on his lead now as I can't let him back in the van and he can't be left at home. I know these things are never a quick fix but I need to start doing something I feel will help as now I feel very helpless and it is definitely putting strain on my attitude to one-on-one puppy time which was up until recently a joy for me.

 

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My boy actually learned the command ‘No Hump’.  After his first birthday, the best gift I gave both of us was to get him neutered.  It slowed but did not stop that behavior.  Every time he starts humping, I make him stop.  Every. Time.  I have learned to see the intent and give the command before he gets going.  Good luck.

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A) If you're not already giving him structured activity with you, start. Teach him silly tricks, obedience commands, etc. If you are thinking about doing agility or other dog sports with him see if you can find a basics class. 

B) Work with a trainer if you find yourself overwhelmed. Yes, most of it seems like common sense, but a good trainer can see what you're doing that's not helpful and 'train' you while you train your dog.

C) If you're already doing one or both of the above, crate him, as GL suggested. Take him out of his crate for exercise and fun. If  you like, you can use an x-pen, (basically an inside fence that is easily stored and can be moved from location to location.

D) No off leash activities period. With time you may be able to resume them but

E) The excessive chewing of EVERYTHING sounds extreme to me. Get him to the vet, have his mouth checked for bad teeth or other problems. Consider a veterinary behaviorist if you can find one. 

Good luck.

Ruth & Gibbs

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8 minutes ago, urge to herd said:

A) If you're not already giving him structured activity with you, start. Teach him silly tricks, obedience commands, etc. If you are thinking about doing agility or other dog sports with him see if you can find a basics class. 

B) Work with a trainer if you find yourself overwhelmed. Yes, most of it seems like common sense, but a good trainer can see what you're doing that's not helpful and 'train' you while you train your dog.

C) If you're already doing one or both of the above, crate him, as GL suggested. Take him out of his crate for exercise and fun. If  you like, you can use an x-pen, (basically an inside fence that is easily stored and can be moved from location to location.

D) No off leash activities period. With time you may be able to resume them but

E) The excessive chewing of EVERYTHING sounds extreme to me. Get him to the vet, have his mouth checked for bad teeth or other problems. Consider a veterinary behaviorist if you can find one. 

Good luck.

Ruth & Gibbs

Thank you for your help and advice. The teeth problem is an angle I didn't consider and I will definitely book in to see my vet and check. He has always enjoyed chewing but he suddenly seemed to "forget" everything I taught him about what to chew recently. I'm not sure how normal his level of enthusiasm for chewing is.

We do do silly tricks and clicker training, plus basic obedience. I find it hard to gauge when he's 'mentally satisfied' as it seems like he can just go and go -- for example learning a brand new trick like go around a cone in a direction, he will happily train until I run out of treats, he doesn't get frustrated or lose focus for anywhere up to 10+ minutes (although I limit as advised to just a few minutes normally).

I agree I would benefit from fresh eyes. I will try to find a trainer in my area, but we are so rural I'm not sure -- our closest puppy class was an hour's drive away.

 

43 minutes ago, GentleLake said:

One word for the destruction. Crate.

 

 I would love for this to be the solution but right now we are still working on positive association. From day one he hated the crate. After a week of sleepless pup nights we followed advice to let him cry it out -- he is just a pup and will get used to it -- but he cried for hours on and off the first night we tried "tough love" and after that wouldn't go near it even in the day. We had to start feeding in it, slowly working to touching the door while he was near it etc... We are working on making that better and he can now take naps in there/sleep in it at night if I'm in the room, but if I leave for too long (more than a few minutes right now) he goes back to square one. Maybe I'm messing something obvious up? I will buy a collapsible folding pen to try something fresh, but as he can jump our 5ft gate I didn't think it would stop him.

 

1 hour ago, 2bc4me said:

My boy actually learned the command ‘No Hump’.  After his first birthday, the best gift I gave both of us was to get him neutered.  It slowed but did not stop that behavior.  Every time he starts humping, I make him stop.  Every. Time.  I have learned to see the intent and give the command before he gets going.  Good luck.

Thank you! Maybe I do need a specific command, I will try -- preempting it seems to be key.

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You don't say how old your dog is but I'm guessing somewhere between a year and a year and a half?   If that's the case, the wild destruction may wane on its own in a few months.  I've read, and had this confirmed by my vet, that dogs go through two teething phases.  The first one is the one in which the teeth emerge through the gums, and lots of pups become compulsive chewers at that point, presumably because chewing relieves the discomfort of teeth poking through gum tissue.  And then teething is done, and many compulsive chewers become much less compulsive, or lose interest in chewing all together by the time they are about 9 months to a year old.  And then, just when you think it's safe to leave a shoe on the floor for a moment, dogs go through a second teething phase somewhere around 15 months, give or take a couple months.  This is the point at which the teeth are becoming fully anchored in the jaw bone. and lots of dogs will resume their constant need to chew for another month or two or three at this point.  Your dog certainly sounds more extreme than most, but, well, he is a border collie.  Anyway, out of the 10 dogs I've owned, two came to me as young adults, and 6 showed the pattern of becoming chewing monsters at about 5-6 months of age, then seemed to outgrow it, then one day when they were about 14-16 months old, suddenly needed to destroy my couch, carpet, shoes, whatever.  I'm a slow learner, but for my last two dogs, I've been pretty vigilant about keeping them crated when I couldn't directly supervise them until they were over 2 years old.

