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Hi there! I am a newbie here... We have 2 Italian Greyhound/Chihuahua mixes that are just over a year old. They are very well behaved, fully potty trained, and very smart... When we are at home they are fantastic and rarely misbehave. I have been crating them together in a large crate while we are away and that has worked pretty well. About 3-4 months ago we tried putting a baby gate in our hallway to close off a small area for them and give them a little extra space. So they had their crate and a very small space to be in.. I'd say about 25-50 sq/ft. We gave them lots of chew toys and bones and this worked for about a week with no issues. We came home one day to a small hole in the carpet. Our fairly new carpet :( So back in the crate they went..

Several months have passed and we decided to give it another go. We gave them the same space and again, about a week has gone by and no issues, then tonight I came home to another, larger hole in the carpet. I'm frustrated and sad because I really would like for them to have a little more space while we leave (we are usually at work for about 6-7 hours.) As I said, they had lots of bones and chew toys, we have a fenced backyard and they both get at the very least an hour of backyard playtime everyday.

I have my suspicions, but I don't even know for sure which one is doing the chewing. I understand they are still puppies and may need some more time.. But will they ever be able to be out of their crate while we're away? Has anyone out there had experience with this type of situation? Were you able to successfully transition your chihuahua out of the crate? How do I fix the issue if it's only being done while I'm away? Any help is appreciated!
 

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If you are not watching them, and you still want them out---I'd try that Bitter Apple spray on the rug. Let them see you spray it on the area of the rug that has been chewed. They will instinctively go and smell it. As they are smelling it, tell them "Leave it" or "NO" or whatever you use for leave the object alone. Then I would not leave them out for a couple of days. When you are able to watch them, let them out into the area. If they go near the chewed areas, tell them Leave It. Good luck. Have you tried stuffed Kongs?
 

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Kind of in the same situation as you at the minute with chewing! Come downstairs to a slipper in several pieces this morning, a loo roll chewed up last night! The worse is Prince has started sneeking off over to the stairs and started chewing the carpet, he knows it's wrong because as soon as he sees me his ears go back and he stops lol. I've tried spraying different anti-chewing sprays but non have worked so far! When Prince is locked up when we go out we give him the dinning room and kitchen area (where there is hard flooring and nothing to chew) Is there nowhere you can keep them with hard flooring? My best advice would be getting a kong and stuffing it with kong paste or soft cheese. Keeps Prince company for a while when were out. I've also heard you can freeze peanut butter in them over night then it will last them longer seeing as there being left for a while, maybe will keep them occupied and lest tempted to chew the carpet! Hope you find a way to stop them soon!
 

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Chewing and destroying tends to decrease with age. Jaxx was right around a year old when we started letting him have more access but we started with short periods.
I would leave them in their crate for now but when you want to try again don't do it for a time when you are going to work. When you are running a quick errand let them have their space and see how they are doing and then build up to longer amounts of time that they have freedom.
The destruction is probably related to stress with you being gone. Slowly building up their freedom time while you are gone will reinforce to them that you will always come back.
It does get better with age. Jaxx is 2 years old and has free roam of the house 24/7.



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I'd never had a dog before so I did lots of research and came across "Before You Get Your Puppy" by Dr Ian Dunbar. You can download it free here: Sirius Dog Training

Dogs are natural scavengers and without humans, they roam around searching for food most of the day, with no time to chew carpets, growl, bark and bite unnecessarily! Dunbar suggests that we emulate this lifestyle and by feeding our dogs from stuffed Kongs. This means your dog has to work for the food and it takes his/her mind off destructive and antisocial behaviours like chewing, scratching, barking and whining when you're not around. Just stuff the dog's regular kibble (or whatever you feed usually) into the Kongs and let him/her eat from that instead of a bowl. Also, make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water.

I ended up giving my long coat Chi, Alfie, three little puppy-size Kongs stuffed with kibble, with a couple of tiny bone-shaped biscuits crossed over each other at the top to keep the kibble jammed in tightly. I also put a tiny piece of cheese, meat or fish in the tiny hole at the other end - this gets the dog really interested and sure enough, it kept him busy, working the food out of the rubber cone shaped things. He'll be three years old in November 2013 and this is how he has regularly eaten his breakfast and dinner since he was 8-weeks old. I wouldn't have known what a Kong was, let alone about this great feeding regime if I hadn't found that free book online. Alfie has grown up to be a non-chewer, non-scratcher, non-biter/barker/growler and a shining example of the breed to introduce to people and dispell the myth that Chihuahuas are all tiny bad tempered hell hounds! And it's all thanks to Dr Dunbar's book and, of course, the guru teachings of Cesar Milan :D
 

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Do you take them on long walks when you are at home? That stimulates them and they get to use their brain on what is natural to them..This i'm sure comes from boredom :)
 

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Do your dogs get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation while you are home? Often it is boredom that leads to problems like this, you want to make sure they are getting a nice long walk every day if it is possible, and some training sessions will challenge them mentally while also tiring them out (thinking is hard!). If they are tired out while you are home, they will just sleep while you are away. I do agree though it could just be the timing, around a year a lot of chis seem to go through a second chewing phase, you might need to crate for a little bit longer.
 

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Definitely sounds like boredom to me. Also, are you positive that they are chewing, and not digging holes in the carpet in an attempt to get out? Make sure they are TIRED before you put them in the area, and then tire them out again when you get home. This will take more than a leisurely walk around the block. Iggys need A LOT of exercise - running and running and running. It's what they were bred for. Run, bike, or skate with your dogs. Run them 'til they cain't run no mo'!

Another possibility that will work their brains more than just physical exercise is getting them into a training regime - These dogs are half sight hound and were bred to chase things down! Maybe lure coursing would help? Or agility? Something to really work their minds.
 
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