Dear Porky and Buddy,
I just adopted Barney, a nine-month old black lab.
We have been going to training classes and he is dong very well. He is house trained and really just a perfect companion and I am so happy to have him in my life.
But there is one thing. Several times in the last month I have come home from work to find that he has destroyed the heel of one of my shoes. I love Barney, don’t get me wrong, but I love my Jimmy Choos too. I keep them in a closet, but he actually opens the door to the closet!
What can I do to correct this behavior?
We are thinking that they are called Jimmy “Choos” for a reason. Get it???
Think about it — nice leather, wrapped around what for all intents and purposes looks like a Nylabone. Of course he has figured out how to open the closet door to get at them.
Remember that chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, as they use their mouths to investigate the environment. It also helps them keep their teeth clean and strong and exercises their mouth and jaw muscles.
Dogs who seem to be chewing too much, however, especially if it mostly happens when they are home alone, may be simply bored or lonely or anxious.
Does Barney have a crate that he can stay in when you are at work? That would lessen his anxiety, especially if he has a couple of real chew toys in there with him to keep him occupied.
If crating is not an option, you really need to “chew proof” your house, or at least that part of the house where he stays when you are away.
Lock those expensive shoes up high somewhere that he really can’t open. What else does he chew inappropriately? The TV remote? Magazines? Your sunglasses?
Be very careful that all of these chew toy-sized accessories are way out of his reach.
The Jimmy Choos are probably harmless, but he can seriously hurt himself by swallowing thinks like sharp plastic pieces or electronic parts.
At the same time, where ever he is in the house when you are gone, make sure he has great, indestructible, meant to be chew toys available to him. He is going to be a big strong boy, so you need to look for things like Boomer balls, Nylabones, Kongs, or Tug-a-Jugs.
Some of them are made with cavities that you can fill with small treats so they are even more fun for him.
When you do get home, spend a lot of time with Barney. Take him for walks. Play Frisbee with him (with an indestructible Kong Frisbee).
Give him lots of cuddle and play time, so that when you do have to leave again, he will nap happily, waiting for your return. He is always going to be way more fun than a pair of shoes!
Speaking of things that pets eat — Could you donate some dry Purina cat or kitten food to the Humane Society?
We use a lot of it for our foster cats. You could just drop it off any time in our outer office at 265 W. First St., Oswego, or call us at 207-1070 and we will make arrangements. Thanks!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is email@example.com. Website is www.oswegohumane.org