Chewed Up and Spit Out

March 26, 2006

There is an old nursery rhyme that goes: Higgledy, piggledy, pop.The dog has eaten the mop. Interestingly enough, a mop is one of the few things my dogs HAVEN’T eaten. Destructive chewing has been a problem with every dog I’ve ever owned. I had a Siberian Husky/Malamute that chewed walls, and a chocolate lab that ate an entire sectional sofa piece by piece. Really.

Now we have Eleanor Rigby, the cockapoo. Ellie’s chewing stage has been a terribly trying time for me. She has destroyed three comforters, and one blanket. She chewed a hole in the corner of my feather pillow, and all the beads from a decorative pillow. She chews corners off rugs, one of which is in the living room.

She gnawed off a section of wood on the staircase.

She has ruined several of my bras (fished out of laundry baskets). She chewed a hole in Daniel’s corduroy jacket. She tore a piece of fabric off the bottom of the family room loveseat.

I suppose it’s partly our fault because we pretty much allow Ellie to have the run of the house. We don’t shoo her off the sofas, and she sleeps on our bed. We do, however, crate her when we are out. There’s no telling what we’d come home to if we didn’t do that.

I try to bear in mind that Ellie is only one year old, and still a puppy. I’ve never known a puppy that didn’t chew things they weren’t supposed to. Nonetheless, Ellie’s destructive chewing habits are quite upsetting, not to mention costly. She has plenty of chew toys, but, apparently, they aren’t as tasty as household items.

I’ve read up on the subject, and followed the advice of the experts, but Ellie still manages to do a fair amount of damage now and then. According to my research, puppies chew to ease teething discomfort, to play, to explore the environment, and to relieve boredom. Hmmm. Maybe I should take up chewing, myself!

Seriously, this situation has me concerned. If puppies aren’t broken of their chewing habit, the behavior can continue into adulthood. Instead of eating me out of house and home, Ellie just might eat my home. She sure is lucky we love her!

Song of the Day: A Big Dog Ate My Homework by Chuck Cheesman (no relation to Chuck E. Cheese)


One Response to “Chewed Up and Spit Out”

  1. yaketyyak said

    Comments from Diaryland:

    bb – 2006-03-26 08:59:49
    What does your vet say?
    Stephanie – 2006-03-26 09:06:19
    The vet gives pretty much the same advice I’ve found on the Internet – offer chew toys, teach “no bite,” use repellant spray, confine in crate when you are not home, etc.
    Bozoette Mary – 2006-03-26 09:10:57
    How could you NOT love that little face??:-)
    Stephanie – 2006-03-26 09:13:11
    Mary, your comment made me smile so big!
    Bex – 2006-03-26 09:19:45
    I can attest that not ALL puppies or dogs chew things they’re not supposed to. We’ve had 5 dogs since we got married and not one has ever chewed anything except their rawhide chewies. I have provided those rawhide chewies for years and all dogs have behaved beautifully in that respect. However, I have just stopped giving them the rawhides now, after hearing about the “Greenie” debaucle – getting stuck in some dog’s intestines undigested. Now they just have big hard bones with peanut butter stuffed way inside…that keeps them busy for hours trying to get that peanut butter out from the middle of the bone. We also don’t crate our dogs at all, except if we get a very young puppy (which we did with Whitby) but that lasted only a few weeks, until she got used to living here. We do gate off the kitchen (with linoleum) for them to sleep there at night (and provide dog beds from LL Bean for their comfort) in that room too. They have rewarded us with super good behavior and we aren’t really into any kind of training at all. We taught Whitby to “sit” and give her “paw” when she wants a treat, and she remembered those two things right away, but otherwise maybe we’ve just been very very lucky. Also, giving the dogs good nutrition is important. Nutro and (now for us) Eagle Pack are two excellent brands you might want to look into. It’s a bit more expensive than the supermarket pet foods, but it’s worth it if it provides some nutrient they may be missing. Good luck Steph. I agree, that little Ellie is such a cutie-pie!
    Stephanie – 2006-03-26 09:25:53
    Bex, I think you ARE lucky. You’re the only person I’ve ever heard say they never had a chewing problem with their dog. Remarkable! By the way, Ellie doesn’t like hard bones OR peanut butter. Go figure!
    Stefani – 2006-03-26 09:38:46
    I don’t remember Reggi chewing a lot of things as a puppy but I suppose she did. Her claim to fame was dragging used Kleenex & Q-Tips out of the trash. Yuck! So we got closed wastebaskets for the bathrooms. Good luck with Ellie – what a sweetie!
    Stephanie – 2006-03-26 09:41:20
    Ahh yes, I forgot to mention the Q-tips and shredded Kleenex! Oy, what a mess!
    LA – 2006-03-26 11:06:44
    That pup IS a precious! But the chewing and the garbage strewing, the digging in the garden, eating out of the litter box, gnawing my underwear…nope. Wolf has been stumping for a dog and I refuse. Mean Mom has waaaaaaaaaay too much other stuff going on right now. You know all the training and clean-up and the rest of the work would fall to me. We will get a dog when (if) I have the time and patience to devote to giving the dog the proper attention and training it deserves. I’ve always said having a dog is like having a toddler for 15 years. They can’t talk, but manage to make a heck of a racket. They never learn to feed themselves. They drool. You have to lock your cabinets and fence your yard. And while you can housebreak a dog, you still have to deal with its potty stuff forever. Boon companions, the most loving animals ever, but too much work for selfish me. ~LA
    Stephanie – 2006-03-26 11:28:21
    Eating out of the litter box! That’s something else I forgot to mention. There’s not much worse than cat poop on a dog’s breath. Ew.
    Kim – 2006-03-26 13:34:52
    Oh yeah, puppy hell…I tend to agree with all of the above prescriptions, Kong toys with peanut butter, bitter apple spray on rugs, furniture, keeping laundry and clothes hung high or safely in drawers…one thing that helped me a lot with Ella was making sure she was exercised to the point of exaustion, as often as possible. A tired dog is one who doesn’t chew as much. Her breeder told me, when I was complaining about her boundless destructive energy to “run her til her paws are bloody”. Of course she was kidding about the blody paws part, but I found that stepping up her exercise (dog park, endless ball fetching, long walks) really helped me get a handle on the scourge of destruction. Good luck!
    Stephanie – 2006-03-26 18:10:54
    Thanks, Kim. I need to find some of that bitter apple spray!
    karen from philly – 2006-03-26 20:25:11
    Fred, my oldest dog at 7, still likes to wreak havoc by dumping trash cans, pillaging the pantry when someone accidently leaves it open & walking on the kitchen table. He is much happier & better behaved when I take him for a good long walk every day. I think he does those things out of spite when we don’t go out! Bones and Kong balls with liverwurst or treats in them work well. Try Good luck!
    Stephanie – 2006-03-27 05:24:26
    Hi Karen! It’s always good to see you here! Ellie has no interest in her Kong ball when I stuff it with peanut butter, but maybe liverwurst will work. I’ll give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion and the website url.
    Sasah – 2006-03-29 15:09:28
    Puppies chew for teething but adult dogs chew out of boredom. That Ellie must be having a heck of a time with her teeth! I’m afraid I have no advice about chewing pups all but one of my dogs were adult rescue dogs. Regan outgrew her chewing thing. Roxanne will do destructive chewing if she’s bored and doesn’t get her exercise and she has expensive taste. She chewed up a pair of Travis’s Raybans, his Treo phone/pda and my wireless headset for my phone plus three television and dvd remote controls (she is evil). I think burning off all that dog energy is the key for solving the dog boredom that leads to destructive behavior.
    Stephanie – 2006-03-29 16:50:36
    Unfortunately, I lack the human energy to assist Ellie in burning off her dog energy. Chasing the cats keeps her pretty active, though!

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