Help! Chiba has taken destruction to a new level. Any tips?

Hi everyone,

Chiba is almost 5 months old now and this past week she started showing some new extremely destructive behavior.  When she was younger, the only things she destroyed were books, paper, and her toys.  This past week she's been going for the walls.  She got through the drywall.  She chew holes through the carpet.  Albeit always in perfect circles, but circles with 3inch diameters.  My apartment can't take much more damage.  I punish her (say bad dog and put her in isolation), but she doesn't seem to listen.  She just keeps making new holes (if i cover all the holes she made with something).  She basically lost all her puppy teeth except for her fangs (she still has her baby fangs).  Any suggestions?  I'm looking for anything, maybe I punish her differently?

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I'd also like to add that I always make sure she has at least 5 toys out (a combination of rawhide, stuffed toys, and toys that squeak).

Too much freedom too soon IMO. Put her in a crate or xpen when you're gone or can't watch her. Use babygates to keep her confined to the room you're in, or even leash her to your belt if she's doing it while you're home.

Punishing her does nothing unless you can actually catch her doing it.

How much exercise does she get?

She gets two one hour walks per day.  I only punish her when I catch her.  Sometimes she does it in front of me.  And she is completely potty trained and has been by herself before with no trouble.  She's never alone more than 4 hours.  So something recently has changed, because she's been alone and not done this before.  I would prefer to not have her be in a crate when she's alone (because 4 hours in a crate seems miserable), but if I can't change this behavior, I'll have to.

What has changed is she's grown and has a lot more strength and energy. Five months is much too young to be loose if someone is not right there watching her. Preventing unwanted behavior in pups is not about training, it's about containment and vigilence. If you don't want to crate her, get an ex-pen and she'll have some room. Put a cheap piece of vinyl flooring underneath.

Good luck!
I would also add more micro-training sessions (work on sit/come, micro-stays 4 or 5 times a day for 1 to 2 minutes at a time) and play some vigorous games with her. Jack liked chasing plastic soda bottles (empty) and shredding big brown cardboard boxes at that age, and we did lots of tug games which we also used to train/reinforce "leave it."

Walks alone are not enough to use up all that puppy energy!

She learned sit, come, stay, and down already.  And I do hours of playing every day with tug of war, chase a toy, fetch, and shred the hedgehog.  But I suppose we haven't done any new training lately.  She probably is no longer "intellectually" stimulated.  Perhaps roll over? Any suggestions for more advanced training?

I taught Jack the names of his toys at that age, so then I could send him looking for specific ones.   You can also play games with her, like tag and hide-and-seek--- some dogs seem to "get" the rules of games when you (or they) make them up, and others don't, so this will depend on the dog.

Bella, Foxy did a similar thing.  We were leaving her out from lunch until we got home after work so about 4 hrs. and one time about 2 months ago (she would have been 9 mos.) she started chewing our carpet where it meets the ceramic tile.  So....back in the cage she had to go.  I know it seems mean but you'd feel worse if she choked on something.  I know you love her, and don't want her crated so maybe the x-pen is an idea.  Or what about doggie day care?  I know that can also be costly.  Believe it or not Foxy actually likes her crate.  As soon as I grab her treats I the morning she runs right into the crate. 

Yeah, she actually likes her crate.  It is her favorite place to nap.  But you're right, I should go back to staying confined when she is alone.  At what age do you think she will be mature enough to be on her own again?  Initially, when I felt comfortable leaving her alone (i started with just an hour), she was in her play pen.  Then I slowly increased that time up to 3 hours.  Then after a month of that, I tried leaving her alone confined to our living room.  She did great with that, until now.  So I think that was a good two months of her being good while being home alone.  I thought about doggie day care too, but she really isn't alone that much.  She's only alone 4 hours twice a week.

I didn't leave my pals free and unsupervised until they were nearly a year old and even then there would be the occasional corgi mischief when they were left out.  As they grew I'd move them from a crate to an x-pen so that they had a little more space to play and not feel so confined.  

We all want our buddies to be free and happy and not have to be locked up when we are out but in fact they mature rather slowly, go through chewing phases as they teethe, and generally act like puppies for a long time.  

You might also join the group here, Corgis Caught In Crime, and try to get the occasional laugh out of the destruction other people's pups cause.

It's possible that she may never be 100% reliable if left alone.  My Ellie is 2 years old and I still can't leave her out of her crate if we leave the house.  She will find and chew anything soft (stuffed animals), made of paper, or small plastic items.  She has also tried to chew an area rug, but I was right there and stopped her as soon as I saw it go into her mouth.  Luckily, I have always kept up with her crate training and she enjoys her time in there.  On days where we don't go anywhere I'll leave the door open and she'll voluntarily go in to nap/hang out.

I would also recommend crating  her.  4 hrs is not an unreasonable amount of time, if you can exercise her before you leave.  She will get into a routine.  Bad habits such as you describe are costly, dangerous to the dog and very hard to break.  The longer it goes on the more you'll have to deal with.  Puppies always need to be manged in such a way that they can only succeed.  If you have to leave her for longer hours than you say here, you can then consider the day care option, at least part time.  Make sure she has safe chewing alternatives.  Some dogs have greater need to chew than others. 

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