When we left off last time I had a certified trainer come to my house and suggest some new behavior training to curb his destructive tendencies. Some of her suggestions seemed to help and others didn’t. This time I’d like to share a few products with you that I’ve found to be helpful.
Bitter Apple Spray – I used Bitter Apple Spray to deter the dogs from chewing on my furniture and the corners of my walls. It worked the way it was supposed to; they didn’t chew where I sprayed the furniture. Unfortunately they decided to chew elsewhere, where I didn’t spray Bitter Apple. If you are having a specific problem, say with chewing on table legs, I would recommend this product. If your problem is more severe, like mine was, you may want to buy it by the case!
Chamomile infused treats– There are several varieties of these calming treats on the market now. I noticed a difference in the boys about an hour after I gave them their treats. They’d calm down quickly after guests arrived, they would be calmer (and less destructive) during the day. Unfortunately the treats seemed to have less of an effect after daily use for a few weeks. I would save these for special occasions, such as when you are having guests over or know a stressful event is on the horizon.
Kongs – I started out using empty marrow bones as makeshift Kongs. I finally bought a couple of the real things and believe it or not, they seemed to make a world of difference. The food is harder to get out which keeps them occupied longer and they seem to really enjoy chewing on the rubber texture. To this day each dog gets his Kong with a special treat inside when I leave for work. They even seem to look forward to me leaving so that they can have it!
Homeopathic Anxiety Drops – I read some good reviews about these homeopathic drops helping other pet parent’s curb destructive behaviors and separation anxiety. So far the effects have all been positive.
Relaxation CDs for Dogs – Classical music specifically designed for dogs that calms them and reduces anxiety. It seems to work because it plays a limited number of musical notes in a minute which slows the dog’s heart rate and helps them relax. It also seems to work on humans! One of our local animal shelters uses this music to calm the dogs in the shelter at night. I highly recommend this music. It has been very effective in calming Gatsby’s anxiety while we are away.
It’s been a long road through puppyhood and what I suspect to be a mild case of separation anxiety. It’s a lot of work, but what wouldn’t we do for our fur-kids? I’m still hopeful that they will calm down even more as they enter adulthood, and that I won’t have to rely on so many commercial products in the future, but in the meantime they’ve been a lifesaver!