Help with an unruly rescue dog

sagemoon2004

New Member
So, I manage a pet supply and do some rescue work. We took in an English Pointer, about 6 months old, planning on keeping him and he is wreaking havoc in our house during the day. I am pretty darn knowledgeable about most pets, especially dogs, (10 yrs in the store), but was thinking there are so many great people on here with ideas maybe someone has some different advice. The problem is that he is the size of a small lab at this age, and we are at work 10 hrs/day, and work over 1/2 hr away from home. So, I cannot in good conscience kennel him for that long of a period of time. Tried to put him in our basement, (which is mostly finished), but he chewed the bannisters and the built in gate at the top. He has plenty of chewable things that SHOULD be diverting him from trouble, not working. Somedays he only chews up something like a phone book, but today started on the stairs to our loft, mind you this is a nice house we only bought a yr and a half ago. I love Wally, but am scared to come home every day to a disaster. I believe it is seperation anxiety, but he is too scared out of the house to take him to work, which I have done with others. Any brilliant ideas for the otherwise good dog? When we are home he is awesome. I thought about the simulated pheremones, but he would probably try to eat the plug-in!!! Help! We do run him on our land at night, so he gets a lot of exercise, and my boyfriend is a hunter, I did all the research on the breed. He was on the way to the animal shelter, which is full of un-wanted hunting hounds....
 

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pssh

Avid Member
Is he neutered? If not, neuter him. He's at that age where it can really make a difference. That and some serious socialization work and he will probably leave the house if you want him to. It sounds like you may not have enough time for a puppy though.
 

Julirs

New Member
English Pointers are hunting dogs that have endless energy, and need alot of training and attention. If no one is home 10 plus hours a day I strongly suggest you rehome him to someone that has lots of time and room for him to run and run.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
My dog was destructive as a puppy because she had severe separation anxiety. I tried everything and finally resorted to crate training because nothing else worked. It worked beautifully until she figured out she could reach through the bars and pull stuff in to shred. I lost several nice comforter sets, many clothes, textbooks, photo albums, etc. But when she was 2 and a half I could finally leave her out while I was gone! She will still shred paper if it's around, but nothing else. But a puppy should not really be left alone for 10 hours if you can help it. It's not good for potty training and this breed needs something to keep them occupied because they're high energy as Juli said. You should try to come home for lunch so he's not locked up so long, especially if crated. Obedience training will give him something to do when you are around. And I don't know what you do when you get home from work but you should take him running, take him to the park, do something high energy for at least an hour so he is not just cooped up with a ton of energy all the time! You're taking a high energy (due to both age and breed) social animal and leaving him alone for an eternity in puppy years - it's going to cause problems no matter what you do. He's super cute though!
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't know how to implement this in the first place...but I remember that if you scent the things that the puppy can chew with one scent and the things that are yours or that you don't want him to chew with another scent he can be trained to only chew his own things.
 

sagemoon2004

New Member
I should have clarified, I am gone 10 hr/day, not my boyfriend, and we will be getting him fixed ASAP. My rescue group does a low cost spay-neuter clinic every week. We were waiting for him to get a little confidence in us first. He had some rough beginnings, poor guy. Now he is greatly in love with us. Wally will be traveling with my boyfriend in a semi, sometimes. Steve is very good at training dogs, hand signals, etc... We are very dog-oriented, so I don't think we took on more then we should, sorry that first post sounded like that. I don't think Wally would fare well at the animal shelter, so i had to take him in. Our shelter has beautiful dogs, everything from blue-ticks, to beagles, shepherds, you name it and just not enough homes in the area. I don't want to come across as an idiot about dogs, just need some creative in-put, and you guys have some good ideas! Thanks!
 

Julirs

New Member
My Grandfather trained Pointers to hunt-and I think the saying goes-"A good Pointer is a tired Pointer".
 

Elizadolots

New Member
I'm a little confused on how long the dog is alone. I think for that dog at this age, anything over 6 hours alone is going to be trying. Is there someone in the neighborhood you trust that can be enlisted (possibly for a small fee) to come over and take the dog for a mid day walk?

If you have a family with adults you trust who have kids, you might pull the old "hire the kids, get the adults" trick. Hire the kid (I'd say anyone over 10) and you can bet that the stay at home parent will keep your key and be watching that nothing happens.

"A good pointer is a tired pointer" is probably a truism. If you can wear him out in the morning, then get him a mid day walk/play time, he might not have the energy left to destroy.

I'd like to chime in and suggest waiting to neuter him. Yes, ultimately, I think you should neuter him. However, at his age, hormones are still doing important things for his growth. If at all possible I prefer to let dogs reach adulthood before neutering/spaying them.

