First, I should let you all know that I'm new. We have three wonderful dogs whom we love very much.
Ashe is the oldest- a black lab / pitbull mix. My parents adopted her from the shelter 'cause she was slated to be killed the next day since she's a "pitbull". (She was ineligible for adoption and they only keep owner surrenders three days.) She was 6-8 months old then. My mom argued with the staff, and they finally decided that if we wanted to adopt her, she could live. So the next day, the day she was supposed to be euthanized, she was spayed and we brought her home. She'll be seven years old this spring. She was always given lots of attention (and is an indoor dog), but she didn't truly come out of her shell until we brought Zeus into our home.
Zena turned four yesterday. I adopted her from the shelter when she was six and a half weeks old. She's my princess. She's spoiled rotten and smart (can even put her toys away when she's asked, after she's played). She seems to be half german shepherd, half golden retriever. She grew up around cats and every single litter (or stray) rescue kittens we've ever brought home since getting her have fallen in love with her. The cats are attracted to her and always snuggle.
Zeus is our baby. He was found wandering the storm channel next to our house. My husband got him out, and we gave him some food (he was skinny!), pulled a ton of ticks out of his ears, and harnessed him into the car to take him to the vet on my way to work to see if he was microchipped. No luck. We put flyers up for two weeks, advertised in the papers and online, and nobody claimed him. After two weeks, my mom's english mastiff almost killed him (he went for the jugular, but missed- Zeus had his neck ripped open and went through emergency surgery that night).

26 stitches later, he was okay. But we didn't know what to do with him. We wound up crating him in my bedroom (He'd spent most of those first two weeks outside during the day and inside only at night.) Unfortunately, with our busy schedules and Zeus' destructive behavior, he wound up being crated at night and when we were at work. We took him on walks, took him to the park, got him vaccinated, etc. We spent time with him, but if we couldn't keep an eye on him, he was locked up.

We started him with training, but kept switching training classes for various reasons.
After we got him neutered, I adamantly refused to put him back in the crate. I knew he'd get bored, pull out his stitches. So we gave it a shot. I'm thrilled that almost two months later, we've been able to work around all of his problems and keep him out of the crate.

However, we're having two major behavioral problems that are really challenging us to the point where we'd want to find him a new home (but I don't think we would.. because we'd pass his problems to someone else who might not be as accepting and calm as we are).
1. Whenever he gets diarrhea, he just lets loose. And then, since he'salready done one bad thing, he'll go ahead and relieve his bladder. He did this in the new CAR on the way home from training two Saturdays ago. He didn't pee afterwards, but he wound up getting walked home more than a mile so he didn't get himself (or the car) more filthy. Plus, my husband couldn't handle the smell.
And then, a few mornings ago- he was snuggling in bed with me at 4am. My husband got up ten minutes later 'cause he heard a noise and wanted to make sure Zeus wasn't getting into anything. He wasn't. He came back to bed and three minutes later, we heard him urinating (on the edge of the BED and partially on the mattress) and got up to discover poop as well. Hmph.
He doesn't get diarrhea that much, but it seems that whenever he has to go- he goes. The other dogs will whimper and whine and do ANYTHING to get your attention if they have an emergency before they go in the house. It's frustrating, but if we can't stop it- then oh well?
2. He is CHEWING on the bedding. The bed where he sleeps cuddled withme EVERY NIGHT. One night, we put on a brand new duvet cover. We went to work the next day, came home, and he'd ripped it up. Thankfully, the down comforter was still okay! He's also ripped the edges off of pillow cases and another duvet cover.And then this morning.. We have a low platform bed from Ikea. We have memory foam (two layers of 1.5") on top of it. It's covered with a waterproof mattress pad (for when the animals have accidents) and then a sheet. I leave the room at 7:09 am to use the bathroom and eat. I come back at 7:15 AM and Zeus has pulled the sheet off, ripped the mattress pad, and ripped apart chunks of both layers of memory foam. I have a grocery bag FULL of the stuff, along with a few scraps of duvet cover or pillowcase he pulled off.

