Tag Archives: puppy

Path of Destruction

Disclaimer, Warning, Attention

These are words in the English language that are sometimes ignored, just like the Agree Box that we check after we were supposed to read the disclaimer and agreement page before downloading software.  It seems like we are bombarded with things that require your attention a few levels deeper than your average daily activity.  Who wants to stop and read a warning, or disclaimer?  I know I don’t.  I’ll take my chances I usually shrug while I sit at my computer.  I’ve got several web browser tabs open, as well as Excel, Word and Email.  I’m not slowing down for something that ultimately doesn’t effect me.  I don’t change my working path for anything, unless it’s about the new dog. That special cute puppy who has decided to enthusiastically tear apart something special, something I love, or anything – JUST ANYTHING – of value.  McDermott cannot be ignored.

My puppy sits under my desk while I work, if he’s not busying himself with destruction.  I look down at his face, and he looks at mine, then nothing.  No acknowledgement from either of us.  I’m still thinking about my Excel sheet, and McDermott, undoubtedly, is thinking about his next “victim.”  We look away and keep working – me on the budget, him I assume on a rug in the next room that looks delicious. He has so many targets in one day, that there really is no guessing what will be ruined next.  We try to protect shoes by putting them up high or, closing closet doors to evade roaming sharp baby teeth.  This doesn’t help.  As I finish work, and look down at the floor in my office, he is chewing a plant.  All my efforts to puppy-proof my house and the plant gets wasted.  I’m done guessing.  I’ll have to play a measured game of defense, while taking deep calming breaths.

Here is a Disclaimer that should be read by anyone getting a puppy: “Please be aware that this cute little furry creature is not what it appears to be, AND has the ability to destroy everyday common house items including, but not limited to, blankets, pillows, socks, plants, table legs, wall baseboards, shoes, boots, remote controls, bed spreads, couches, newspapers, and computers.   We knew that a puppy would be a challenge, but there’s no puppy like McDermott.   He has a bed full of chewy toys to satisfy is biting instinct, but instead he savors fine shoe leather and well-constructed snow boots.

Warning: if you take your eyes off him at any point of the day, you’re a sucker.  And, he knows it.  This is where the crate comes in handy…or is SUPPOSED to come in handy.  This wonderful cushy little secluded paradise (as some owners describe it) is his bane.  He absolutely hates the crate and therefor for a long time, I hated the crate.  Not anymore.  I use the crate like an over exhausted mom, getting a break from her kids.  In he goes if I need a break from removing couch fabric from his mouth, or when he gets an attitude that causes him to bite me freely.  The crate is my best friend.  All that is required is a treat and a little covert planning.

Attention is the calming factor that can’t be ignored.  If McDermott is getting enough attention, life is good.  There is a clear correlation between belly scratches and the level of strewn objects throughout the house.  However, even with attention this little creature gets a look in his eyes that says, “what can I get into?… what can I tear apart?”  We know that following this calm period, there will be demolition of some kind.  You can bet on it.

Bottom line is, we are going to see McDermott through this very difficult stage.  After all, Scout our beloved Hound went through a similar stage and he turned out to be an amazing dog.  I guess we ought to give McDermott the same chance.  Sure, we’ll be shoeless, and have half a couch to sit on.  OK, we can always sand down the teeth marks on the baseboards and re-stain them.  Hey, I never liked that shirt that’s now in shreds.  Why not buy more plants? With a firm hand, an open heart and a butt-load of patience we should bring McDermott to full maturity, preferably alive.  After all, between us, we’ve raised 4 children (none of which have pets today). How hard could a dog be?

In the mouth

Everything goes into the mouth; toys, socks, shoes and whatever is laying in his path.  There is a fine line between the habits of a young child and a new puppy.  The destruction can seem epic, or at least serious enough to cause momentary insanity.  I’ve bid goodbye to a handmade quilt I made that was disassembled because of boredom, with the hand sewn seams ripped apart by sharp white baby teeth.  I wanted to cry as I looked at the batting laying all around him on the bed like happy puffy clouds.  His tail was wagging when I walked in on the perfect storm – teething puppy and delicious quilt.

The quilt was only the beginning.  Did I mention the small rug that was ripped apart?  Oh, that was a proud moment for McDermott.  Pulling the threads up from the mat with intense concentration, occasionally chewing a stray thread.  He stopped mid pull to look at me with great pride. “Look what I did Mommy” shined in his eyes.  Oh the joy he felt in sharing his accomplishment.  Again, I wanted to scream, but instead pulled the rug away from him, telling myself, “he’s only a baby, he’s only a baby.”  I walked off to look for a chew toy to keep him busy until the next disaster.

If the oral fixation isn’t enough to drive me crazy, there is the jumping.  Oh yes, jumping to eat, jumping for attention, jumping when excited, jumping when bored.  This exercise is usually followed by frenzied running about the house with his oversized paws, sliding into couches and tables with his long legs getting wrapped around each other.  His favorite thing to do is jump on the end table, and launch himself, flying high, onto the couch.  I have to admit this makes me laugh every time, even though I shouldn’t let him do it.  If I was an Olympic Judge, I’d rate his landing a 10.0.  And, I think he believes this IS a competition because he sits at the end of the couch waiting for a treat after his performance.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my new puppy and look forward to him mellowing out with age, just like the rest of us.  For the most part, he is well behaved, but in those moments of silence I can be sure something is dreadfully wrong.  “Why is it so quiet?” I think to myself.  And, sure enough, there is always something in his mouth; a shoe, a  rug, underware, or a slipper.  The other day, he was gnawing on the leg of my antique Empire table.  Needless to say, his strong little jaws caused extensive damage. I just shook my head, and looked for a chew toy for him.  Sigh.

Like all new mothers, there are days that I reach exhaustion very quickly.   I am confident in my reserve of patients, knowing that shit happens.  I try to keep up with our training lessons, but his cuteness tends to win me over.  I don’t want to be “the bad guy.”  Jamie is the alpha-dog, I’m just one of the pack.  He follows me everywhere and loves me unconditionally, and that makes me happy.  After all, isn’t that the reason we get puppys?  His playfulness is infectious, his kisses are pure comfort.

He will outgrow puppyhood one day, so I should appreciate the fanatical energy while it’s here.
You can always buy new rugs and new shoes.  Not sure I can replace the Empire table, but I’ll learn to live with the chewed leg.  Silence will not always scare me, it will be a time to sit with my dog and enjoy his company.

Until then…where is McDermott? Where did I put his chew toy?!?!