Help with furniture and shoe and etc. chewing

Hello! I am the proud new Mommy of a rescued 2 yo Basenji girl. Starla was kept crated for the first two years of her life and is a puppy mill rescue. She's been with us for a week and really likes to chew on the furniture and our shoes and blankets and etc. etc. She isn't at it all of the time, but enough that it's nerve racking. She also scratches at things - doors, mainly, including the oven door! She's not been given toys or treats since she, whilst in her crate one day at the rescue facility (which had her crated almost all day every day for 8 months), dragged in a rope toy, ate it, and had to have blockage surgery. We've been trying to show her "her" toys - Nylabone, WestPaws heavy chewer bone, tirebiter, and Kong, saying "Starla's toy!" in a "trade ya'" fashion when she chews "illegals".
She didn't even know her name a week ago and knows no basic commands at all (she is coming to her name a lot now, after just a week :)) She's a sweet thing, and I want to be good to her… I don't know if just saying "no" firmly and spraying (the object) with bitter apple is the right thing to do. She also detests getting into her crate to sleep at night. We have it in our bedroom, and would like to have her out of it at night, eventually, but I'm nervous for her safety and our sanity. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, keeping in mind that I am a "positive" training person... thank you and kind regards to all!! (I'm so glad this forum exists!!! Sorry if this info has been previously posted.. I just don't have the time to search really well, and I'm new at forums - quite bad at searching for info. on here so far...)

Wow, a basenji that was crated for so long is going to need a lot of time and a lots of your patience in order to improve his behavior. Try treats, toys and lot's of positive reinforcement. You may also get your dog in training classes if that doesn't work.

Thanks … that's what I'm trying to do so far.... I really hope that I am up to the challenge, as I desperately want to give her the best that I can!!

You might try getting some of those interactive toys - the kind that you can stuff with treats - to keep here more occupied.
Also awhile back someone suggested putting a bit of Vicks vapo-rub (doens't have to be this brand) on whatever you don't want her to chew. I've done that with my dog and she immediatley learned not to touch those items. The vapo-rub last for several days so I found it better than bitter-apple spray. You have to check fabric first though, some get stained.
Lastly you might also invest in an excersise pen (x-pen) so she has a little more room than just the kennel - it might work for the night time issue at least.

@kimyko:

Hello! I am the proud new Mommy of a rescued 2 yo Basenji girl. Starla was kept crated for the first two years of her life and is a puppy mill rescue. She's been with us for a week and really likes to chew on the furniture and our shoes and blankets and etc. etc. She isn't at it all of the time, but enough that it's nerve racking. She also scratches at things - doors, mainly, including the oven door! She's not been given toys or treats since she, whilst in her crate one day at the rescue facility (which had her crated almost all day every day for 8 months), dragged in a rope toy, ate it, and had to have blockage surgery. We've been trying to show her "her" toys - Nylabone, WestPaws heavy chewer bone, tirebiter, and Kong, saying "Starla's toy!" in a "trade ya'" fashion when she chews "illegals".
She didn't even know her name a week ago and knows no basic commands at all (she is coming to her name a lot now, after just a week :)) She's a sweet thing, and I want to be good to her… I don't know if just saying "no" firmly and spraying (the object) with bitter apple is the right thing to do. She also detests getting into her crate to sleep at night. We have it in our bedroom, and would like to have her out of it at night, eventually, but I'm nervous for her safety and our sanity. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, keeping in mind that I am a "positive" training person... thank you and kind regards to all!! (I'm so glad this forum exists!!! Sorry if this info has been previously posted.. I just don't have the time to search really well, and I'm new at forums - quite bad at searching for info. on here so far...)

Aw….poor girl! I am so glad you have her, and are trying so hard to help her. Sounds like you are doing everything right. It takes quite a while for a dog rescued from a bad situation to be comfortable in a whole new set up. Even though we think 'wow, she should be so happy here, it is so much better than where she was' dogs don't always think that way, and she might be quite nervous with all the new freedom that she has. Interesting about the scratching at doors...I am sure that you investigated the possibility that she has to go outside when she does that....so could it be that she does it when she is feeling nervous about something? It could be a nervous habit that she picked up while being crated for so long. I wouldn't correct it at all, at this point...in fact, depending on how 'new' she is to your house, I probably wouldn't correct anything at all. Just distract her, or keep her from being able to access the door when she starts it. Have you tried tethering her to you during the day with a leash...and giving her treats every time she looks at you? That could really help build a bond between you, and distract her from whatever is making her nervous...it would also keep her from being able to do the things that you don't want her to do.

She sounds like a fascinating re-hab project. Feel free to contact me thru the private message (or whatever we call it here), if you want to talk through some more ideas.

@wizard:

You might try getting some of those interactive toys - the kind that you can stuff with treats - to keep here more occupied.
Also awhile back someone suggested putting a bit of Vicks vapo-rub (doens't have to be this brand) on whatever you don't want her to chew. I've done that with my dog and she immediatley learned not to touch those items. The vapo-rub last for several days so I found it better than bitter-apple spray. You have to check fabric first though, some get stained.
Lastly you might also invest in an excersise pen (x-pen) so she has a little more room than just the kennel - it might work for the night time issue at least.

I think the xpen is a GREAT idea….see how she likes that at night...it might do the trick.

