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Hi.

It's been a long time since I posted here. Thunder is now 11 years old, and is slowing down, but still going pretty strongly.

Thunder has over the past 2 weeks developed a new concerning behaviour whereby he will take items either off the floor or off a low table or shelf etc, and tear it to pieces, or eat it. Sometimes it's just a bit of cardboard, but the other day it was some lego, another day it was a shuttlecock and the head of it (rubber) was found in his poo the following day. This is entirely new behaviour that started a fortnight ago, but seems to be occuring each day overnight. Obviously, it's not safe for Thunder to do this, nor is it desirable. We are wondering how we can train him not to do it.

Nothing much has changed in the house recently, and not much that we can think of, has changed with his routine.

My wife is very upset with it and wants him locked outside, but then he sometimes barks at night when left outside, which isn't ideal from a neighbours perspective, or has suggested we muzzle him at night when we go to sleep. This doesn't feel a fair way to treat him, but we can't continue with him taking stuff off tables etc. I understand if it's on the floor, it's more "fair game".

Our confusion is that in 11 years he hasn't done this before, especially not as consistently.

Also, we have always wanted to get Thunder to bring things that are thrown for him, back. He will chase with great gusto, but we have never managed to get him to bring it back. Our kids are older now and want to play with him, which is desireable for all concerned I think, however, I wonder if it's too late to try and get him into this behaviour now?


Any advice?
 

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I think you should consider a comfortable crate for him when you cannot keep an eye on things. Also a check up at the vet. Eating odd stuff is probably a symptom of something going on inside. It could even be something as simple as sore teeth and chewing of things helps relieve some pain.
Just guessing.
 

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I also wonder if there's something going on inside- Ulcers? Pain somewhere? Needs worming?

Just a warning- My relative had a large dog that took up chewing and eating odd things around the house- had to

do surgery several times to remove things from gut- but he eventually died from an episode of eating something.

Is your dog getting enough exercise? Is he bored and getting enough attention?
 

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If it were my dog, I would crate him at night or contain him in a small, safe room at night (like the bathroom) with a dog bed and all harmful items removed. I would also take him to the vet for a check up since this is a new behavior. I wouldn't use a muzzle or lock him outside.
 
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