Mischief

When we go see my grandparents-in-law over the holidays, I look around their house in amazement. Dusty the Golden Retriever mix would never dream of touching the houseplants at eye level, or the dozens of knickknacks on low tables, or the magazines next to the couch. Dusty would never steal a throw pillow and try to hide it while he chewed all the corners off.

Silas has never been a genuinely destructive dog. You hear stories about dogs eating through sofas or that kind of thing, and Silas has never had it in him. (I did crate him when we weren’t home, until he was about nine months old, and separation anxiety is about the only anxiety he doesn’t have.) There are a few tooth marks on one of our dining room chairs, and a few more on one corner of the TV stand, but you would never look around our house and say, “Ahh, these people had a puppy recently.” I have books floor-to-ceiling, and not a one has seen the inside of a puppy mouth. In fact, one day in a stupid moment of desperation I gave him a magazine to tear up, and he (fortunately) looked at me like I was crazy.

Small, silent destruction is more his style.

Some things are just comically random. I can leave my shoes anywhere, and they’ll be there when I come back. This has been the case since basically forever. My husband’s shoes were fair game until very recently. Or, Silas will walk past the rug on the stair landing for three weeks, and then on day 22 he will become fascinated with it and have to carry it off.

Mostly we have a very good record with destruction because we’re tidy people. I learned early on what was and was not irresistible, and changed my housekeeping accordingly. The couch no longer has throw pillows, for instance, and we traded in the nice throws for cheap IKEA fleece. I have a series of places where I can put things out of his reach, and I know how to use them.

Every now and then he figures out my hidy-holes, though, and then trouble happens. He’s snitched one too many “wonderful” things off the dining room table, so now he knows to look there. Yesterday he learned about my favorite easy place–the top of his crate. I don’t know why he had never thought to look up there, but it has always been a great short-term storage spot. Until I put my knitting there while I helped my husband open a big package that had come in.

The good news is that Silas had no interest in the part with the needles, so he didn’t actually hurt anything. But he grabbed that ball of yarn and ran for his little life. Now that the bitterness of unknotting the skein has passed, it’s almost funny. Almost.

Does your dog leave things alone? Or are you sitting on the (nude) sofa with me?

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6 thoughts on “Mischief

  1. Elli pretty much leaves stuff alone. If there’s a package on the porch, though… game over. It’s shredding time. I fully encourage it, of course. 🙂

    A new game we’ve been playing is mail delivery and bring me random objects. I’m doing it for a reason, of course, but she has a tendency now when she’s bored to grab a sweatshirt from the corner of my room or a ball of yarn or a magazine or a pair of gloves and overload me with her haul.

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    1. That’s an interesting take. Silas will happily give me anything in his mouth (in exchange for a treat, which we’re working on fading), but his natural instinct is still to take things to “his” places.

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  2. With us, it’s blind Hiker and the blind puppy Breeze who like to take things. Shoes, clothes, toys, baby blankets (bedding) whatever they deem portable. Hiker will take things into her crate. Yesterday I found three Kongs, a shoe and an antler in her crate. Breeze will shred any paper that she can get her mouth on. One day she took a phone book out of the recycle box, carried it into the yard and ripped it apart! Those that can see tend just to look at her like she’s crazy.

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  3. I can only dream of what it is like to have a dog who leaves things alone. I had three dogs who did a bit of puppy chewing, but not much. Then I got Leo, the Kai Ken. He started out without being destructive, and made it through the worst of the puppy phase without too much damage, so he lulled us into a state of complacency, then at 7 months0–bam! All that changed! He’s into everything now, and he can climb, so nothing is safe! A fellow Kai Ken person told me, oh, yeah, our dog was like that from 1 year to 18 months. It will pass! And I thought,yeah, but EIGHT months! Yikes!

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  4. Delilah is more a food stuff kind of dog, but she does love paper items such as napkins, paper towels etc. She has also gone after random paper items as well and similar to Silas she can ignore them forever and then one day….boom you come home to a mess.

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