Ask yourself if you think castrating a 10 year old boy wouldn't have negative health effects as he grew up. Hormones affect much more than sex drive and energy levels.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
I'd like to chime in and suggest waiting to neuter him. Yes, ultimately, I think you should neuter him. However, at his age, hormones are still doing important things for his growth. If at all possible I prefer to let dogs reach adulthood before neutering/spaying them.

Ask yourself if you think castrating a 10 year old boy wouldn't have negative health effects as he grew up. Hormones affect much more than sex drive and energy levels.
Sorry I have to disagree. It has actually been proven that there is no benefit to waiting longer to neuter them. In fact it could increase the risk of cancers if you wait too long and at the very least causes territorial marking due to hormones and that is very hard, if not impossible, to reverse. Dogs start lifting their legs to mark when they are sexually mature due to excessive testosterone and that is generally considered an undesirable trait. The testosterone also causes them to be more confident which may lead to dominance issues and cause them to seek females and try to escape. Boys and dogs are not the same. Humans take over 10 years to reach sexual maturity - dogs take 6 months. So by comparison this pup is as mature as a teen in terms of hormonal development. In female dogs the risk of mammary cancer is 0.05% if they're spayed before the first heat and it jumps up to ~8% after their first heat and then ~30% after their second. Just saying...waiting to spay/neuter is one of the biggest causes of unwanted litters and a huge component of pet overpopulation. And there is no real benefit to waiting to neuter.
 

pssh

Avid Member
I agree with Ferret! I have only seen good things come from neutering. Younger males became less destructive, older males stopped trying to leave the yard, they got less possessive, etc. I've never really seen it change the animal's disposition though (only toning it down a little.)

I have absolutely no idea if it's the same for females, but my lady-dog is the most boy-ish girl ever. She was spayed a few months ago when we adopted her and she is thought to be about 7 years old. She has had puppies before she was found loose in the streets. She lifts her leg like a boy. She marks left and right like a boy. She is very dominant towards other dogs and very protective of her family/home. She also humps stuff (never people) and is an avid stuffed animal eliminator. I think the stuffed animal thing is the terrier in her though.
 

Elizadolots

New Member
Welp, sorry. We'll agree to disagree. The cancer risk that is reduced is testicular cancer and as the testicles are removed, that's sort of obvious. I'd want to see a link on the breast cancer stats for females. However, even if those posted are accurate, I would really like to see them bumped up against weight related medical problems.

Dogs start lifting their legs to mark when they are sexually mature due to excessive testosterone and that is generally considered an undesirable trait.
Yet, my male didn't lift his leg to mark until about 3 months after he'd been neutered. I guess it's not really a standard thing, huh?

Marking might not be desirable, but it's natural. I refuse to think that denying a growing being natural hormones is acceptable just to keep the lawn furniture clean.

Humans take over 10 years to reach sexual maturity - dogs take 6 months.
It depends on the breed, actually. Big dogs are not fully mature until they are between 18 and 36 months old, and isn't that a big range? On the other side of the coin, a chihuahua is fully mature by 4 or 5 months.

All I'm suggesting is that waiting until the dog is fully mature. This is a good size dog, it's still a juvenile for its breed. Wait until it's mature, then do the snip.

Younger males became less destructive, older males stopped trying to leave the yard, they got less possessive, etc. I've never really seen it change the animal's disposition though
Did your head spin from the contradiction? They stop leaving the yard and get less possessive, but there's no change?

I'm not arguing the fact that early neutering makes males easier to handle. Really, it's a given. However, I don't know that "easier" equals "healthier" or "better".

I do know that every dog I've had neutered young (and all mine have been neutered) has had weight issues, but the dogs that were allowed to reach adulthood before neutering did not. I guess it could all be a big coincidence.

We all go to extremes to try to create the most "natural" environment possible for our chameleons, then the idea of letting a dog reach maturity before removing its gonads is questioned? I find that very skewed.

Again, neuter. It's the right thing to do. But, if possible, let the dog get to full size before you do. I honestly think that's the healthiest option for the dog, even if it demands more of the owner.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Welp, sorry. We'll agree to disagree. The cancer risk that is reduced is testicular cancer and as the testicles are removed, that's sort of obvious. I'd want to see a link on the breast cancer stats for females. However, even if those posted are accurate, I would really like to see them bumped up against weight related medical problems.
http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/lavc/2007/bergman2.pdf The numbers are in the first paragraph. Would you like more? As a vet I am pretty familiar with this sort of thing. And yes testicular cancer will be eliminated when neutered, but the risk of prostate cancer goes up the longer those testicles are in there - and you don't remove that when neutering. Weight is always a problem, neutered or not. People don't control their dogs weight any better than their own.

Yet, my male didn't lift his leg to mark until about 3 months after he'd been neutered. I guess it's not really a standard thing, huh?
There's a difference between lifting the leg to pee and lifting the leg to mark territory. Neutering rarely makes a male dog squat. Leg lifting is absolutely normal in male dogs - it's where they do it that's the problem. Territorial marking is not the same as normal urination.

