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Discussion Starter #1
My Dixie Mae is 1.5 years. She was just spayed late last month. Ever since she was feeling better from being spayed, she has been getting into things. She hasn't done this for at least a year. She is now counter surfing and chewing things that never interested her in the past. It is always when we are not home and doesn't matter how long we are gone for.

We have gotten her new and exciting toys and tried keeping her outside longer but it doesn't seem to help. She knows that she is doing something wrong because when we come home, she won't greet us if she got into something. We try hard to put things up high and at the very back of the counter where she can't reach but she has been finding ways and getting bolder about getting to things. I came home the other day and she had gotten into a loaf of bread, something she had never had any interest in.

Has this happened to anyone else before? It seems to have happened right after she was spayed, so not sure if it has anything to do with that. But we are at our wits end with the behavior. We have never used a crate, so I don't think that is an option and she is restricted to only two rooms when we are gone. Again, it only happens when we are gone.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I think your pup has a lot of pent up energy from having to be quiet during the recovery process. I have a funny video of my Maizie running wild in her cone after she was spayed and got the "okay" to exercise again. It's too bad your pup isn't crate trained, as I really believe it is a very useful skill for every dog to have, but since she isn't, I would use baby gates to confine her to one room with nothing but her dog items. And make sure she's getting enough mental exercise as well as physical exercise.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I appreciate the advice! We did remove food, but then she ate my chapstick, papers and a pencil, all things I didn't think she would even be able to reach! When we are gone, she is gated in a room with a window for her to look out of, but we didn't crate train. The breeder asked us not to, and we honored that. Incidents only happen when we are gone, never when we are home. I didn't know if it was anything having to do with the spaying and hormonal changes. Nothing else has really changed except we are home more. She could be bored. The weather hasn't been the greatest, but she is still outside the same amount of time. Thanks for responding!
 

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When I got my minipoo she was almost a year old. When we brought her home she kept going after shoes, especially mine. Not destructive, just running off with them. With dogs of this age you can’t allow them to do anything like this otherwise it becomes a bad habit. We had to remove all kinds of things off the floor and hide it for months. This included keeping all shoes in the closet, all cat toys, cat beds etc. anything potential of interest. All side tables, desks etc that she could reach were bare since I knew my daughters dog had a problem with pens. And Babykins had chewed the temples on my favorite prescription glasses. She was spayed just before we picked her up but I don’t think spaying was the reason. I think it’was her age. I also crated her when I was out and couldn’t watch her. I also went through this process when I had a tpoo. Absolutely no access to anything I didn’t want a dog playing with.

Every once and a while I tested her and a couple of months went by and I was able to leave shoes out and keep items on the tables etc. she seemed to have out grown this behavior and wasn’t interested. She always had her safe toys available to her and learned that her toys are what she plays with, not shoes, pens and eye glasses. Etc.to this day she ignores everything else and my tpoo did too. (With my tpoo my kids were little, one was a toddler so you can imagine how much work it was keeping child toys away from that tpoo).

If this was my dog I would go out of your way to remove everything and anything. Don’t give her anything to have fun with that you don’t want her to play with. She should only have appropriate toys that she can play with. If you are diligent for a few months then you’ll likely have a lifetime of no problems. But every set back means your dog has had lots of positive reinforcement that it’s fun. When was she grabbed that bread, boy oh boy did she get rewarded for that behavior. Every single time she surfed and got something to play with or eat she was rewarded. It’s up to you to stop rewarding her by leaving stuff out. I know it’s hard but worth it. Anything is fun, that chapstick and pencil rolled on the floor. Paper is a ton of fun to shred. Empty counters are boring and you want your dog bored with counters.

Since you don’t crate, lock in a very boring room with no access to anything except her toys.
 

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You've already been given excellent advice. Remove the chap stick and pencils if your dog is getting into things on the counter.

I just want to add, as a behavior consultant and trainer (retired...mostly) that your dog doesn't have a sense of morals like we do and doesn't know she did "wrong." If she doesn't greet you or shows some other kind of subdued behavior, it is probably because she's been told a thing or two upon your arrival and of finding some disaster she's done. Or if not that, even your disappointed demeanor can sometimes make a dog have a wee bit of trepidation on future returns of their owners. Science so far tells us that it's beyond a dog's cognitive ability to realize our morals and values or to think that all through logically about what they've done prior to your return. They're natural scavengers. It's what they do best...how they evolved. LOL. It's best to prevent your dog from getting an opportunity to practice the unwanted behavior.

Like Zoeysmom says...more mental exercise (fun training) and interesting walks and romps and just growing up will help.

I think crate training is important for situations like when she may go to a vet over night and has to stay in a crate. If it's all foreign to her, it will really stress her out. Best to get her use to one imo. Also if there's ever a natural disaster and dogs wind up in shelters or rescues, they're going to put her in a crate. I do NOT agree with leaving dogs for long hours in a crate. But for 1-4 hours when it's nap time or night sleeping time, I think that's okay. I've found that my dogs like their crates because they were conditioned to them. The best things happened in their crates...like dinner and tasty bones etc. I have now removed them from my living room because they just use the couch and I need the space. But when I had them set up, the dogs would voluntarily go in their crates...loved them. They were cozy little places to get away from it all. I left the doors open. A crate is also somewhat safer for car rides if you don't use a car harness or some other way to lock them down. lol.

Anyhow, good luck. She'll grow out out of this silly behavior soon enough.
 
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Stop allowing her to practice bad behavior. She does not know it is 'wrong,' she just knows she can get away with it when you aren't there to stop her.

I highly recommend crate training, not to leave her in it all the time, but get her comfortable with it. I crate trained Bug as a pup with no intention of ever really crating him as an adult. Recently, he had a bout of IVDD and was confined to crate rest for 8 weeks while he recovered. I was far more stressed than he for that (I so missed my bed Bug that I put his crate on the bed next to my pillow. Pitiful, I know)

Hopefully, you will never need to use a crate, but if you ever do, make sure she's comfortable in it. I hate to think how miserable Bug would have been had he not been introduced to one as a pup. He was miserable enough as it was.

Can you block her out of the kitchen altogether until she is past this stage? Far too many dangerous things get left on counters to risk her safety.
Best wishes!
 
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