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?
Thanks Kevan this gives me hope! I have no idea how this dog does what he does! I really do think he CLIMBS the bookshelves because that is the only thing that makes sense. The phone chargers and blue tooth were high up on bookshelves, another phone charger was on my table, my shoes were in a closed closet. I have begun taping closed some cupboards that I don't use much and have child proof latches on garbage can cupboards. As for the counters, who knows. I found one way he gets up using a chair that is sort of kind of a little close to a counter....sort of, and I've blocked that way but I think he may jump from my table which he may or may not get on using a cat tree somehow? My apartment is small so table can't be moved any farther from the counter and cat tree has no other home. The penny idea is a great idea and I think I will try it. He is going to be crated now but I just can't crate him on my longer work days. Its just too hot here to confine him without letting him move to cooler parts of the house and have free access to water (and also outdoors to pee out all the water he drinks).
To be honest, this sounds a lot like Ellie. She doesn't climb onto counters, but she completely ignores the rules for staying off of the couch (which she uses to climb onto a side table) and staying down off of the kids' table. She will shred any paper she comes into contact with. She will chew the wood trim if confined in a room by herself or with Yuki. She will tear a hole into and destuff any soft toys she can find.
Kirby is a bit younger than Ellie (she'll be 1 year old next week), but Ellie also has a high herding drive and is very smart. She drove me up the wall when she was 5-9 months old and it was hard, sometimes, to imagine her improving even a little bit. However, at 10 months she started to calm down slightly. She is still destructive if she is alone in a room for more than a couple of minutes, but not to the same degree as before. If she has had her hour walk in the morning, then she's almost trustworthy when left in a room by herself.
I agree with the plastic crate suggestion. Ellie has always had a plastic crate and has not found a way to get out of it. She used to chew/paw at it to try to get out, but never got through it. Now she just paws at it to move it around the kitchen (like when she sees a ball roll nearby and wants to "chase" it with her crate...)
I think (and this is just my opinion) that the pups with a higher herding drive are more destructive/mischievous when they are young. Ellie is slowly starting to grow out of these behaviors, I think, but I doubt I will be able to trust her before she is 2-3 years old. I hope that you're able to give Kirby the time to work through these behaviors, but I also realize that you were looking for certain traits in a companion for Franklin. I hope things work out for the best!
Melissa, I can feel your pain and anguish. I honestly think that if I had a full time job and had to leave Brodie on a regular basis, he would be exactly the same way. Fortunately for him (and me) I'm home most of the time, so he gets to chill and follow me around to his heart's content. But the minute I walk outside, he throws a fit and starts jumping up trying to break the window to the door to get out! I don't crate any of my dogs, never have had to. I have x pens in the basement and it's always been fine. But Brodie does a number on his when I do leave him. He broke a snap into once, escaped and destroyed the basement. He manages to move the x pen around the room (I snap it to Kadi's pen and block it with concrete blocks on the outside and it only slows him down slightly.) and he manages to grab things through the pen and pull them through enough to shred them.One of these days I just know he'll get the pen UP the stairs enough to figure out how to really escape and that will be the end of the pen. Here is what I'm doing now to try to solve that dilemma--when at all possible, I put him in doggie day care while I have to be gone (nothing expensive, just basically kennel him at my vet where he seems to be happy) and when I can't do that, like on Sundays when they are closed, I give him some acepromazine about 30 minutes before we leave. I started that because I had some left over from his trip to the ER to get staples when he chewed out his sutures from the neuter. It doesn't really 'sedate' him so much as it just mellows him enough to let me walk out without him being crazed. My hope is that eventually he will mellow enough I won't need it. Maybe you should give that a whirl with Kirby? This doesn't sound to me like just old fashioned boredom, but more like separation anxiety. You really don't know what his life was like before you, so it may be a result of something that happened and this is how he exhibits his stress. Remember that God brought him to you because no one else would have put up with this and tried to help him. Kirby needs you to help him over this. God trusts you to do it.
Hugs to you all!
It sounds as if Kirby needs a job. My Sparty could have been that dog. When he was young I started him in obedience classes and agility and was able to keep it up for several years. That added to long walks in the woods seemed to satisfy him. Many dogs with a very high drive end up in service (police work, assistance etc) due to this high need to be mentally stimulated. Anything that requires movement as well as mental work will do. Herding, agility whatever. The more I challenged him the better he was at behaving "normally" the rest of the time. I have heard the tracking is a good activity too. That is one you can start at home by showing him things and encouraging him to "find it" (start with a yummy treat not hidded too well.) Check out your local dog clubs for ideas. What ever you decide I am sure will be for the best because I know how much you care. If you are not up for it than you may want to look into rehoming to someone involved in agility or flyball.
I know it sounds like this is a hyperactive thing, but its not. He is not a hyperactive dog. We do obedience and he is so uninterested. We play fetch, he could care less about chasing the ball. He loves to herd Franklin but rarely (if ever) begins the play session. I have had shepherds in the past (and Franklin) who were high drive dogs. Frank is the type that needs a job, needs to stimulate his brain, he gets fed in interactive toys and we play hide and seek games to burn off his energy, but Kirby isn't like that. He is in fact quite lazy. This leads me to believe it is a separation anxiety issue. He really is nothing but a couch potato while Franklin is a busy little bee buzzing around the house looking for stuff to play with and chew on. Frank has learned to focus his energy into the interactive toys I have bought him but Kirby could care less. He doesn't have quite the obedience needed for our local agility classes, I'm working on that, but I honestly don't feel with him that that is the issue. I know added exercise and mental stimulation can't hurt so I will definitely try it once he is up to par with obedience, but I'm thinking its more separation anxiety that I need to figure out how to deal with.
My Lucy was the same. It drove me crazy as well. (chewed up my favorite pink "Life Is Good hat" Not so good after that. We even thought about finding her a new home. It sounds like he needs to get outside and burn off some of that energy (walks, dog parks, back yard). I enrolled her in obedience class and made a big effort to get her out more, that was my savior. She burnt off that Corgi energy and has become a pretty good girl. We still find chewed up socks and paper from time to time but no where near as bad as before. We also started her out in a crate at night and when we left, now we can trust her in the house alone for a short period of time. The crate is gone and now we put baby gates in the kitchen to block her off at night. Don't fully trust her yet. Hang in there!!!! It WILL get better.
thank you! See my above post about energy! Lol. But glad to hear it will get better! I really don't want to re-home him AGAIN since I know he's already been through a lot. Wish I could just ask him what is deal was! My friend is bringing me TWO baby gates today so if he manages to escape one there will be a back up. I just can't stand the thought of crating him all day because it just gets so stuffy in my apartment and he likes to go outside a lot. Hopefully the baby gates will work
I think that crating him is the best option when you cannot keep an eye on him. It is hard to have a difficult dog once you have had an angel. Good Luck!
Oh, Melissa! I forgot about mentioning a product called DAP. It's a hormone spray that you can put on carpet, towels, etc. that is supposed to just kind of relax dogs. I got it from my vet to try with Brodie and it does seem to help him chill out a bit. You might see if you can get some to try!
How about working Kirby ragged until he is ready to crash and then do you thing for the day?
I do run him in the mornings, but not his full exercise. Its mostly just an intense 15-20 minute fetch session just to get his extra energy out, then I come home on lunch and do a real run of about 1 hour. The exercise doesn't seem to help because he is just as likely to shred stuff when I come home in the evening as he is when I come home for lunch break. I now have 2 babygates from a friend so we will see how that works.