It’s been brought to my attention that somebody reading this page may have concerns about Waffles, and well, that’s fair. I figured I’d preemptively address those.
I want to be clear that I don’t leave things out for him to find and chew on. While it’s amusing after the fact to detail the things he’s destroyed or eaten, I do not look for opportunities to set him up to chew on things he shouldn’t so I can make blog posts about it. Waffles is very heavily supervised around, well, everything, and we have (from day one) made every effort to teach him what is and is not appropriate to chew on. I admittedly was unwilling to crate him for long periods when we first got him. At the time, this worked fine for us. He was crated when we were around and unable to supervise, barring a few small slips (PetSmart card, anyone?), and in a large X-pen when we weren’t home. A couple of months after we got him, he was able to jump the X-pen, and the fun began. We came home to chewed door frames and cabinets. We started crating him shortly after.
Despite supervision, slips occasionally happen. Short of removing the walls from the house, I can’t keep everything out of his reach and I can’t stare directly at him for hours on end. While cute, it’s just not feasible. Take a look around your house. If it exists, it’s possible to chew on it. How much of it could you put out of reach of a dog? Don’t forget to include your furniture! 😉
If we know he’s eaten something, he goes to the vet. If we think he’s eaten something, he goes to the vet. He gets x-rays and is closely monitored for changes in behaviour, diet (he has yet to let anything stop him eating, for the record), water intake, elimination, weight, and lethargy. If I notice something off, chances are he’s going to the vet. If he just chews something, I know it’s my fault for allowing access and he’s not punished for it (you won’t find any “guilty dog” videos of him anywhere).
We manage quite well by restricting his access to items as much as possible, particularly when I know he might be anxious. Incidents are few and far between. He’s well-stimulated otherwise, both mentally and physically. He doesn’t get toys unless he’s supervised, and I interrupt frequently to check for cracks and pieces coming off so I can remove the toy. I try to find him appropriate items to chew on, but as detailed on this blog, the main toys on the market don’t cut it for strength and the ones that do either don’t hold interest or are harmful for teeth. And you can’t redirect the behaviour to appropriate toys when there are none!
Which brings me back to the whole point of this blog: There are not very many toys on the market that are adequate for a dog with his level of chewing power, or if there are, they’re very difficult to find and it’s expensive to get them. I’ve spent a small fortune trying to find toys he can chew on. Every list of durable toys begins and ends with KONGs. I’d like to start keeping a list that others can use as a resource so they actually have something they can give their dogs.
So, hopefully if you had any concerns about Waffles, that’s covered them. If not, feel free to get in touch via the comments on any post.