So we're kind of at our wits' end here. Rocky just turned 4 back in October and he had always been a fairly well behaved dog in terms of knowing what is his toys (so he's allowed to chew it up) and things that don't belong to him. We used to keep him in an enclosure when we're at work during the day but back in April of this year (so he was 3 and a half by then), we decided that maybe he's ready to have free reign of the main floor of the house while we're out. I would say for the first 6 weeks or so, he was completely fine. We'd come home, he'd greet us at the door, nothing in the house would be amiss. We then had one incident where we came home and he had chewed up a pair of my heels but after that, he was good again. However, for the past six to eight weeks, he's been chewing up EVERYTHING. He's chewed up everything from an anti-fatigue mat from Costco (brand new) to the cord for the charger for my work laptop to slippers to a picture frame. His latest victim was our TV remote control.
I know there is a bitter apple spray available but as he's chewing up a wide range of things, I don't want to have to spray the entire house. As well, I'm concerned there may be an underlying medical issue. Does anyone have any ideas?
Maybe its just too much freedom for him. He might have some separation anxiety issues. Or maybe things happen during the day that bother him, like people coming to the door, noisy neighbors, phones ringing, etc. Things he can't do anything about. Try gating him in just one room where you have made sure it is safe and he has plenty of appropriate chew toys. See how he does. Or, there is nothing wrong with confining in a crate. Its better to make sure they are safe than that they have free roam.
I have to agree with Susan. It could very well be a separation problem. I had one dog where I was home with him for the first 2 years he was with us and then went back to work. He let me know he was very unhappy with that....he only chewed up any of my shoes he could get to. He is still young and full of it so crating may be the best way to keep him out of trouble and possibly hurting himself. Or as Susan said confine him to one room where he can't get into stuff like wires or anything else he can chew. Tho if he is frustrated enough he may start chewing on furniture.
I wonder if he has a dental problem? Puppies chew because their teeth probably hurt the same way ours do when adult teeth are growing in and we're trying to work out the baby teeth. An adult dog might start to chew if he has a sore tooth.
Suggest you confine him in a room where no lights are plugged in. Ruby chewed up about four feet of lamp cord. Fortunately, the lamp was plugged into an outlet on a switch, and the switch was turned off...otherwise, the world would have one fewer corgi today. She's back to staying in her crate when I'm out -- and will be, I guess, in perpetuity.
Agree with Susan.
For the first year and a half when I got Sully at age three she never chewed on anything, even if I was gone all day. Then I would come home to find chewed remotes and such. I now have to shut all the doors so she only has access to the living room and kitchen, and I unplug anything she can reach. I don't think it is separation anxiety because it happens even when I am home but just not not watching. I have even tried showering with the door open. She knows I am in there, and that is when she starts to get into things. She isn't hugely destructive, but she could hurt herself on an electrical wire, or choke on something, so I move things out of reach in case. I think it is more curiosity than anxiety in Sully's case. Since your Rocky is the same age as my dog I wouldn't think he just developed age-related anxiety, but of course I am no expert. I do think plain old boredom and curiosity, along with a typical desire to chew can motivate chewing incidents. I was told that Sully loved chewing rawhide and pigs ears at the shelter. She does love bones and treats, gets excited when she sees one, but I never let her have them so she seems to get her chew fix from anything that she can each that seems to be chewable. It really isn't hard for me to pup-proof since I live alone. It would be harder to manage if I was still raising my family. I have nothing against using crates, but so far I can manage. I wish there were better, safer chew toys. I heard tales of broken teeth from many and health problems from rawhide. I do give her bully sticks which would be a good solution if they were bigger to last longer, and if they were not so expensive. I did hear on animal planet that senior dogs can develop separation anxiety as an age-related complication, but you dog and mine are only four so I am betting on boredom. That's my best guess at least.
Taken together, these are pretty interesting developments. I wonder if returning to chewing in middle age is a corgi characteristic? I've never had a dog decide to take up chewing in the full bloom of maturity...but then, Cassie is the first corgi ever to move into the Funny Farm with me.
I've heard bad stories about rawhide, too, plus Ruby is allergic to any and all beef products. I tried that Himalayan cheese stuff -- it's expensive and they rocket right through it...and it's kinda icky. And I suspect it's made from cow's milk, not yak milk. ;-)