Please help me with Ava! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Please help me with Ava!

Okay guys, I just don't know what to do anymore. Here's my dilemma...
Ava is eating my entire home at this point. I don't own my home, I rent an apartment and I rent from a very nice complex where everything is new and I just so happen to work for this company as well (which makes the pressure of maintaining the condition of the apartment even worse!).

Well, I've only been here 2 months and since I've moved in Ava has really more or less destroyed the place. Now, I know she is young and all and she's going to eat things...believe me, I have come to recognize the fact that every single time i walk into my house there is going to be something destroyed. I understand that when i leave my shoes on the floor in the living room and i come home to find them in tiny pieces in the middle of the living room floor...that's MY fault. I have no issue with that. By the way, this happens every day, if it's not shoes, it's magazines on the coffee table, things I've left on the kitchen counter, socks she pulls out of the laundry room, my underwear from my closet (which she knows how to open herself!) and ALL of this...I could care less about.

FYI - Just so you know before I keep rambling. I have two crates for Ava. She was being crated while I was at work all day at first...which i was okay with....but then she started tearing apart things in the middle of the night, she even ate the corner of my bed when i was sleeping in it...so i had to start crating her at night too. Well, then i realized she was being crated practically 20 hours a day, and i know myself and I would be the FIRST person to tell someone else how incredibly cruel this is and that it's not healthy physically or emotionally to keep a dog in a crate for 20 hours a day. So......I started weaning her out of the crate. Coming home at lunch and letting her out for the last 2 hours of the day....she'd do okay. Shoes and little stuff....but nothing I couldn't live with. I started trying her out of the crate at night again, but she'd eat the stuff off my nightstand, eat my bed skirt and anything else that was made of fabric while i was sleeping, so we had to do the crating at night again. Bottom line....I have the option to leave her in a crate 20 hours a day OR leave her out of the crate. I have been leaving her out of the crate because I can't conciously leave my baby in a crate for 20 hours a day. It's just not right.


Ava has moved on to big and better things. First she ate the legs of my kitchen table and chairs....okay, okay....stuff happens. I got over that quickly. Then she ate the corner of my $300 area rug...okay, whatever i turned it around so it's not quite so visable...then she ate the other corner and the other corner and then of course the OTHER corner. Well, obviously i am not buying a new one right now because she'll just eat it again, so my apartment looks like crap...please also keep in mind, she will lay down right underneath my feet while i'm laying on the couch and chew apart the rug right in front of my face. It's not like she only does this stuff when I am not around. So.....rather than keep her crated, I tried gating her in the kitchen. Well that worked okay for a day or two, UNTIL she deciding to eat the wood moulding around the bottom of the wall. (again, this is a new apartment!). I tried the bathroom, (they are really big here and it's atleast bigger than the crate) and she scratched up the entire back of the wooden door and ate my bath mats and the end of my shower curtain....

Well today i came home from work and opened my front door over a mass pile of ripped up carpet padding and as i stepped further into my door, I found the brand new carpet of my apartment ripped off the ground and flipped over as far as the next room. The entire carpet is chewed into pieces in mutiple areas and not just along the seams (which would be easier to replace and piece together) and the carpet padding is all ripped apart into chunks. I have flipped what's left of the carpet back over and i am missing big holes all through out it and all the padding is missing in chunks so it doesn't lie flat and there are tacks sticking out that hurt really bad to walk on so no i have to wear my shoes around the house. I work at this apt. complex and live here so i am going to HAVE to have this replaced the correct way which means now i have to tell my boss that after being here for 2 months my dog has destroyed my carpet and being a single mom supporting myself and my son on just my income and barely skating by....um, is it possible for me to make payments to pay for the new carpeting in my apartment??!!? Meanwhile, I am typing this note to all of you and that little bugger has the nerve to come back over to the carpet she's already destroyed and start tearing it apart again. And she knows she's wrong, she runs into her crate and crates herself the minute i stand up to even check tos ee what she is doing. I don't even put her in the crate for punishments, i would never want her to associate it as a bad place, she puts herself in there.