Thank you all SO much!!! I haven't really been "correcting," per se, anyway… and not at all for the door scratching... I don't really know how to go about doing that (correcting) with a Basenji, as I've read (in my obsessive reading about them) that they are very proud and must always "save face." I've said "no" in a rumbley way when she's mouthed my son's arm... I don't know if that's the right thing to do!! I've read several positive dog training books and she just doesn't seem to respond to anything. I do "switch her" when she's chewing things with one of her toys and say, enthusiastically, "Starla's toy!!" but she rarely takes them. We haven't even found a treat she really, really likes. She'll eat the Newman's Own Chicken ones, but not particularly enthusiastically. She won't even touch some of them. I'm getting quite a collection! Peggy at Colorado Basenji recommended freeze dried liver bits, and we ordered some, but you can't give too many of those. I don't know... I've had yet another semi-sleep night, and am at my wits end...
I think I'll get on that x-pen right away! I mean, can she be rehabilitated? She'll eventually not chew everything and relax at night... right? I can't live with no rest... 😞 sigh...
On the bright side, she's not had an accident in almost three days (she wasn't house trained at all, according to the rescue, although she's never pood inside here), which is great!! I just have to watch carefully for the non-lying-down type of circling and then rush her out and praise lavishly when she's peeing outside... so that's good!!
Thank you all SO MUCH for the responses - it is most, most appreciated!! Kind regards! -Kim

But I wanted to say it sounds like you are doing GREAT. And that I am so thrilled for little Starla, to have found what sounds like a wonderful second chance for a happy, and healthy life.

hang in there, Kim…keep trying things, she will respond to something and then you guys will be 'off to the races' with training. B's are so smart, you'll be amazed.

Yes, it sounds like you are doing the right things - as for treats, my little tayda is a PICKY eater and she LOVES baby carrots! sounds weird. it IS weird. Also, little chopped up bits of hot dogs seem to hold her attention - at least for a while. But nothing like those carrots.

From what you described her previous life to be, sounds like she is probably very confused and unsure of her new surroundings - how is she to know that your loving home is how it's SUPPOSED to be!? She will come around… hang in there! And share your journey with us please! There are lots of rescue folks on this forum and we all love B's!

got some pictures????????

Thank you thank you thank you!! I will try to figure out how to put pictures on here… I am just looking into the e-pen!! I live in a really small town, so I am almost positive I won't be able to get it here, unless the "Cowboy Corner Feed Store" has them... ?? I'm going to go look before I order online. Thanks again!! The encouragement really makes a difference in this adventure!!!

Another thought you could try with the crying while crating…there is a product called Comfort Zone (D.A.P) - that output pheromones that might ease stress for your girl. Some people have great success with it. You can order it thru PetEdge...and there are coupons on the Comfort Zone website.

aww she looks sweet! good luck with her! Keep us updated… I'm sure you can find an expen online - I don't personally have one but I know there are threads here discussing online stores and prices...

Some of the treats that I have had the best luck with are left overs from our dinners…chicken, steak, etc...little bits of string cheese...bits of lunch meat. Liver, I usually just cook it, not freeze dried. The smellier, juicier treat, the better.

She might just be so unused to treats that she isn't comfortable trying out new things yet. Just give it time 🙂 Definitely try the xpen. You need to have a place that you can put her when she isn't being supervised so that she will not have the opportunity to chew things. You might contact the rescue person you mentioned, and see if anybody has an x-pen you can borrow, before you purchase one.

@kimyko:

K that one's kinda crappy…. here's another one...
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a399/nuthin_original/P1030598.jpg

she looks really sweet 🙂

She is doing well… but I am wondering if anyone has any info about NOT crating Basenjis at night... we would eventually like her to just sleep on her bed in our room (the crate is in the room....). Any input? Please keep in mind that she was crated for a LONG time, almost two years... THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!! -joyful regards.

Is she distructive when she is loose at night? Or have you just not tired her sleeping on the bed yet?

I don't know if she's destructive at night or not… I mean, the second night we left her out for most of the night, and she eventually went to sleep, but I got up really early cuz I was nervous about it... So... I don't know!!! We've been "doggie proofing" the room, but she has gnawed on our couch and on blankets, and obviously we have our bed in our room :), so I guess that's the main thing she could get other than the fact that our air purifier is plugged in where she could get to the cord. We've been thinking about how to remedy that... I just need to get sleep or I get migraines, so I can't have a situation where I never get normal sleep, ya' know? It's so hard and sad to get her in the crate, though!!! 😞 Thanks for any input!!!

For a picky chewer, try a bully stick. I use the braided ones and they last a very long time. The single ones go down to fast and don't seem to satisfy the chewing instinct some dogs have. They're a little expensive at the pet store ($20.00 for 2 12" braided sticks at our local petsmart) but if you find your Starla likes them, you can order in bulk at a rescue society in CA, Walkin' The Bark…
http://www.walkinthebark.com/
Their product is wonderful. My older B with teeth problems even likes them. (As a matter of fact my vet said his gums and teeth look better this year than they have in the past 3 years–-it's the 1st product I have found in MANY years he will chew on) The single strand may be an option for you in case you just want to try them to see if Starla likes them.

My Katie is a digger/scratcher. Ruined uncountable quilts, couche cushions, rugs, etc. We finally built her a sandbox in the back yard (a couple of 2 X 4's, bags of play sand, and some from our lake front to satisfy the scent factor) and she's happy to have a place of he own to dig to her hearts content. We also bury some of her favorite objects in the sand pit for her to 'discover'.

Good luck!!

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