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Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Iko. My penance on earth.

Who would have guessed that tiny puppy who whimpered so piteously would turn into a 90 pound heathen with a fetish for leather and expensive rugs?

Iko has chewed the heavy cording of all three pieces of my leather furniture suite, and snacked on three oriental rugs, two comforters and countless pillowcases. I don't even want to discuss what he did to my entire season's worth of 8 week old seedlings. I'm still in therapy for that.

He is profoundly sorry when he's committed these crimes and will lay his head on my shoulder or offer me his paw. 

But he has no long term memory. When I show him the shreds of my rug, his eyes widen in abject horror. "Who me? No. No. It had to be someone else. I've never seen that rug before in my life."

I've raised dogs well over 35 years and I have NEVER met so chewie a beast. But the more I study him, the more I doubt it's deliberate. 

When I catch him, it's like he's exercising his jaws. He likes things that give him a challenge, and he needs variety because he switches from leather, to wool, to his giant Kong toy.

Someday, I'll have to post a picture of his 'rock collection'. That dog will go out and FIND rocks to chew whenever I've forbidden him leather furniture.

Rawhide bones occupy him for less than an hour. The average dog toy is an insult to his mandibles of death. And his crate is a common companion when he's been bad. I have spent HUNDREDS of dollars in chewies, Kongs and cookies. More play time with him seems to bring out his cravings rather than lessen them. (I think it's the excitement.)

That dog may be only part rottweiler, but his teeth are definitely the rottie half. He once sawed through a solid leather leash in less than three seconds.

It's getting better. He doesn't chew as often as before, but I can never let my guard down. He's like a nicotine fiend. He gets cravings. Doggie school has helped in that he's so tired when he gets home, he has no desire to do anything but sleep. (Me too.)

He knows to sit at the door until I'm ready to let him out. He knows not to chase chickens--though I can see the lust in his eyes. And of course, he knows all the basic commands. In short, as long as someone's with him--he's perfect.

Iko is very bright. We housebroke him within a couple of weeks, and he learns commands almost immediately. He's no dumb bunny.

But he's still a chewer. In a month or so I'll be getting new furniture and that dog will have to spend the rest of his life at my feet. Not a bad life sentence, but what about poor Tank? He's going to think I love 'Buzzsaw' more than him. Poor Tank.

Misery loves company. So I'm opening this up to the floor. Have you ever had a misbehaving pet--or child? What's the worst tragedy he's ever committed?

Years from now, I might think on Iko fondly, but today he's still my penance on earth. Whatever my sins, surely I must have paid for them by now.


Lydia Kang said...

Oh, but he's so cute!
We don't have anything that can chew up our household, but let's just say that three spilled glasses of milk bc of my kids all in one day can make me scream pretty loudly.

Maria Zannini said...

Lydia, do you think your kids planned it that way? I am convinced kids plot many ways to give their parents gray hair.

Joanne said...

Is this common to certain breeds, like the Rottie? The only thing I can think of is that I've heard in pet training that positive reinforcement is important. So maybe leave Iko alone for tiny periods of time with the leather furniture, and reward him for not chewing? Good luck!

Grandpa said...

My Rotti Ella likes slippers and shoes. I give her big bones every now and then, so she's less chewy on other stuff

Maria Zannini said...

Joanne: Iko is the 4th rottie we've owned and he is definitely atypical. I thought at first maybe his teeth bothered him, but the vet said he was fine. He's just one of *those* dogs.

I'm glad his chewing has lessened, but boy, he's tested my patience getting to this point.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Grandpa! Ella is such a beautiful dog. Does she still like slippers?

My other rotties grew out of their chewie stage when they were still little guys. Iko seems a bit more determined.

C R Ward said...

We had a collie cross that loved shoes, but only one shoe out of each pair. I had a pair of expensive shoes I'd bought to wear to a party and they were in their box, in a bag, on a table and he still managed to get them and chewed one up. I never even got a chance to wear them!

And the rock thing? The rottie next door to us had to be operated on twice to remove rocks she'd eaten. :-)

Maria Zannini said...

CR: You are the second person to tell me about a dog that only eats one shoe out of pair. I swear, they know that would irritate us more. LOL.

Ref: a box, a bag and a table
Oh, wow! Do you think your pup is a distant relation to Iko?

Ref: rocks
So far, knock on wood, he doesn't swallow. The first command I teach all my dogs is 'Drop It', so at least I can control that much.

Lia Bal said...

But he’s so adorable.

Do you know what the other breed in Iko is? That might explain his behavior. To me, he looks like he could be part border collie. I have a border collie mix and here’s a few things about them:

Very smart. Will learn a new command within minutes.

They can jump very high.