Memory foam is too darned expensive (and so is the mattress pad) to let him keep ripping it up. I caught him in the middle of it. He KNEW it was BAD. But he'd already done it. I yelled at him and smacked his snout a little. I was so upset. He slumped in the corner by the door, while I cleaned up. After I'd cleaned everything up, put the sheet back on the bed, fixed the pillows.. I called him over and pet him.He's not alone during the day. He's with the other two dogs and a six month old kitten all day. Sure, he's confined to my large bedroom during the day- but he'd rather be inside than locked outside all day. Plus, my mother's dog is deadly and would hurt any of the dogs if they were forced to be around each other. So since it's still her house, her dog gets the run of it while the other two dogs who were here first don't get to be.

The dogs are alone about 9 hours a day. My mother will let them out in the middle of the day if they get antsy. They spend five or ten minutes outside and then want in. The only way we get them to stay outside longer is if we go out with them (which we do twice a day).
Zeus gets walked. He gets solo attention. He gets cuddled all night long, every night. He has plenty of chew toys. He knows what he's allowed to chew on, because he'll pick them up in front of us and chew on them when we're around. He's close to a year and a half now. He's neutered.
He really is a great dog. He doesn't do this every day. He usually chews if we've been gone all day or if we've been gone, come home, and then leave (to eat dinner). We mostly curbed that by taking him on walks by himself when we come home to get his energy out and to spend solo time with him. But hmph. Eating the bed is NOT acceptable. It's not something we can handle or afford.
Any suggestions? Any ideas to curb the chewing?
1. Whenever he gets diarrhea, he just lets loose. And then, since he's already done one bad thing, he'll go ... than a mile so he didn't get himself (or the car) more filthy. Plus, my husband couldn't handle the smell.>>

Sounds like a stress issue. He didn't pee because he already did a "bad thing". How are you making him comfortable with the car? Are you asking him to eliminate after training, before getting in the car? What time is training and do you feed him before or during training? Have you considered crating him in the car, to possibly calm him, keep him settled, and if nothing else, keep your car clean?
And then, a few mornings ago- he was snuggling in bed with me at 4am. My husband got up ten ... (on the edge of the BED and partially on the mattress) and got up to discover poop as well. Hmph.>>

Maybe he was trying to tell you he needed out! His schedule should be looked at carefully.
He doesn't get diarrhea that much, but it seems that whenever he has

to go- he goes. The other dogs will whimper and whine and do ANYTHING to get your attention if they have an emergency before they go in the house. It's frustrating, but if we can't stop it- then oh well?

I'd wonder why he was getting diarrhea that seems stress induced in at least one circumstance. But diarrhea hits fast, and different dogs may not feel the warning as much as others. And his housebreaking may be lacking.
2. He is CHEWING on the bedding. The bed where he sleeps cuddled with me EVERY NIGHT. One night, we ... Thankfully, the down comforter was still okay! He's also ripped the edges off of pillow cases and another duvet cover.>>

He wouldn't be allowed bed privileges if he was doing this in my home. Have you considered crating him and teaching him to SLEEP during the night instead of making trouble?
He's not alone during the day. He's with the other two dogs and a six month old kitten all day. ... we get them to stay outside longer is if we go out with them (which we do twice a day).>>

I'm a little confused. 3 dogs in the house, and if he's confined away from one, he's with one? The kitten is confined in the bedroom with them too?
Zeus gets walked. He gets solo attention. He gets cuddled all night long, every night.

That's not healthy. He needs to learn to settle without being cuddled all night. All beings do.
Any suggestions? Any ideas to curb the chewing?

I would be crating him during the night until his sleeping habits improved. What focused exercise does he get? Aerobic activity? What's the household situation with your mother and her dog (sorry, a little confusing, but the dynamics may be playing a large part)?

Janet Boss
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com