Charlie doesn't like to be left aloneThey pulled the throw off the back of their leather sofa to reveal a gaping hole full of white stuffing, like snow, and the wooden frame!

This was Charlie’s handiwork over the past four weeks since he arrived from the Blue Cross. He was originally brought over from Ireland at three months old with his mother and has been in kennels for the past nine months – nine important months in the life of a one-year-old adolescent dog.

When Charlie is left alone he may chew the door frame and leave puddles of drool on the floor due to his stress, or he may chew the sofa. Because it doesn’t happen every time I suspect there may be two separate issues here – separation distress and boredom. After all, he has probably never been alone before as he was kennelled with his mother. In a kennel he will not have been taught some basic rules of living in a house – like don’t eat the furniture, nor reshape it into a comfortable nest full of comfy white stuffing!

On one occasion they videod him and he mooched about and lay down – chilled and settled. Possibly an external noise starts him off, or possibly he simply gets bored. In the kennels they were shut down at 4pm and left alone until the morning. I expect anything in the kennel availabe to chew would be fair game to a young dog.  He needs to be caught in the act – set up intentionally perhaps.  He needs to be taught that furniture isn’t for chewing and shown what can be chewed instead, using patience and encouragement.

Separation issues need working on also. He has only been with them for a month and has settled in amazingly well considering his nine months living in rescue kennels. He is obedient, friendly and not over-excitable. He doesn’t jump up and he’s not demanding for attention. He pulls on walks but has probably never been shown otherwise and is another case of correction and force having the opposite effect to what is wanted. Someone said that if you pull a dog back, his brain says forward.

Charlie is brilliant with other dogs. He has no ounce of aggression in his body. A wonderful dog.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.
About six weeks later: “Charlie, high and (not low) lows, mostly high points though.  The good points there has been a significant reduction in any new damage we still have to make sure things are put away when we leave, the slobbering has again significantly reduced when we are out and he is more than happy to go to his bed of his own accord in the evenings and the day even when we are here.  Walking is much much better. He is good with other dogs when out and will come back to me without being called until we get close, this gives me an opportunity to decide whether he plays or not.  His recall is the one issue, its getting better and I have to say even when he does go his return is much quicker, the dog walker says he is much calmer and I have to agree.  We don’t overly fuss him but he is more than happy for a play and cuddle when we want. We will stick with the programme and review in a couple of weeks, the lighter evenings will make it easier to train him when we get back from work”. About five weeks after this I was told that Charlie had started to damage the sofa again. This is what happens if the people go back to their old ways – so does the dog. Lack of consistency is very difficult for a dog.
It’s now eleven months since I started working with them, and I have just had this email: ‘Sorry it has been so long since we contacted you but after the last advice we just got stuck in and can’t believe how the time has gone.  Anyway we thought you may like to see a couple of photos of our wonderful HAPPY dog Charlie.  We have overcome the chewing and separation issues, he is settled very happy, his return is still being worked on but improves each week, indeed he does always come back. I am so glad we stuck with him, despite loosing a whole leather settee as he is a wonderful companion and quite a character…….. I took him back to Blue Cross where we got him from and they could not believe the difference.  He is now a confident, happy pooch who is an established family member. Thanks for the advice, we have followed it and the results – well you can see’.