Barks, a lot.

When bored, or left all alone, will chew through the house.

Needs constant attention. If you’re watching TV or something, he needs to be on the couch with you or else he will run around and bark none stop.

When still a puppy, sometimes they try to herd their owners. (Mine finally stopped trying to do that.)


Krista D. Ball said...

Get him a cat. He can chew on the cat :)

Our 0.5 dog chews a lot. We reduced his food a little and started giving him raw lamb bones every other day, or small elk/llama bones daily. Chewing stopped and he doesn't need dental cleanings now, thus saving us $700.

WARNING: It must be RAW. Do NOT give cooked bones!! NO COOKED BONES!!! Death. Crossbones. Evil. DO NOT DO IT.

Maria Zannini said...

Lia: I love border collies, or any herding breed. They're my favorites!

It's interesting that you asked about his crossed breed. I was talking to the trainer a few weeks ago and she mentioned that his chewing could come from whatever other breed he was crossed with.

I tell people he's mixed with Tazmanian devil, but more likely it's terrier. (which is almost as bad!)

Very smart observation, Lia!

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: We dog-sit for a friend of mine, and Iko is VERY good while she's visiting. We're speculating he needs a puppy--or a cat.

Ref: bones
Other than those giant twisted rawhide bones, I try never to give my dogs bones. Back when I used to work as a vet tech, we had to do surgery on a beautiful dobie who got a steak bone lodged in her throat. Poor baby. She came out of it all right though. Thank God.

Ref: llama bones neighbor has llamas. I wonder if he'd notice if one went missing. LOL.

Krista D. Ball said...

Steak bone = cooked. Bad. Evil. Death.

We give raw ones, cut to size for dogs :) When we get our annual pig, we get the bones cut for "soup" size, and give to the dog.

Yes, it's best to count the llamas if the chewing stops all of a sudden ;)

Re: cat -- the cat will soon find the chewing annoying, discover they have this thing called "claws" and dog will behave better than you ever could teach him for at least an hour ;)

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: You get an annual pig? Do you butcher it yourself or get it pre-wrapped?

We have GOT TO get together someday!

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

aww but he wuvs you!
Have you tried antlers? I get mine from petexpertise online.

Krista D. Ball said...

I purchase from a local, ethical farmer once a year. He looks after the butchering and all that. He also arranges to have one full leg smoked for me for my Yule dinner. I end up with a 22lb uber joint that takes 28 hours to cook :)

I grew up in rural Newfoundland, where we grew up hard. Until I was 11, we didn't even have central heating (this is a place that got several feet of snow). Even our central heating was a wood stove, and I'd have to help cut and pack wood. I think kids today are weak and spoiled. In fact, I think most people today are weak and spoiled :)

Krista D. Ball said...

Falen - antlers are a good choice, too, for bigger dogs. It's fun watching them carry it around, too!

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: antlers
You mean to gore him with? ;-) I've never seen antlers sold out here.

And yes, he wuvs me, but he's making me turn gray overnight.

Maria Zannini said...

We raised a pig once a year, but I haven't been able to talk Greg to do it at our new place since he'll have to build yet another pen. Farm-raised pig is the BEST pork you will ever taste.

Every generation gets softer than the one before it. It's a byproduct of technology and 'progress'. That said, I've cleared woods with a machete. A tractor is a heck of a lot easier. There's no point in killing myself sooner than later. :)

Krista D. Ball said...

But the machete is really fun when the kids are misbehaving...

re: antlers and bones

Until you get the hang of it, you can find them at the holistic pet food stores. A bag of skinny llama bones (for smaller dogs) is about $11 here for 14 bones. Lamb bones are 3 x $9, but take 0.5 dog 2 days to eat (1.0 dog takes an afternoon).

There are also these frigging huge elk bones, seriously the size of my thigh. They're like $10 each, but last several days. Only meant for giant dogs, though. lol

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: Has Child Services knocked on your door yet? LOL

I laugh because it sounds like something I would say.

Mason Canyon said...

Oh, I love this post. When Brisco was a puppy I planted several new rose bushes in our back yard. An hour later I found parts of the rose bushes in the front yard. He had dug up every one I had planted and destroyed them. He had that same sad look like, "I didn't know." Gotta love them anyway.

Thoughts in Progress

Krista D. Ball said...

Most of Children's Services know me from my years working with the homeless. I'm well protected :D And let's not forget I was given these kids. I can't be that bad ;)

Don't ask the kids that, though. Ask the dogs. They give a much more favourable answer.

re: bones - If you go with trying a raw bone and doggy isn't quite sure what to do with it. Rub a little peanut butter on it. He'll figure out that it's food then.

