As name suggests I have an 11 month old working cocker pup (my first dog, I wanted a high energy breed to encourage myself to be more active). He's been a dream to train so far and has picked up most things really quickly. In the last few weeks he's started chewing things he shouldn't - carpet, electric plugs, clothes etc. He only does it when hes on his own but he doesnt have to be on his own for long to do it. I went upstairs to brush my teeth and he started chewing the carpet at the bottom of the stairs, for example.
I dont understand why hes started destructive chewing, he gets a lot of attention, we always play with him or cuddle him when he wants it...ive looked at websites about separation anxiety but I dont think its that as hes not showing any other symptoms.
Any advice would be much appreciated, I'm at a loss!
Mental stimulation games and most importantly teach "settle".
we always play with him or cuddle him when he wants it It's not good to always play with them on demand. They have to learn to settle or play with their toys on their own, when you are busy. My guess (since you don't believe it's separation anxiety) would be that your biggest problem is he doesn't know how to settle because you play and give attention on demand, thus he is frustrated and/or trying to get attention when you actually need to do something else.
I have a working cocker and they are very smart. What do you do when you find he is chewing stuff he shouldn't? Are you subconsciously rewarding him by making a fuss when you find him?
We went through a stage of our dog chewing stones from the garden and made the mistake of giving him attention and getting him to drop them for a treat. Cue him doing this all the time when we were eating to get our attention so had to change tactic and ignore him or not let him back in the house and he stopped doing it.
@biteyshark where he usually does it when we're not around we can't give an instant reaction. He chewed the carpet yesterday and was physically shaking when we came down so he knows he did something wrong...we probably do make too much of a fuss about when he does bad things, I don't really know how to react to show him he shouldn't do it again.
@ivebeenaroundtheblock thank you, I'll bear that in mind if he doesn't make any improvements
Is there anything around for him to chew that is a toy. Maybe get something special and when you are about to leave e.g. go upstairs then give it him. If you see he's chewing something he shouldn't pass him the chew toy. Perhaps it is a behavioural/stress response and he needs something to chew. My spaniel needs something to hold in his mouth as a comforter. He has a few special toys he can't destroy but loves to hold/chew and offer as greeting presents.