This is obviously NOT working out. I just don't think she's cut out for apartment living. I honestly feel she needs a house with a yard and a family who has someone home that will be able to give her the extra attention she needs and deserves. But....i've spent the last several hours crying and just staring at her as she climbs on top of my and licks my face to bits. I LOVE this dog. Many of you know, I drove myself down to florida from chicago in a uhaul, towing my car...and had this little dog in a seatbelt at my side the whole ride....I had no intention of ever giving up my dog and I think it will rip my heart out if i do...but is this good for either one of us?

P.S.
for those that don't know me well, i have volunteered at canine rescues in chicago for a long time, i have taken Ava through training, she has tons of toys, ropes, chewies, even bones that i am not crazy about because i know they can be dangerous to their internal organs, etc. but that i've bought anyway in hopes that she'd chew that instead. i leave the music on when i leave. i fill kong toys with stuff and freeze them so they take longer to get the stuff out. and there is nothing that has made a difference....not to mention SHE WILL DO ALL OF THIS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, IT'S NOT JUST WHEN I AM NOT HOME.

Please help me make the right decision for both of us, I just don't know what to do. I feel like we are both miserable right now but i can't imagine life without my Ava.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 06:37 PM
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Oh goodness...how old is Ava? Sounds like severe separation anxiety. Have you spoken with your vet about managing your concerns and altering her chewing? Have you spoken with any behaviorists? Have you considered doggy day care, and is it even an affordable option?

I'm so sorry...I don't know what to tell you. I hope you find solid solutions to resolve these concerns.

Please keep us abreast of Ava and let us know what you find out about addressing her hard core chewing.

I wish you well and much success here!
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 06:43 PM
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Wow......I'm going to spout out a ton of stuff.....if you've tried it...great...if not...then let me know.

She needs to be crated when you are not there to supervise her. This is for her own saftey. She could rip something apart and choke on it.

When you get home, she needs to be tethered to you. She cannot be out of your sight for a second.

She's got a ton of energy and chewing is VERY rewarding to dogs. It just plain feels good. So essentially, she is rewarding herself by chewing. One thing you can do, is to stop giving her meals in a bowl and put everything in a treet dispensing toy like a Buster Cube. Make her WORK for it. That will give her something to do. She's bored and she is learing that it's much more rewarding and fun to chew on carpet, chairs, or anything else, rather then toys. So it sounds like she needs to be interested in toys again.

I have a VERY destrictive chewer. Hunter will shred carpet, has pulled up entire rooms before. Padding and all. He'll destroy any paper we leave lying about. And, he HATED toys and bones. Refused to chew on them. So, that dog was attached to my hip for a LONG time before we could trust him not to run into the other room and rip something up.

He'll still do it on occasion. If we are forgetful enough to leave something out during the day he can get to. He and the other dogs are left in our entry room/dining room during the day. It's all tiled and hard wood floor, that is the only reason he is left loose......if it wasn't, he'd be crated.

Change the toys around.....don't leave all the toys and chewies out all the time. Have a few out....then the next week, change them....and so on. She'll be like, "Oh wow!! New toys!!!" each time you do it.

That's it for now.....if I think of other stuff....I'll chime in again.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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I have discussed this with the vet and they recommended the crating and other chew options for her. I had her in doggie day care as a wee puppy and it was $22 a day if you paid in advance for the month, otherwise it was even more costly. The problem even with that is that she does it when I am home too! Just as much! I really can't afford to do doggie daycare again, I am on one income now and am just making it with the bills i already have to pay for. Ava is almost a year old now. I adopted her when she was under 12 weeks old, she was found on a highway in kentucky. I don't really know what type of dog she is, but suspect she does have some lab in her and have been told this is common in labs. Not sure though. Regardless....i guess that part doesn't really matter, i just have had no luck with anything and i can not risk anything else being destroyed anymore. I don't have any money and now i have no carpet and tacks sticking up from my floor, this has just reached a point beyond where i ever thought it would go.

