Post # 1
Hey Bees, I’ve had my Shetland Sheepdog for about five months now, and she is turning nine months old later this month. When she was younger, she never really chewed on or destroyed things. Every once in a while we would catch her chewing on the legs of our coffee table (which were metal so I never understood it) but as soon as we gave her something else she would stop.
Lately, however, we’ve been finding all sorts of things that she’s been destroying, pulled up linolium tiles, bare spots in the walls where she’s chewed the paint off, corners that have been gnawed on. I don’t know what to do about it, she has lots of toys and three cats to play with, but she still does this. I feel like I can’t trust her to be by herself in the house.
Also, she’s begun to growl at everything. She was even growling at me earlier! I don’t know how to get her to stop (the technique we used to get her to stop barking [grabbing her muzzle and telling her no] hasn’t worked.)
Post # 3
I feel for you 🙁 My mom has a year old sheltie and he is just the (sweetest) terror I’ve ever had to deal with. I spent all morning picking up toilet paper in the backyard after he stole a roll and shredded it because my mom left him out of his crate. He chewed one of our wood chair legs. He steals food off the counter. He ate my mom’s bra. He shreds all my dog’s toys. I have a 7 month old german shepherd and she’s an absolutely angel compared to him.
Is your girl fixed? My little one is in heat right now and I know their personalities can change. She may also just be entering her “butthead” stage where they become teenagers and act out. This is normal and unfortunatley something you just have to wait out. I’d really step up the training and go back to basics. Is she crate trained? Have you ever tethered before? I’d start by crate training her to reduce the amount of damage done to the house. Then I’d keep her tethered in a secue location or keep her leash clipped to you at all times so you can correct any bad behavior immediately. She has lost the privelage of being loose in the house and has to earn it back and earn that even though she thinks she’s all grown up, you’re in charge. Also, lots and lots of exercise so she’s too tired to get into trouble.
My mom’s dog has so many problems bc she is inconsistent with his training. We got him at 11 months after he’d been allowed to run free and destroy whatever he wanted and she hasn’t been successful in correcting that attitude. She’s now going back to the basics as well but you can see what happens when you don’t follow the rules.
Post # 4
Those are ENGERGETIC dogs!
She is hitting her teen years.
Excersise and alpha roll is very important.
Post # 5
A lot of times dogs get destructive when they are bored or have excess energy. Shetland sheepdogs are bred to herd animals, which mean they need lots of exercise. Is she getting enough exercise? You could also look into doggie daycare. Also, there are lots of enrichment-type toys that makes the dog work for treats that can keep them occupied for hours.
Remember that a tired dog is a happy dog, so keep her as active as you can. Hope this helps!
Post # 6
I’m with the other ladies. Having three dogs of my own, I’ve learned that they definitely need plenty of exercise. If you don’t have time to exercise your puppy for a long time at once, try taking her on several shorter walks throughout the day. (When you wake up, at lunch, in the evening. Whenever you have the time.)
It also helps to let your puppy know what things are appropriate to chew on and what aren’t. When you find her chewing on something off-limits, I’m sure you scold her, but also provide her with a toy (I’ve found the kongs are the only things my biggest dog can’t destroy) or the bones with filling and praise her when she plays with them instead.
Post # 7
Exercise, exercise, exercise. You need to pay lots of attention to her and take her for long walks. Just giving her a toy to play with isn’t going to wear her down. A tired dog is a happy dog.
Post # 8
dittos on the high energy needs of a Sheltie. Have you considered doing any doggie sports with her? Agility is loads of fun, and will help her use her brain and body in a way that will keep her occupied :). A good trainer may also be able to give you advice on how to handle the growling thing (does she do it randomly, or only after someone tries to touch something that’s ‘hers’?).
Post # 9
@saraja87: She is crate trained, but we thought we could trust her since she hadn’t ever really destroyed things (except socks and underwear, but I’ve never met a dog who didn’t do that). We’re back to putting her in there and making sure that she can’t get into anything, but the wall patches are from when she is in her crate. She reaches through the bars and pulls the paint off.
@Crabbabs: We take her to the dog park at least once a week, and she runs around the house with the cats (herding them) constantly. Beyond walking her every day (which is near impossible, leash training her is proving to be a really tough challenge) I don’t know what else to do. She loves doggy daycare (she was there when we went away on a trip) but we can’t afford it long term.
@StrawberryBee: We want to get her into sports, but can’t afford the training for it right now. She’s super, super fast and agile so I would love to get her into agility training. We also want to eventually train her to be a therapy dog because she is so loving of other people, but again, we can’t afford the classes right now. She growls all the time it seems, at everyone and everything. She doesn’t growl when you take her things, but she growls at noises, other dogs, people walking by. It makes people think she vicious and she’s really not.