As for the humping...  Lots of times when people ask about what to do about dogs that constantly bark, they are advised to reach the dog to do the undesirable  behavior on command, and then teach an stop command as part of that.  So, uhm, maybe you want to teach your dog to hump on command, so that you can then teach him to stop???  Probably not.  But the concept amuses me.  Because I'm 12.

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@Hooper2 Thank you for the laugh! :lol: I too am 12. Also unfortunately Jax is 9 months as of Saturday so I'm not hopeful for second teething, however between your and @urge to herd comments I am definitely seeing a link between mouth issues and his behaviour. When he was puppy teething his mouthing was almost compulsive and he would just chew whatever was near his face. Last night he was leaning against the cabinet to watch me cook and just constantly putting the cabinet handle in his mouth almost without realising it. I will book him in to the vet and see what she says.

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April how does he respond when you pet him? If he relaxes even a tiny bit, you might be able to do some doggy massage and help him relax. If you do a search for 'dog massage' you should find some suggestions. Some dogs don't care for being petted, my experience is that most do.

I'd start with medium firm slow stroking from his shoulders to the base of his tail. Experiment with what works for him. I was a massage therapist for many years, and my old girl LOVED it when I 'practiced' on her.

Ruth & Gibbs

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3 hours ago, urge to herd said:

April how does he respond when you pet him? If he relaxes even a tiny bit, you might be able to do some doggy massage and help him relax. If you do a search for 'dog massage' you should find some suggestions. Some dogs don't care for being petted, my experience is that most do.

I'd start with medium firm slow stroking from his shoulders to the base of his tail. Experiment with what works for him. I was a massage therapist for many years, and my old girl LOVED it when I 'practiced' on her.

Ruth & Gibbs

Thank you for the advice. Sometimes petting overstimulates him, but yes, most times he does enjoy it - a good chest scratch seems to almost hypnotize him and he goes into this eyes-half-closed bliss :wub: I will definitely learn more about it and give it a try! That sounds like a very sweet way of creating calm.

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Is he stressed out? Or over simulated? Both can cause destructive behavior.

If stressed out there are multiple OTC remedy to calm the dog or you can also talk to the vet about medication.

If over simulated Ik multiple people have mention how to train for calm behavior.

My terrier would get over simulated with 10 minute  training and go destroy something once we were done. He had settle some with age.

 

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7 hours ago, GentleLake said:

Have you looked into past suggestions of Click to Calm and similar protocols?

I do use clicker training to shape and reward small steps toward good behaviour, also some of kikopups advice on passively rewarding calm/relaxed behaviours. When I'm there, e.g. in the office yesterday, except for play/toilet break he lay on his bed and slept/chilled out for 5 hours.

(edit to add: thank you for the reminder that boundaries are freaking boundaries. Your comment about crating made me realise I had to be clearer to really instil the 'no is no' inevitability - I put him on the leash and if he started the pawing-to-hump bed routine I got his attention and just drew him to sit by me on a short line for 5 mins instead of taking the bed away and it was like a lightbulb in his head. Last night I only asked once for leave and he slept on his bed from the off! Of course, we all have Good Days but I will just keep it up and hopefully he can have his bed back to himself!)

I don't own this particular book but do have some others in a similar vein -- Is it that you think he might be getting destructively stressed because of the mild s.a.?

4 hours ago, SS Cressa said:

Is he stressed out? Or over simulated? Both can cause destructive behavior.

If stressed out there are multiple OTC remedy to calm the dog or you can also talk to the vet about medication.

If over simulated Ik multiple people have mention how to train for calm behavior.

My terrier would get over simulated with 10 minute  training and go destroy something once we were done. He had settle some with age.

 

He 100% did struggle with it but we work super hard on overstimulation and very rarely get over the threshold now, only sometimes if something way too stimulating happens like a dog or kid has to pass us super close on a leashed walk. I definitely hear you on the 'wait till the trigger is done then go destroy something to relieve the pressure' though!

I think, if it isn't teeth I will work with the assumption that he's stressed and try to help him feel more safe and calm. We haven't really changed routine at all from when he seemed fine, but I have read lots of stories here about pups getting older and worsening/developing new stressors.

My SIL has a high-strung rescue BC that takes CBD for car rides and has some OTC tablets put in her food as well, so I will ask her for advice if we do go that way.

Thank you for taking the time to offer advice.

Edited by aprilandjax
To add thank you to GentleLake

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I highly recommend that you read Click To Calm. It is different from other training books and has information in it that you will not find elsewhere. Many libraries have it if you don't want to buy it. Or, you can get it used for only $8.50 on Amazon.   click here

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:lol: I didn’t send my terrier to destroy anything after training. He just would wouldn’t matter if I crated him after training, took him for a walk... if I had a training session with him he would end up destroying something that day the second he was able to. Tbh I just took a break from training session. We just worked on manners instead of an actual training session and also self control.

He has settle some and we can now do training session and trick training without him destroying anything. He is also a lot of fun training now. 

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