I was in Snellville last week working with a new Home Dog Training client and her two-year old Border Collie named Jackson. Jackson had all the common traits of a Border Collie. He was full of energy, loved to run and jump, nipped, and much more. We worked through those issues by applying consistency and establishing calm focus back from Jackson to my client. We even got into some walking exercises because Jackson would always pull on the leash when walked.
After several hours of instruction, exercises, and learning, I had exhausted my client’s list of “Things we need to fix” and any other issues I saw while working with the both of them. At that point, I asked my standard “Is there anything else you can think of that we should work on at this time” question. My client pondered for a moment and then a light went on in her head.
Jackson had the very annoying habit of completely chewing up his bed in his crate. This was normally done at night when everyone else had gone to bed or when he was left alone during the day. My client was at a loss of how to correct something when she wasn’t there. She asked if I had any ideas. She told me that she had already replaced over ten beds and the money is beginning to add up.
Over the years my clients have asked me how to get their dog to stop destroying the bed that they have put in their crate. The bed destruction always happens when the client is asleep or away from the house. The answer is quite simple. Take the bed, or what is left of the bed, out of your dog’s crate.
You have beds and sofas and chairs. You would never think of sitting on something hard. When you go “to bed”, you get into your soft, fluffy bed and go to sleep. When you want to watch the big game on the big screen, you lay down on the sofa. When you are outside, you stretch out on the nice and soft garden furniture.
Now, what is going on with your dog? Your dog sleeps on the tile floor in front of the TV. He lies down on the grass or on the rocks under the flowers outside. Your dog has no problem being on hard surfaces and sometimes even prefers them to soft surfaces.
So when I tell you to take the bed out of your dog’s crate if he is chewing it up, it is not punishment, simply removing an inappropriate distraction. When you aren’t there, there is no way you can correct in the moment of destroying the bed. There is absolutely no way you can effectively communicate to your dog that what he is doing is wrong. Every time he chews up a bed, you remove it and put a new bed for him to destroy.
All your dog sees is that you are giving him more stuff to destroy. You have done nothing to let him know that he is doing anything wrong.
Dog beds are expensive, but it could get a lot worse. Eventually, your dog will turn to your furniture and start to chew that up. And, why not? You have continued to tell him it is OK to chew up his bed and have even rewarded him by giving him a new one. Your dog will see no difference in chewing up the bed and destroying your two-thousand-dollar sofa.
Bottom line: If your dog is destroying the bed in his crate, take it away.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over seventeen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.