It's really cute the first few times, when the dog starts growling at the bone because he can't figure out how to chew on it. Dog 0.5 growled at it, barked, and did a little charge the first time he got one.

Sherri said...

He's so stinkin' cute.

I've never had a chewer like that though our lab mix came close, LOL. But one thing we found works wonders with the larger breeds are good old fashioned bones from the butcher -- joints, knuckles, etc. -- the large ball joint bones were our shepherd's favorite.

Like Krista says...raw!! Matching the size of the bone to the dog is important too.

Maria Zannini said...

Mason: That Brisco! I guess those thorns didn't bother him in the least.

I hope he's doing better since his recent surgery. We need an update! How is that cutie?

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: My only concern with feeding them raw bones is that it might invite insects. A puppy might be a better alternative. Lightning can't strike twice, right?

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: Do you feed the bones in the house? Can't I just feed them a live llama and be done with it? :grin:

Krista D. Ball said...

I feed the bones in the house all of the time, though 1.0 dog is kennel trained for her bones. It's a little messy for the first few minute, because there is still a bit of meat on the bone. I've put 0.5 in the bathroom on a mat and he's a-ok.

Their jaws hurt the first few times when they get used to it. Also, white poop is normal - and they poop less and it's less smelly. These are bonuses when discussing 0.5 dog.

(Yes, the dogs are numbered).

He might not know what to do with the live llama....

Cathy in AK said...

Oh my gosh! Sooooo cute!

I had a rottie/doberman who ate the better part of a couch. Not just chewed and left it. Ate it. The soft bits anyway : ) And even heavy duty rubber toys meant for large dogs/vigorous chewers were little match for him.

Be careful with his rock chewing. There was a gallon jar on display in one of our vet's offices about half filled with the rocks she removed from a dog's tummy. He liked to toss them in the air and catch them. Unfortunately, some slipped by!

We haven't used the twisted rawhide since one dog got impatient and tried to swallow the thing lengthwise. Scary situation! Now, we use Nylabones. With our recent mutts, we didn't try natural bones (a moose bone would be perfect, too!) because of their sensitive tummies and the unpleasant results of same :P

Good luck with Iko! Our rottie/doberman grew out of his destructo phase. Eventually : )

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

He is sooo adorable!! I love dogs! We have a springer-spaniel/collie mix. He doesn't chew and he is soo smart too. We got really lucky with him. His name is Buster and he is our fur-baby! :)

Good luck with Iko.

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: Don't you number your kids in fractions too? You're so numerical, woman.

Cathy: How long did it take your rottie/doberman to give up leather? My vet keeps telling me to be patient. But then it's not his furniture. What does he care?

At least you're giving me hope, Cathy. Thanks.

Kimber: I keep threatening to open the door and let him run away--but I know he'd only find his way back. Where else is he going to get three square leather meals a day?

Meghan Schuessler said...

I consider myself lucky that my chihuahua doesn't chew much. He's easily impressed with a small raw-hide bone. Also, smaller dog = less food = less expensive to take care of :)

Maria Zannini said...

Meghan: You said it! We've often thought of getting a little dog, but I'm afraid my other lummoxes would step on him.

Big dogs can be high maintenance, especially when it comes to surgeries, meds or kenneling.

Cathy in AK said...

I think it took Evo (pronounced with a long "e", short for Evolution--I didn't name him :) a couple of years? Three at most. The Nylabones--not the rubbery version but the ones that feel like plastic--were a godsend, though. Not terribly expensive, and I didn't have to bring down a large ungulate to get decent sized raw bones for him : )

Maria Zannini said...

Cathy: I tried nylabones on earlier dogs and they didn't like them, but I've got nothing to lose with Iko. I'll see what Petsmart has the next time I make it into civilization. Thanks!

Krista D. Ball said...

I have 2.3 children. That's normal. That's the average, in fact!

Sherri said...

I suspect the llama might object, LOL. Of course, most of my dogs would rather herd the llama than eat it.

ref: bones in the house

Only after the dog has worked it down to a nub, LOL.

Don't want a that raw, left over from the buter, stuff in the house but once that's gone it's no worse than any other chew toy. Better than those rawhide things, that's for sure. My heeler loved cow hooves but her gas sent us running so no more of them!

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: I always thought those cow hooves were so sharp. I'd be afraid they'd slice open their intestines.

But I hear you on gas. That's why I supplement them with yogurt. LOL!

Linda Leszczuk said...

Well, I'm chiming in kind of late here - busy day - and I'm not sure what to write. You already know about Bisket stripping the wallpaper and Chance eating one shoe of every pair I owned (never touching Dad's). Then there was Pepper, a small terrier, who liked to sit up on the back of the couch to look out the window. Whenever anyone (two legged or four legged) went by she'd get all excited and go into a digging frenzy. Totally destroyed that couch.

