My dog steals my unmentionables....
My 8-month old goldendoodle has had one training class and overall is doing very well in our home. Lately, however, she seems to be particularly interested in my undergarments and is chewing holes in them. She seems to do this most when I am doing homework and therefore, ignoring her. Normally, when I take something away from her (like socks or undergarments) she gives it to me without any problems. Today, she turned her head the other way and whined at me. She wouldn't let go until I opened her mouth to get them back.
Any thoughts? I'm guessing it's a boredom/attention-seeking thing since I'm still in the house with her when she does it, but why the change to turning her head away when I tried to take it away?
You're probably on to something in thinking that your pup is simply finding stuff to chew when she has the opportunity (such as when you're not paying attention) so the first thing to consider is making sure that you're preventing her from having the opportunity to get hold of your garments in the first place by crating her when you're not supervising, closing doors, etc. Here are some articles from our Tips section on the topic of inappropriate chewing and the importance of management to prevent the behavior from continuing! http://www.woofology.com/chewingdiapers.html and http://www.woofology.com/chewing.html
The next thing would be to have other things on hand to occupy her attention while you are busy (if you choose not to crate her as prevention) Chewies such as Kongs and hollow bones can be stuffed with a variety of tasty goodies (peanut butter, canned dog food, baby food, cream cheese, etc) and kept in the freezer to be pulled out as needed. You could also consider some food dispensing puzzle toys such at the Tug-a-jug, the Buster Cube, or Nina Ottoson's puzzle toys.
As for why she turned her head away as you approached to take the garment. It is a very common mistep for humans to simply take things from our dogs without pairing the experience with good things for them. It's little wonder why so many end up becoming upset when we approach to take something away! In addition to the prevention aspect (making it impossible for her to get them in the first place), I'd be offering her a delicious trade as you approach her to take the garment if it happens again, and from now on anytime you need to approach with the intent to take something away. Click here for more on resource guarding prevention.
You may want to consider enrolling her in our Intermediate level class where we can help you learn how to teach her to happily relinquish objects upon request along with many other behaviors. You can read more about the intermediate class here.
If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact us, we're here to help!
Lisa Patrona, Dip. CBST, CPDT-KA, ACDBC, AABP-CDT