Dear Daisy Dog
Piper, our eight-month-old Scottish terrier, chews on our maple tree and pulls up clumps of grass. Indoors, she chews her pillow.
Piper has many chew toys, eats dry food, and gets plenty of exercise. Why is she chewing so much?
It sounds like Piper regards the house and yard as her very own territory. She thinks everything there is her property, to do with as she pleases.
To remedy the problem, teach her in kind, respectful ways that while she is an important member of the family, you humans head the household and own the property, both indoors and out.
Here are a few techniques that will help convince Piper that you are the leader of the family “pack.”
We dogs recognize whoever leads to be our leader, so precede Piper when you go outside, come indoors, and enter rooms. Supervise her outdoors until you trust her.
Don’t play tug-of-war, because when you relinquish the toy, Piper reasons that she is stronger and therefore deserves to own all the “toys,” including the pillows.
Join an obedience training class and practice daily, both inside and outdoors near the maple tree, to reinforce your leadership position.
These are just a few of the methods you’ll need. For more, consult books that stress positive, motivational techniques, like Leader of the Pack, by Nancy Baer and Steve Duno.
My brother Sam had Piper’s problem when he joined our family, and these techniques helped him -– although last week he did chew Dad’s checkbook to bits.