won't stop chewing up kids' toys - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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won't stop chewing up kids' toys

Sadie just turned a year old last month. I know Golden's always feel the need to have something in their mouth, but the situation here is getting out of hand.
I have a 2yo and 5yo. Both are into little action figurines and despite my constant efforts to keep the toys off of the floor as soon as they move on to something else, the dog has been destroying them all. Any toy that gets in her mouth is chewed up, no just carried around.
She knows leave it, and if I find something in her mouth, I she'll come to me when asked and give, but how do I inhibit her to take it at all. I have tried bitter apple and it didn't do much. I also trade with her for one of her toys.
She has gone through a lot of money around here in chewing, not to mention I can't imagine what it's doing to her GI tract.
For those of you with bird dogs, how do you teach them to just carry stuff in thier mouths without tearing it apart? Is that my answer?

Loving My Girl Sadie

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 10:03 AM
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I have three children ranging in ages from 15 to 5. In the past 15 years we have raised 2 golden puppies and a collie puppy. Believe me I understand the trauma of a decapitated barbie doll. However, I am also personally aware that a dog eating the wrong toy will die if you don't catch it in time. I am going to tell you that Sadie probably can't be reliably taught at this point not to destroy toys. She's still a puppy. Some goldens outgrow this and some do not. Someone else may have an idea, I'll be interested to see.

In our house we use baby gates to manage our living spaces. Sadie should simply not have access to your entire house if she is still chewing/eating items she should not. Gate off the bedroom areas and she can't go back there. If you have a toy room/play room area, gate that off so the kids have a space to leave toys everywhere but Sadie can't have access. The main living area and kitchen will have to be toy free and the children will have to respect this. I guarantee that if you warn the older child not to leave toys in the living room or anything you find will go into the trash it will only take one or two 'trash can burial ceremonies' for him to remember the new rules. If you make this rule non-negotiable, your kids will obey.

There will always be some mistakes made, but for the most part it is entirely possible to run a house this way. It is worth the effort, it could save your dog's life. If you are unhappy with the money wasted on items she has ruined, you will be even more unhappy if you have to spend thousands of dollars on surgery to save her life.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 10:19 AM
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If I was Sadie why would I stop. I love chewing especially small action figures. It feels good in my mouth. (self rewarding) And when my Mom sees me doing it I get rewarded with attention from her. I am a dog and just doing doggy type things.

This game is a win win game for Sadie.

As long as the opportunity is there Sadie will continue to do it if it is rewarding to her.

There are no easy answers. Prevention and time.
Maybe you can make new rules where the chldren can only play with these types of toys in a certain area of the house and Sadie does not get to have access to the area until you have inspected and either had the children put the toys away or you have put them away yourself. Instead of driving yourself crazy having to keep one eye on the floor every where the kids go in the house you will down size the problem area and manage it by not letting Sadie have access.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 11:30 AM
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You could make it a game where she picks up the toy and brings it to you every time, that will take a lot of time and effort to teach her to do it. Keeping toys in a play area she doesn't have access to may be the best solution.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 01:32 PM
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We do not have young children anymore. However, we are on are third Golden Retriever over more than 25 years. We learned long ago that things that a Golden will put in their mouth need to not be on the floor or within dog reach. In our case, that is socks, towels, napkins, shoes and so on. Same with toys. The house must be organized in such a way that these hazardous items are not reachable by the dog.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 01:35 PM
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What about baby gates at kids bedroom doors and playroom only for toys with baby gate?

Can't blame a puppy for being a puppy.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 02:12 PM
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I don't have kids but I do have two bears in bed with me Molly used to think they were her toys too, since she does have a stuffed bear from the breeder. What I actually did.. might sound so silly and ridiculous and I am a little embarrassed to admit, is that when Molly would grab one of them, I would yelp "ai!!" as if she just nipped me. She leaves them alone now. When my boyfriend witnessed this, he said, "seriously?" lol
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 02:31 PM
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My three kids grew up with three large breed dogs, including puppies at various times.

Our rule was anything in the dog's reach, was the dog's. We started it with our oldest child as soon as he could understand. Actually, the toddlers were so proud of themselves for being a big guy and putting things away, it was easier with them. This carried over to school work, electronics and clothing. We do not replace what the dog destroys.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 02:34 PM
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I don't have kids but I do keep my 5 & 7 yr old grandchildren and have since birth. During this time I have had 2-4 goldens at any given time, they ALL have adored kids toys at some point, especially as puppies. There are a few things that have helped. Certain rooms are off limits to the dogs.....the living room and the grandkids bedroom. They have mostly been trained by having gates but in doing that they also know they are not permitted in those rooms so when a gate is accidentally left open they know not to go in there. Dogs can easily be trained to stay out of certain rooms. The rules for the kids are that they can have loose toys in those rooms and it is ok if they are left laying low, but if they leave them laying around in any other room and don't pick them up they are on there own if they get destroyed. If we leave the house I make sure gates are up or bedroom door is closed because they are smart enough to be sneaky.
My dogs especially love dolls and stuffed animals but why wouldn't they? I go to the store and buy them stuffed toys and other toys that resemble kids toys all the time.
Parker does know the difference and as excited as he gets to find a kids doll he always always brings it to me with his tail going hoping I will say it's ok....I just tell him he's a good good boy and act as though he did a great thing and take it away.
Many dogs do outgrow it. My daughters lab was horrible with the kids toys so she quit buying dog toys for him, it must have helped because he quit stealing theirs, I guess it helped the confusion. Now 1 of my 3 really doesn't care that much about the kids toys, just stuffed animals (but I still think that is my fault for buying them stuffed squeaky toys in the past. The other doesn't really bother much at all any more. I have two 3yr old and one 2yr old golden. It does get better with age, but I would at least recommend not buying stuffed dog toys to help them with the confusion there, it is a start. Maybe stick with balls and bones that are easy to differentiate?
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 03:06 PM
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I agree, a puppy is a puppy. Goldens love to retrieve (which includes stealing as well). Wakefield is pretty much through the destructive phase at 21 months BUT he loves to steal things. I laid out my tennis clothes on the bed last week, went to the kitchen to get coffee, and was greeted by Wakefield flying through the kitchen with my tennis shirt. We traded, he headed off to the bedroom and returned with the tennis skirt. He's the sneakiest and quickest golden that I've had. So, for me that means closet doors closed, clothing out of reach. He doesn't damage the clothes but loves to parade around the house with stuff.
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