Destructive When Together?

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by freedomdreams, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    Hey everyone!

    I haven't posted very much as I have been extremely busy with general life things.
    But it seems that I could really use everyones help as of right now. Kilo and Loki, my boyfriend and I's dogs are having some behaviour issues and honestly, as I've never owned a Husky prior to us getting them, I am running out of ways on how I know to change the behaviour... especially since we are not home when this happens.

    To give you some backstory, Kilo and Loki are both Siblings, we got them at the same time and they are brothers from what we are aware. We got them as puppies, so they have not gone through several different owners- they are 7 months old (born last November). My boyfriend and myself, rent a house and we have 3 other roommates.

    Generally when we leave, we have kennelled the dogs, I work 7-3, and my boyfriend works 10-8 (schedule varies). The dogs when left unsupervised are destructive. Unfortunately our roommates cannot/wont really help as far as it goes for the dogs-But they wont let us/dont want us to kennel the dogs when we leave for work as the dogs therefore become vocal and loud.

    My boyfriend and myself recently took a week, live together break- if that makes any sense. I took Kilo with me, as he is really my dog. We both have observed that both dogs are fine when left unattended, alone and are not in any way destructive ( aside from jumping up onto counters......). When I was away from our living situation, I also took Kilo for 2 walks daily for an hour- which of course had helped obviously. But now that the dogs are together, we are in the same situation- they aren't generally as hyper as they were but we are out of options. Rehoming the dogs is not an option, but is there a way that any of you can think of that we can work on this- and have a happy medium for everyone? Not kennelling the dogs when we leave so they're not vocal, or?

    I was considering maybe if we put a baby gate by our bedroom door, so that the door is open- and then maybe they would be less inclined to be as destructive?
    Walking the dogs is not an issue- but it can be difficult for us to walk them at the same time, if we walk them separately when leaving the house- one dog is of course, extremely vocal. With us also working different schedules- it's hard to correlate a schedule with each other for walks. Mine is of course, an extremely set in stone schedule so it's not hard for me to do so, But it's hard for me to take Kilo for a walk in the morning if Loki is going to be vocal and wake everyone up vice versa...

    I hope that together we can maybe come up with some sort of workable solution, yesterday I completely dog proofed the room and we came home to them having chewed up our bed... I'm sure they'll grow out of it when they're older but it'd be nice to have a way to change it a bit more sooner than that lol. I'm not sure if it makes a difference but both dogs are currently unfixed, although Kilo is getting fixed in the next couple weeks.

    Edit: Just to also add, both dogs are absolutely fine when they are supervised.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    Do they have chew toys, puzzles, kongs....?
  3. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    They do, yes.
    I do have to go purchase them more newer ones- but they do have and always have had a variety of toys. I find that they love Nylabones, bones in general.. but they also love squeaky toys and Stuffies- They seem to get through the Stuffies quite fast (even the double fabric/double stitches ones) but they last a bit.
  4. running_dog Honored Member

    It seems to me that you have mentioned at least 5 problems
    • Destructive behaviour when left together unsupervised
    • Not settling when kennelled
    • Leash manners still in progress
    • Not being able to leave one dog behind quietly when you take the other out
    • Jumping up on to counters
    You could have a look at this video from kikopupto see if it gives you any ideas about the destructive behaviour when you are out. However I think you might be better looking at the bigger picture for a moment and think of the "problems" as symptoms, and no, I don't think your dogs are trying to dominate you or any rubbish like that.

    I get the impression (and I might be wrong because I can only go from what I have read) that your dogs might benefit from working on impulse control (especially while they are together). Not you controlling them while they are together but them controlling themselves when they are together. All of the problems you have mentioned link back to impulse control in my mind especially as both are fine when they are supervised - that is when YOU are controlling them rather than when they are controlling themselves.

    This video is a good place to start with impulse control - can they restrain themselves from taking food in your hand? on the floor? on the counter? when moved? when they are together? can one dog restrain itself while you work with the other? You protect the treat from the dog, you don't restrain the dog so to get the treats the dog has to restrain itself.

    Then you work the same kind of game with even better treats, a roast chicken, toys and chews and so on... You apply it to new situations, eg/ do they rush the door when you go to open it? If so close the door as they rush it and before they get out, repeat, closing the door in response to the slightest movement towards it opening it only when they stand back calmly then give them a release cue. Control access to the reward not the dog.

    Crate games are also about teaching dogs self/impulse control and deal directly with one of the symptoms. Look for crate games on youtube for hundreds of examples. If in doubt, the Sue Garrett crate games are targeted specifically at impulse control.

    Developing impulse control in your dogs is not a quick fix but it works because you are dealing with the root of the problem not the symptoms.
  5. freedomdreams Well-Known Member

    Thanks Running_Dog! I really appreciate that and it was extremely insightful. I think you have honestly hit it spot on.
    I have been able to work on some things with the dogs in that regards, But I will continue to keep looking at more games to play with them that require more self control on their part.

    Now when it comes to the crate games, and teaching the dogs self control in that regards.. I live with roommates and I have tried to express to them that the dogs need to be left alone when they become vocal, and when the dogs are quiet they can see them... but I feel that they go and see the dogs when they do make noise in order to make them stop...which they dont...and I don't think they understand when they are actually reinforcing the behaviours... If anything,we actually have been trying to accomodate the roommates in regards to everything and I am at a loss because I am doing everything I possibly can... the roommates are just making it a battler for me. I have moved the kennels downstairs, but they'd prefer just not kenneling the dogs period... but it's an essential skill... so how I can approach crate games with them still there? and understanding where I am coming from... or at least understand....
  6. running_dog Honored Member

    I'm glad you've been able to work on some self control with the dogs, I hope you start seeing some improvements.

    The idea of crate games is not to leave a dog howling in the crate until it finds that it doesn't get rewarded for howling. The idea is to reward behaviour that you want in the crate and so build up the idea of the crate being a rewarding place to be. I suggest that you build up crate games as a completely separate experience to the dogs being crated and left - it is up to you how you distinguish the two experiences - different bedding, crates covered with a cloth, different crate position, or even not crating at all until you get to a stage through crate games where you can, anything like that could be used as a signal to the dogs that this is game time not prison time. You don't want your dogs to be howling in the crates when they are set up for "games" with OR without your room mates rewarding them. If the dog is unhappy in the crate then the benefit of all your crate games is lost.

    Here is a beginner crate game:
    Ripleygirl likes this.

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