Ok, I admit, I am writing this in a fit of passion and I'm sure hate is a bit strong for what I am really feeling but I need your help! I'm going to be totally honest here, at this point and time I CAN'T STAND KIRBY! He is a terror. I'm sure most of you saw my post of him on the kitchen counter, as funny as that was it was just a quick example of hurricane Kirby and I'm at my wits end and don't know what to do with him. He makes Marley (of Marley and Me) look like an angel. Today I came home to find my absolute favorite sandals in the whole world chewed to pieces. He has chewed 2 phone chargers, a blue tooth, pulled textbooks and novels off my bookshelf and shredded them, chewed the bottom out of a chair, climbed on the counter and shredded and/or ate everything he could find, ate an entire bag of ranch sunflower seeds and the list goes on and on.
By now you are probably thinking "why dont' you confine him?" I've tried. He is a little Houdini and escapes any confinement I can put him in. I haven't crated him for a full day yet because honestly I am worried about him tearing toenails or breaking teeth trying to get out of his crate in addition to eating his bedding and peeing/pooping all over the crate. He has escaped ex-pens (extra tall ones) and babygates, I can't lock him in any room because he climbs up on bookshelves and counters and could likely open cupboards. He was fine with free range of the house for the first few weeks I had him so I don't know what his deal is. He has a million toys and gets plenty of exercise so that's not the issue. I can't reprimand him because I rarely ever catch him in the act so I don't know how to teach him this IS NOT OK. Especially eating my favorite shoes :-( I am so sad about that.
Anyway, advice? Suggestions? Stories? I'm wanting to stick it out with this dog but honestly I'm having a hard time even LIKING him at this point because he has done very little to make me want to keep him. Maybe even support or stories of bad dogs gone good?
Gosh, I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with Kirby. My Ella is 8 months old now and I thought she was a little angel up until about a couple weeks ago. She's great when I'm in the house with her but when I go out (I work at home but in our garage), she has recently begun chewing on the drywall and moldings. I'm trying to work out that issue as we speak. I hate to have to crate her but I was told that if they're under a year old, they shouldn't get to free roam yet, that they just aren't responsible enough yet. I left chew toys all over the place today but when I came in, right away I spotted the new hole she had chewed. That makes 3 now. I'm hoping that she will outgrow this behavior as I hope your Kirby will also. Maybe it's true that he misses you during the day. I don't know how you can change that if you work. I'm only out in the garage for about an hour or two and this happens! I guess she will just have to spend more time in her crate until she outgrows this bad behavior. :( Hang in there!
I have no practical advice. There is a reason some dogs end up in rescue.... Sorry he is being so difficult.
Have you tried a plastic crate?
Just a thought, but maybe he needs a job? Most dogs that are neurotic like that when you leave, are great at doing something good. Agility, search and rescue, arson dog, etc. We started training our shepherd mix to be a search and rescue dog, and it has calmed her down tremendously. Kirby sounds like he has a ton of pent up energy, and needs a positive release for it. I know I can run my shepherd forever, and she still needs a job to release her energy. It's like she knows she's made for something really good, some really good job, just hasn't found it yet. She needs to stimulate her mind and use it to focus on something. It calms the rest of her.
The other thought is that he is being a typical teenage puppy and will grow out of it eventually. Seanna was a terror for about a month and then viola--one day she grew up and never did anything terrible again. Good luck- I know how frustrating it is.
I agree with needing a job. I remember watching a show on avalanche dogs. Almost all in this unit were rescues. The handlers would go to the shelter and pick the highest-energy dogs, the ones bouncing off the cages. They had other criteria too, of course, but they said that their dogs get so much work that they need the ones who are impossible for most pet homes to deal with.
Melissa, perhaps you can teach Kirby some games? Jack has a few he's made up and they help burn mental energy. He has his own rules and everything. It's really pretty funny. Anyway, exercise alone does not tire Jack and he needs something that makes him think (not just your basic sit/stay/come). Fortunately, he's a dog who really wants to be a good boy so I never had the sort of outcomes you are talking about. Just constantly being pestered to play.
That's exactly how Sage was when we adopted her. She'd been in the shelter for almost four months, and no one would adopt her because she jumped. They had her in a 10 ft pen, and she literally was jumping straight up to the top of it, over and over. That's all she did the whole time she was there. We felt sorry for her and took her--other than the many things she's destroyed in my house, she is a GREAT dog. And soon hopefully will be a GREAT search and rescue dog!