The seperation anxiety thing....this could be part of it....she also freaks out if i try to put her in my bedroom for 15 minutes...so i can say...eat dinner in peace - she barks and scratches to be let out and just wants to come and be near me. If i go onto the back porch for even a minute, she jumps and scratches at the door to come outside and be with me, and she follows me everywhere i go and is constantly around me. But what can i do about that? I still have to leave, i dont' have the money for any type of behaviorist, and i surely can't afford to put her on any type of money doggie prozac or anything for the long term....
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Jen....I DO leave all the toys out at one time right now, I will start collecting them and switching them up. I also did try two different toy food dispensing things and she ate the dispenser as well LOL!!!

Don't you think it's cruel to leave her crated for so much time if i got back to crating her? Also, I am not exaggerating when i say she will eat my furniture while she lays down at my feet....so even tethered to me, she does it...of course i stop her right away and correct her, but she just does it again 5 minutes later....what do you do then??
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 06:55 PM
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With her being tethered, you can give a correction. Keep doing it if you must and praise like HECK when she chews on something good....have a freaking party!

Or just leave a leash on and grab it to correct her when you have to.....not I'm not saying yank her off her feet....a simple, "EH" is usually enough, but use the leash to direct her away from the spot and start running through commands with her. Can she sit? That's good enough! Sit and praise. Her mind was just taken off the chewing. Dog's are pretty simple!

Our PoGo would get up during the night and go potty somewhere.....anywhere. So I put a leash on him while he slept. He couldn't go anywhere now. Pain in the a$$? Yup.....but worth it? Of course.

This stinks no matter how you look at it....chewers are the worst. It's a BAD habbit. You can try the Bitter Apply sprays, but mine have develped a liking for it!

Squirt guns work nicely.....unless it's a water loving dog. Ever try and squirt a lab? They just lap it up....

And she's crating herself because that is her safe place.....so she doesn't mind being in there.....but I think you've got to wear her little butt out when she's out of it!
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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I'll try the leash at night thing. Thanks
I will try to get her more exercise after work too and see if that helps.

It does make sense now that you say that about her crating herself. It is her safe place....
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Oh that's right, I forgot...she chews through her leashes too when i leave them on her. It takes her usually about a half hour. When I am with her, this would obviously be something I could correct her on, but at night when i am sleeping, she will chew through it and be up to her old tricks. I even tried a chain leash once but the handle was leather and she ate that too. i could try one of those cable kind, but i think it would be hard to find one short enough, they are usually real long.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 07:06 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear your having problem with Eva. I had a german shephard once with similar behvariour issues. In the end he needed more attention and was very content when we put him with the other dog's at my Dad's place. Have you tried spraying a deterent or a bitter spary on everything.

As for your apartment situation and all the damages. Perhaps find a general contractor to come in and do a fix up job on the downlow right before your lease ends. You could have someone come in and estimate the costs and you can PM me the prices along with your measurements and what damages they are and I can tell you how much to haggle if they are overcharging ( I work for a General contracting company and do all the bids and estimates for banks)

Good luck!


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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-13-2005, 07:17 PM
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Oh my goodness...*HUGS*

I'm sorry you are having so much trouble with Ava. Reading your post is like reading about me, a few years ago, with my Beagle, Bandit. He was also VERY destructive, with severe seperation anxiety. Destroyed our house. In the end, with ALOT of tears and heartbreak, we found him a new home. It was AWFUL, but now I know it was right. Bandit went to a home with a woman who is home all day long, has another beagle, and spoils him rotten. He has a huge fenced yard as well, something we could not give him. Still, it was AWFUL to go through at the time.

I hope you are able to somehow resolve Ava's behavior so you don't have to re-home her like I did...I'm sorry I don't have any great advice on how to go about DOING that. I will say, when I was working at the vet, I saw a lot of problem dogs with seperation anxiety completely turned around with the introduction of medication. Even a very mild sedative may take the edge of her. I know money is tight, but have you talked to your vet about exactly how much they would be?

*more hugs*
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