The care and keeping of destructive creatures!

February 7, 2010 at 3:38 pm (Uncategorized)

The destroyers

I have two dogs: Minnie and Flash. Minnie is a beagle and is relatively new to our household. She is quite destructive. When we first got her, she destroyed ten of Flash’s toys within a week. Flash always was slightly destructive, especially as a puppy, so we were semi-prepared– all of our shoes were safely tucked out of reach. But Minnie has to be watched every second, or she’ll get into something she’s not supposed to. For example: bathroom trash. If she gets into that, you’ll find within a minute small shreds of tissues all over the immediate vicinity. The mismatched sock pile: she can tear a sock into five or six pieces within a few seconds too. I had to but taller laundry baskets– Minnie loves socks and underwear. And don’t even get me started on the toy thing. Flash likes rope toys, to play tug of war, and stuffed toys. Minnie and Flash can completely rip apart a toy and shred the rope into tiny threads in about five minutes. Those “long lasting” bones? Ten minutes, tops.

As a result, I’ve become pretty adept at coming up with “toys” for them from around the house. Some have been flops, but household stuff generally is better-made than those expensive and completely useless dog toys they sell in stores. Sometimes I will pick up a cheap one. But I bet you can guess how long it usually lasts— less than an hour. And then I get to go around and pick up bits of fluff (the dogs love to tear a stuffed animal in half, then pull out the stuffing and distribute it all over the room for romping in) or string or plastic. I gave up vacuuming daily– if I did, I’d spend half an hour picking up the pieces too large for my vacuum to handle beforehand, and crawling around on the floor is not something I like to do. I vacuum about once  a week instead, and the type-A in me cringes as I walk over bits of cracked pen casing, fluff, string and dog hair all day.

Some of the best homemade methods I’ve found are: when they lost interest in bones that they’d been chewing up (I bought those bones with meat still attached– they destroyed the meaty part in seconds, then gnawed off the ends before realizing the bones didn’t have any meat inside), I took a bit of bacon grease and used a paintbrush to swipe the inside cylinder of the bones. They got interested really quickly after that! I’ve also taken those little Victoria’s Secret dogs they give out sometimes and let them tear those up. It’s not like I needed them, and they’re made of some tougher canvas than those store-bought toys. Plus, the fluff in those is less easily broken apart. Sometimes, when I go through clothes and find useless underclothes, I’ll tie knots in them and let them pull those apart. I know it’s probably counterintuitive to let them play with underclothes, but believe me, I’d rather pick and choose the ones they tear up then leave them to choose for themselves.

I’d welcome any suggestions for getting my dogs to stop chewing stuff. I’d welcome any suggestions for durable playthings too. Anyone?

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