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Old 02-12-2013, 12:28 PM
bulldogmama bulldogmama is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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Default Puppy help - chewing and mouthing

Hello!

I'm brand new here and am looking for help with my 10 month old English Bulldog puppy, Chubbs. He is a very sweet, happy boy, loves going on walks and is fairly easygoing around people, other dogs, out in public, etc. The issues I'm having happen when we are at home. I realized that the problems are my fault for setting up bad patterns and rewarding him for negative behaviour, but I'm not sure how to break the cycle!

Normally, Chubbs is outside by himself for most of the day in our large backyard. I bring him inside and/or play with him outside a few times throughout the day, but he mostly just sleeps out there. He isn't destructive, doesn't bark, chew, or dig.

In the evening I take him for a 30 minute walk, after which he is exhausted (I guess bulldogs don't have much stamina--not like the labrador I had as a kid!). He naps for a bit while I make dinner, or watches me. Generally, if I'm up and cooking, cleaning, or milling about he's pretty content to watch me or occasionally play with a toy.

As soon as I sit down, though--whether to eat dinner or watch TV in the living room--he wants to play. Normally I'll play for a minute or two, tug-of-war, tossing a toy for him to chase, etc., but when I stop playing he gets destructive. He will chew the furniture or jump on it to try to grab things he's not supposed to have. I'll tell him 'no!' and then try to ignore him so as not to reward his bad behaviour, but he keeps getting into things, I keep telling him 'no!' etc. I'll try to distract him with toys, which works for a bit if I play with him, but he's not super into toys if he's playing by himself most of the time. He gets bored easily and then goes back to chewing furniture. I tried spraying that Bitter stuff on the furniture, but he actually likes it and licks it off like it's a condiment or something.... *sigh*

The other problem is that he sometimes gets mouthy. Often it's when my husband is wrestling with him, or if I'm playing with his toys. He never actually bites, more like just opens his mouth and grazes his teeth against you, but in a playful, non-agressive way. I try when he does this to immediately stop playing the game, but it really doesn't seem like he's 'getting' the connection between him mouthing and the game stopping.

He also does occasionally open-mouth-graze if I don't play with him when he wants to play, or if I have him by the collar and am taking him to bed, etc. Again, he never bites, or even growls, he's more just 'annoyed' if that makes sense. But, it really needs to stop.

Other than these issues he's a very sweet boy, it's just hard to relax and have him inside at night because this bad behaviour gets annoying. Plus, I feel that it's just this negative cycle of me yelling and him ignoring me... I need help! Thanks in advance for your input!

-Emma
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