Dear Family Pet Expert,
I am 32 weeks pregnant and until a few weeks ago I had two perfectly behaved dogs. Now they are chewing paper and clothes. sometimes right in front of us. They have not destroyed any baby stuff. Could their strange behavior be related to my pregnancy? I am spending as much time as ever with them so I don't get it.
Dogs do sense changes and it is possible that they are aware of your hormonal changes and chewing your clothing makes them feel closer and more connected to you. It is also likely that new items either for baby or from the holidays are in your home and are more available.
Dogs do what works for them. If this new behavior is getting them attention then they most likely have found it rewarding. I would ask yourself what has changed in the environment.
Often changes are due to other things besides us. Thank Goodness! You are already experiencing Mommy guilt! Be careful with this. Be fair to yourself and think about the other major factors contributing. More likely it is boredom, or lack of exercise or something as simple as getting attention. Consider when this began and what might have contributed to it. Then look at how you might be fueling this behavior unintentionally with any type of attention to it.Now is a great time to review your obedience commands -- leave it and drop it. Keep in mind that the addition of a new baby is a HUGE gain for dogs in that very soon they will have another treat offering human. I hope this is helpful. Please also visit www.familypaws.com for more material to read on this subject.
Thank you for emailing your question and Good luck with your new baby!
Jennifer Shryock, creator of Dogs & Storks™ DVD and national program, is a stay-at-home Mother of four and a certified dog behavior consultant, specializing in safe Kid and K9 interaction. Believing the relationship between dogs and their family is precious, Jennifer created her business, Family Paws to offer opportunities to families to enhance their relationship with their dog/s. Jennifer uses only positive dog and kid friendly techniques that anyone can perform in their own home. Jennifer's combination of passion and experience as a parent, special education teacher and certified dog behavior consultant allows her to connect and support families in a unique way.
Jennifer is certified through the International association of animal behavior consultants, and maintains professional membership with Association of pet dog trainers. Jennifer is also the U.S. rep for Doggone safe, a non profit organization dedicated to dog safety. Jennifer has been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal and Dog fancy as well as been a popular guest various radio programs.
Jennifer and family share their home with 4 rescued dogs. Carin mal/shep mix, Bailey, siberian husky, Duke, German shepherd, Windsor, pit bull and 5 cats.