Pepper was also a loose woman (known in the family as Pepper the Slut) but that's another story.

Joanna St. James said...

oh Maria leave the Llamas alone Lol I wish I could help but Iko looks so adorable I'm definitely a fan. The smartest ones are often the most troublesome ones.
You know those prison bars on cribs? my toddler broke 3 of them when he was 11 months old and crawled out of the hole he made. Next stop is the Strongman Contest

Rula Sinara said...

You just described my dog!!! She did get better after she turned 3, but she still has a sly side. She knows when you leave the room, gets up from her pretend nap, and scours the countertops. She ate through dry wall as a pup.

Anyway, your pup is soooo cute and looks just like the dog I had as a child. dogs have 9 lives? Good luck!

Marian Perera said...

Poor Iko! He's all sadface in that picture.

The only pets I've ever had were tropical fish, so they don't really count as chewers. Except for the one Siamese fighting fish which always tried to bite my fingers with his tiny little mouth.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: ROTFL! I was thinking of you when I wrote this!

We have got to meet one day and trade stories.

Ref: Pepper the slut.
Yeah we had one of those. We also had Chiefy, the Gigolo.

Maria Zannini said...

Joanna: Your baby broke three bars! OMG! And I'll bet you've never had any rest since.

Can't you just imagine what he'll do as he grows up? First the bars on his crib and then who knows. You might want to up your insurance. :)

Hmm...I wonder if our insurance covers Iko destruction.

Maria Zannini said...

Oh, Rula! We need to set up a support group for owners of criminal dogs.

I'm so glad your dog doesn't know mine. They'd be unstoppable.

Sneaky girl, checking out the counters.

Ref: She did get better after she turned 3,...
Oh, no. I don't know if I can make it that long.

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: Stop feeling sorry for that heathen! It's a trap. He's trying to lure you into a false sense of security. LOL.

I'll admit he is a sweetie even if he does have jaws of steel.

Ref: Siamese fighting fish
I didn't know they'd bite. We used to have Oscars and they let us hand feed them. They never bit me, but maybe because they'd know I'd turn them into dinner. ;-)

Cate Masters said...

I hate to admit it but this made me laugh. The expression on Iko's face is so pitiful, I bet it's hard to stay mad at him.
My sister has the same problem, but with two dogs. They've chewed their way through two sofas so far. Applying repellent only gets an appreciative lick. So if it makes you feel any better, you're not alone. And if you have any tips, my sister would love to hear them, lol

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: It's always funny until someone loses an eye. LOL.

I can't stay mad at him. He is so remorseful when I catch him that it tears your heart out.

Repellent hasn't worked for me either, though it stopped him from eating the walls. Oy! I forgot about the walls. At least he got over that.

I don't have any advice short of pulling his teeth out---which sometimes crosses my mind. LOL. Good luck to your sister.

Cozy in Texas said...

I feel for you. The worse thing my dog chewed was a burgandy colored lipstick on my brand new carpet. Be careful with rawhide. Dogs can chew off big chunks and it doesn't digest so can cause intestinal problems. Pig ears are better (gross though).

Renee Miller said...

How did I miss this one? A misbehaving pet? Let's see, I had a Rottie who pooped everywhere when I left the house. Even if I left him with a 'sitter'.

Then I had a shepard/wolf cross who decided that I belonged to him and became so aggressive to anyone who dared to come near me, even the kids, that we had to give him away to someone without kids. He's happy there but I miss the big snarly beast.

Now I have a Boston Terrier who is a nightmare. He poops in closets (only closets), chews toys, pees on the Barbie Dream House (and only the dream house) and chews Kurt's pant legs (and only Kurt's). You give him trouble and he sasses at first, thinking it might be a game. Then he realizes you're serious and those big googly eyes beg for forgiveness.

We also have a black Lab named Bear. Bear is neurotic. He's so nervous and OCD that he's literally chewed the hair from his hind end. It grows in eventually but he's rather patchy looking. Grass scares him, snakes scare him, and he loves to be vacuumed. Bear just likes to chew. Everything he can get his teeth around.

Kids? Yeah, I have some misbehaving kids too. But they don't poop in closets or chew the toys, so they're not so bad.

Maria Zannini said...

Cozy: Lipstick. Ohhh! I would just die. I'll bet that took some cleaning. Bad puppy.

Ref: rawhide
I've never been particularly fond of rawhides, but we never give it to them unless they're supervised. We had one dog a long time ago who was not good at eating them so we had to stop feeding them to her altogether.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: I'm beginning to think maybe it's you, Renee. LOL. Are you terrorizing those dogs?