Poor Alistair. About a week ago I left him alone in his play pen and he managed to get a pack of bobby pins in there, push the pins around and shred the paper. Since then, almost every time I leave the house, go to sleep, etc. and he's not in his dog crate, he finds paper and goes wild. He knows he's not supposed to do it. He understands well enough not to do it in front of me, but when I'm not looking, he goes for it. He just took a massive corner off my 3-subject notebook and ate my stats homework. (Not kidding. I'm too old for that excuse.)
So far, I've been rewarding him when he comes home and hasn't eaten anything and ignoring him when I come home and find shredded paper. That doesn't seem to be enough, so I just sprayed the paper basket and my notebook with bitter apple, hoping that it drops a hint. Has anyone else had this problem with paper chewing or anything other clandestine bad behavior? What did you do to stop it?
I hate to say it but paper-shredders are usually very dedicated and find it terribly rewarding. I really think the only solution is closed trash cans and no paper left in reach.
Sorry. They just love it so much. Both of mine rarely shred stuff, but those who love it don't find many other things as rewarding, so it's tough to stop.
Something counter-intuitive may be to sometimes give him empty cereal boxes and stuff. If he has an outlet to shred with your blessing, he MAY be less inclined to go looking for stuff when you are not around. For diggers they recommend giving them an ok place to dig, and my experience is that shredding is very like digging. It's part of the nesting instinct and can be tough to overcome.
Thanks everybody. I'm going to continue to monitor this discussion to see if I get more helpful hints. It's both comforting and disconcerting to know this is a real problem. Alistair tried to chew my tennis shoes when I was gone once, but after I "explained" to him tennis shoes were not OK, he stopped. This has been a much bigger problem.
Taking your suggestions with some extra training:
1) The paper bin is on my desk and still sprayed with bitter apple in case he tries to jump for it.
2) He's getting crated whenever I leave the house, even on short trips where he was allowed to stay out. He also gets crated at night.
3) He's getting training where I put a piece of paper on the floor and pretend to be sleeping. When he goes for it, I suddenly wake up and tell him "no." He's a smart dog, so he'll separate circumstances, but this will hopefully get him not to look for paper while I'm sleeping.
4) He already has tons of bully sticks and chew toys. He shredded my notebook within a foot and a half of his bully stick.
5) If all else fails and he just has to eat paper, I will definitely give him an outlet. I didn't think of that, but it's kind of like toys. He need to know which paper is "his."
Thanks so much everyone! I'm hoping this gets better over time and not worse. :-/
Yes, Buddha loves and always has loved, to shred paper from 7 weeks of age. He destroyed his first set of AKC papers. If he finds paper in his "domain" it shall be shredded, and he's going on 8yrs. He's only destroyed one shoe in his lifetime and never again after the ensuing discipline. Maddie on the other hand, like to eat chair legs and carpet o.O'
One of my pups at the "Puppy Primer" book that came with his first day of puppy class. That's how I learned about the lower shelves of bookcases :(
Reading this thread made me realize that I haven't had a wastebasket on the floor for twenty years. Not very elegant, I know, but it just seems normal to me now.