It depends on the breed, actually. Big dogs are not fully mature until they are between 18 and 36 months old, and isn't that a big range? On the other side of the coin, a chihuahua is fully mature by 4 or 5 months.
You are correct. But this is not a large breed dog.

All I'm suggesting is that waiting until the dog is fully mature. This is a good size dog, it's still a juvenile for its breed. Wait until it's mature, then do the snip.
Personal opinion, which you are entitled to. I merely presented the other side of the argument. We can agree to disagree here. And I think this dog is already mature enough for it's size and breed. Not an adult, but capable of reproduction and that makes it mature.

Did your head spin from the contradiction? They stop leaving the yard and get less possessive, but there's no change?
That was not me so I won't respond for her.

I do know that every dog I've had neutered young (and all mine have been neutered) has had weight issues, but the dogs that were allowed to reach adulthood before neutering did not. I guess it could all be a big coincidence.
Indeed. Every dog is different, just like people. Why can my husband eat all the hamburgers he wants and look like a marathon runner and I eat a few and feel my pants fitting tighter? I've seen plenty of fat intact dogs as well - it all depends on genetics and lifestyle.

We all go to extremes to try to create the most "natural" environment possible for our chameleons, then the idea of letting a dog reach maturity before removing its gonads is questioned? I find that very skewed.

Again, neuter. It's the right thing to do. But, if possible, let the dog get to full size before you do. I honestly think that's the healthiest option for the dog, even if it demands more of the owner.
Again, personal opinion, not based on any facts. The facts actually say that neutering early is has no more significant disadvantages than neutering late, but it can have more benefits. There have been many studies on this because of the young age shelters spay and neuter their animals - people want to make sure it's the right thing to do. Do you also try to have a pack of dogs that hunt live prey and have a social hierarchy like wolves? It's not natural to have domesticated dogs in households where we feed them manufactured kibble to begin with so "nature" has been taken out of the question. It is better to neuter early to avoid any potential "accidental" litters due to massive and overwhelming pet overpopulation problem. Accidents do happen so why even take the risk? We need to be more responsible owners. I think it's worth it in the face of the millions of animals we kill every year in shelters.
 
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pssh

Avid Member
Did you see the part AFTER that? "(only toning it down a little.)" The lap dogs are still lap dogs. The dogs with tons of energy still have a lot of energy but it's not fueled by testosterone. The dogs that love unconditionally, still love unconditionally. This is in MY experience. Who are you to tell me that my experiences aren't correct?
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Before this degrades please know that everyone is entitled to speak from experiences and personal opinions. But you should preface those arguments with "in my opinion/experience" or something along those lines. Stating your opinions as facts when you don't really know whether or not it is something that's true for all situations or just yours is how myths are perpetuated. Like the one person who had a chameleon survive in a glass aquarium for a while with no UVB that told all their friends that it worked and now we are constantly fighting this misinformation. I didn't respond to prove any sort of superiority, I just want facts to be known. Both voices should be heard. Let's all play nice and have a civil discussion because this is a significant and interesting issue. :)
 

pssh

Avid Member
Is that in reference to me? Because I thought I made it rather clear that it was about what I have seen (you know, since I used the word "I" as in me/Kara/pssh/whatever you want to call me)
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Is that in reference to me? Because I thought I made it rather clear that it was about what I have seen (you know, since I used the word "I" as in me/Kara/pssh/whatever you want to call me)
No it was not to you. You were very clear in your intent, just beat me in posting faster. :)
 

Elizadolots

New Member
Well, the neutering issue is really another topic. Every pet owner needs to make their own choices on that. Sometimes there are issues which force early neutering regardless of what the owner might prefer.

The topic is keeping a fairly energetic dog in a confined space without risking total destruction. While neutering would eventually help with that it wouldn't happen right away. In my experience it takes months for the change to really take effect, so neuter or not, the original poster still has an immediate problem.
 

pssh

Avid Member
Well, it looks like the person who stays home is going to need to step up their game :) Try channeling that extra energy and destructive behavior into something more constructive. (Example: your dog like to dig up your flowers, so get him a sand box. Or Maybe your dog has a great sense of smell and likes to smell stuff and get into trouble in the process. Teach him to be a scent dog.) Food and/or toys goes a long way with puppies.

I would suggest trying to stimulate his mind more. Training him any kind of tricks will help keep him mentally stimulated and hopefully less focused on any destructive behaviors. Of course this would be in addition to nice long walks/runs. You will need to be very consistent. We got our young lab under control by neutering him and lots of mental stimulation (plus physical exercise.) He was crazy as a puppy and it was cute until he was big enough to know my younger brother down and break stuff. Now he is very obedient and very caring.

edit: oh yeah, always use positive reinforcement with nothing more than a stern "NO" and maybe sending him to another room (or something along those lines) as punishment.
 
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