Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 15 September 2003 Issue
WHAT JILL KNOWS
Dog Likes Books
I read your October 2002 article on dog boredom. Here's my issue: Bear came from the Humane Society, and I just adore him! During the summers, I am home (I teach Second Grade), and we hang out together, and he goes pretty much everywhere I go, as long as it's dog-friendly. I never leave him in the car. During the school year, he goes to doggie day care. Now, having established the dog is attached to me at the "leash," why does he continue to chew? He has zillions of chew toys, which are given him on a rotating basis. He has the whitest teeth in town, and he is very loving--Bear is now 2 years old. I know a lot of this is puppy stuff, but wow...he loves books. Any suggestions are welcome!
-Mary W. in Michigan
Hello and thank you for writing! I am so glad to hear that you adopted Bear from a local shelter! It is also wonderful that you spend a lot of time with Bear and send him to a good doggie day care.
Too bad Bear doesn't READ the books before chewing on them! :-) It may be that Bear just likes to chew and books taste good to him. I highly recommend elevating all books in your household. Then, go to a thrift store or yard sale and purchase a small 25 cent book that you think Bear would just LOVE to chew. Buy some Bitter Apple-type product designed to stop dogs from chewing on the objects it's sprayed on. (You can purchase Bitter Apple spray product from your local pet supply store, or online.) Saturate the book's cover and pages with the bitter apple spray, and place the book on the floor where Bear can reach it. Leave the room (you can peek in) and let Bear try to chew on this book. He will either smell it first or get a mouth full of Bitter Apple, which dogs do not like. Praise Bear when he drops the book and walks away. You can leave the book on the floor after he's had a bad reaction to the (harmless) Bitter Apple, but eventually remove it. The bitter Apple spray tends to evaporate from paper products more quickly.
I suggest that you try giving Bear NylaBone chews. Nylabone makes gummy, hard and nearly indestructible chew bones for dogs, some impregnated with flavors like peanut butter, which most dogs love. Be sure to let Bear know which are HIS chew toys. Consistently correct him when he starts chewing on inappropriate objects by yelling a sharp "No!" removing the inappropriate item and replacing it with a Nylabone/one of HIS chew bones.
Nylabone makes dog chew bones for aggressive chewers.... I believe they are called Big Chews and they can be ordered online at: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?siteid=12&pCatId=8713 from Fosters and Smith. Fosters and Smith also has their own brand of "bitter apple" type spray called "Drs. Foster & Smith Chew Stop." Their brand costs less than the Bitter Apple brand, and although I have not personally tried it yet, I've heard it works great.
A note of warning: I do not recommend rawhide at all! They are processed with chemicals and bleach, which is bad for dogs' health. Also, they can become wedged inside the dog's intestines, causing suffering and possible death. Sometimes dogs who swallow piece of rawhide require emergency abdominal surgery to remove the blockages. BE VERY CAREFUL!
I hope Bear learns to respect books soon!! ;-)
Best of luck to you and Mr. Bear!
Love and paw pats,
Companion Animal Behavior Consultant
What Jill Knows, Copyright 2003
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