Post # 10
@MissComicBook: That is not nearly enough exercise. You have a high energy working dog. She probably needs 2 walks a day at least. One in the morning and one in the evening 45min – 1hr each.
A dog is a responsibility you have to make time for. You picked a SUPER high energy breed so getting her exercise is key.
I’d also recommend getting her into obedience classes so she can become acclimated to other people, dogs, etc as well as exercise her brain.
Shelties are also very smart dogs and need to have their brain (as well as their body) exercised as well. I’d also look into doing agility classes with her so she can exercise body and mind at the same time.
ETA: Until you get control of her excess energy you will have a very hard time getting her to focus on any type of training. If she’s got no outlet for her energy she will continue to be destructive and disobedient.
Post # 11
@KatNYC2011: She’s been in obedience classes already, we are just waiting for the funds to gather up again so we can put her back. Unfortunatly my SO and I both work odd houred jobs and we dont’ have that time to devote to walking her (which is near impossible because she refuses to walk on a leash) so I’m more looking for an alternative.
Post # 12
@MissComicBook: She needs exercise. What’s the issue with the leash? If she’s pulling, try a harness rather than a collar. Something like an easy-walk harness.
There really is no alternative to getting her the exercise she needs.
Post # 13
@KatNYC2011: I realize she needs exercise, I was hoping there was something she could do inside, like some people who walk their dogs on treadmills or something like that.
She doesn’t just pull, she lunges and jumps and growls at everything. We’ve had her on a pinch collar, a gentle leader, and a flatbuckle. The flatbuckle does nothing, no matter how much you correct, she ignores the corrections. With the pinch collar, she just screamed like there was no tomorrow and still continued the bad behavior. The gentle leader worked for a while, but then she just spent a ton of time trying to take it off and when she finally stopped that, she still just pulled and tugged a bunch.
Post # 14
Hmm…it does sound like she’s somewhat bored (ripping paint from between the bars!). There’s the old putting peanut butter in a kong and then freezing it trick (takes longer to get it all out, thus keeping them occupied). Also various toys that take effort to make the cookies fall out.
On the cost of agility training: tell me about it! I pay $100 every two months (ish) for my sheltie. If it makes you feel any better though about the cost, it is loads of fun :). Sometimes there are cheap herding tests you can take your dog to; if she’s already exhibiting the herding instinct, that may be right up her alley. It would certainly allow her to play to her strengths. If you have a backyard and want to try it on your own, you could put together some of the basic agility equipment and start training. Even a largeish space indoors can work. I know people who have made weave poles out of plungers, for instance. Or buy a cheap made-for-kids popup tunnel. It doesn’t have to be competition quality for it to keep them occupied. http://www.affordableagility.com/agilityinbag.htm or if you want to start out cheaper: http://www.affordableagility.com/econojump.htm EDIT: If you do try any jumps with her, set them with the bar very very low or on the ground. She’s still a puppy so her joints and bones are still forming, and you can cause severe problems for her later if she jumps too high too soon.
I’m concerned about the growling; it sounds a bit like reactive behavior (sometimes dogs growl at things when they’re actually afraid of them). A good animal behaviorist would be able to help you diagnose that, and keep it from getting worse.
Post # 15
@MissComicBook: Hmm…. you could try some of the mental activity toys they make for dogs. And work on training tricks such as teaching her to retrieve certain items when asked. If you engage her brain you may be able to start to engage her on the leash as well.
Also, when walking her, stop anytime she stops paying attention to you. If she wants to lunge, run, or do anything, immediately turn and walk the opposite direction. You may walk in circles for a while but eventually she’ll learn if she wants to go straight, she has to do so on your terms.
Also, work on clicker training. Associate the clicker with treats. Then while walking, periodically stop, have her sit, and tell her to watch you. When she watches you, click and treat. Do this anytime you see something she might react to, BUT you have to get her attention before whatever it is she will see to react to. If she sees it first, you’ve already lost that battle.
I’d suggest watching “It’s Me or the Dog”. Victoria Stillwell deals a lot with hyperactive and hyper-reactive dogs and has some great training tips. All the training is reward based so the dog knows that if it does something right, you will reward positively, rather than some of the negative reward teachings (i.e. Cesar Milan and alpha rolling).
Post # 16
@StrawberryBee: I need to find her kong! 🙁 It is one of her favorite toys that her Auntie bougth her when we first got her and it got misplaced in the move. We are going to get a treat dispensing toys next time we get paid. Do you know of any DIY toys that would entertain dogs? Like, we used to make tunnels for our hamsters out of toliet paper rolls, is there anything like that for dogs?
The dog park that we go to has an agility course that we take her to sometimes, but she is afraid of the teeter totter and we can’t figure out the best way to teach her the weave poles, so we steer clear of them (also, a breeder told us it can affect her bone growth if we start that too young, so we are being more safe than sorry). I’m hoping to get her into classes soon, but, gah, money.