See the weird thing is, he's not a high energy dog. One long run and play session a day and he is crashed out for the rest of the day and part of the night. He is nocturnal and will get up around 2-3 and start chewing bones and stuff, but he spends most of his time sleeping. He is NOTHING like Franklin on the energy scale. Franklin needs puzzle toys and one long run in the middle of the day will tire him out for maybe 2-3 hours and then he's ready to go again. In fact when we play in the evenings often Kirby won't even join in and will opt to watch from a comfy spot on the couch instead. Sometimes he does play along, but really the energy isn't there. He also doesn't try to figure out any of the interactive toys I have, even the easy ones. He likes to chew on stuff but on any given day has about 2 antlers, multiple rawhides, and a ton of toys to chew on so I just don't understand his need squish into my closet and steal shoes or to climb on my bookshelves and pull books from the shelf. I'm sure its a separation anxiety thing because he just isn't a real driven dog. He does have a really high herd drive, but only does that when we are out playing fetch. If I could afford it I would for sure take him to herding classes, but unfortunately they are pretty expensive in my area so its just not practical.
I am going to have to start crating him in a plastic crate and see what happens but in all actuality I feel like what's the point in even having him if he has to be confined to a crate all the time? A major part of why I got a second dog was to keep Franklin company and he isn't doing that when he has to be locked in a crate all day. Not to mention the fact that he goes to the bathroom about 100 times a day (he has access to the patio with a dog door) so I'm not sure how he would do holding it all day even though technically he should be able to.
Please don't think that just because you have to crate Kirby right now means he won't be fulfilling his duties as playmate for Franklin. Kirby will get better, he is just needs to learn that when you're not at home, it's not time for mischief. I had to crate Ziggy for a long time because he would get into lots of trouble when I was gone. Hang in there, things will get better!
Beth, What sort of games did you teach Jack and what kind of games did he invent?
Melissa, did you say you had a cat? The bunny and the cat gave Pazu a job to do and my roommates had a mouse and two herdings dogs, Pazu and Lilo, would just sit there and keep watch over it for hours. The teaser ball (http://www.amazon.com/Teaser-Ball-Dog-Toy-Size/dp/B004BRD83E/ref=sr...) or jolly pets bounce n play ball I find is a good toy for herding dogs because it seems to stand up to chewing, but also rolls easily on its own so when the dog tries to herd it, it starts rolling and basically keeps rolling as long as the dog is herding/nipping at it.
Kirby sounds really smart. Pazu has only managed to escape one type of confinement. I am going to suggest a cover for your extra tall ex-pens... meaning putting a plastic transparent sheet (paint sheets - they sell at home depot) and alligator clipping the edges to the top of the extra tall ex-pens. Why? Because I think it's a difficult for a corgi to chew on something while he's trying to climb, but I could be wrong and also place part of the ex pen into a corner. My rabbit was the little Houdini. He learned to climb the ex-pens and jump, but even him I eventually figured out how to prevent him from jumping. I also did something else for my 2 lb rabbit. I would stack boxes on the side closest to the corner so that even when the rabbit got to the top, he would find that there was no where to go after he made the climb (what a letdown) except into a box with only a giant hole in the front. And my rabbit loves to chew wires and paper... so I would let him climb to the top of something and chew a bathroom roll or something. "Yes you can have your fun and hop/climb around, but ha, I still have you where I want you and I still get to control what you chew!" Oh and if you are tech savvy, I would recommend seeing if you can connect a webcam to record HOW he's escaping.... because I was very surprised by how Mochi my bunny was able to escape (and I would pay extra attention to the openings where the expens lock together) but if I just hung around and tried not to pay attention, eventually he would make his move and I would know how he did it! And I have two or three ex-pens available for my use so with my rabbit where Mochi would escape one to only wind up in another one! Haha. I was really frustrated with Mochi's destructiveness but I love the thrill of setting up mazes to keep Mochi confined. It was an adventure.
And I assume he has a lot of those Kong puzzle toys?? (And not the red beehive looking one, because that toy is so easy Pazu finishes it in a few minutes) Pazu doesn't care for toys lying around, but give him a puzzle toy with food that does come out and with food that doesn't easily come out (and some that I know definitely will NEVER come out unless I take it out) and he'll be occupied for a while.
Just keeping being confident that you are smarter than Kirby because you are! :)
Have you tried a kong? Filled with peanut butter? I usually have to play fetch at least twice a day...sometimes 3 times. Hang in there!