dog holding toy

“Thank you” – How to Curb the Chewing

I finally convinced my husband to let me foster a dog, and now I have a precious pup in my house who’s as sweet as can be! He’s a beautiful husky mix, good with kids, good with cats, great with Max… and loves to chew kid’s toys! In truth I can’t really blame him, he’s only 10 months old and he’s on strict instructions not to run, jump, play, or take long walks due to a broken leg. Yes, that’s right, a 10 month old husky on bed rest. He’s going crazy and dragging me down with him. But it’s not all bad, we’re finding things to do – like training. And one of the things we’re working on is appropriate chewing. Liberty goes after kids toys when he gets bored and after a week of following him around, taking stuff out of his mouth, I remembered a game a friend of mine told me about years ago.

I can’t remember the name she gave it, but we call it “thank you”. The point of the game is to get your dog to bring you things they would otherwise chew up, like stuffed animals, or Barbies, plastic food, Shopkins, shoes… you get the idea.

“Thank you” is the positive alternative to “drop it”, and while I’m not against the second command, it’s just not always the best choice. For one, some dogs are like children and just don’t respond to certain words, and if you’re having to give the command six times while arguing maybe it’s time to try something else. Additionally, “Drop it” only works if you’re there to see what your dog is doing and give the command. And, personally, I have two small children. If I’m taking care of them and the dog is in the other room munching away on Pinkie Pie’s leg, I’ll never know until it’s too late. If , on the other hand, Liberty knows he’ll be rewarded for bringing the toys he finds to me, I don’t have to be there when he grabs it; I just need to reward him for doing the right thing.

I will say, that while we’re making progress, nothing is learned overnight, and sometimes he brings me a toy that he doesn’t really want to let go of.  You’ll see that in the video 🙂 Even still, “Thank you” is an easy game to learn, and chances are your dog will be searching for things to bring and mooching treats off of you in no time.

Here are the things you’ll need:

Treats – start keeping a few in your pocket at all times (at least for a little while)

Something you dog loves to chew on, but shouldn’t

Consistency!!!

 

Start by laying out a few things your dog can’t resist. My children happily do this for me all the time!

 

Stay nearby, and when you’re dog grabs something, gently take it from him while saying “Thank you”

 

Once your dog let’s go, take the item and immediately reward with a treat.

 

Practice, practice, practice, and soon enough your pup will start brining you the things they find, instead of chewing them up.

Take a look at this video to see how Liberty in practice (Sorry about the quality)

 

*Bonus, they’ll help keep your house clean. Once your dog gets in the habit of picking things up and taking them someplace you can start working on cleaning up their toys 😉

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below! 

…and if you liked this post, please don’t forget to share 🙂 Thank you.

 

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New toys = occupied cat = intact sanity. 

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Three Fixes to the Boredom Crazies

Max is whining incessantly, and loudly. Then he wants out every five minutes, so he can go on the porch and stare at me before coming right back in. Saint is on the fish tank, the Christmas tree, the kitchen counter, aaannnd now there’s shattered glass and ice water all over the floor. I’m ready to scream…Sound familiar? If your generally sweet pets are acting up and driving you mad, I have good news. It’s probably not their fault, and it’s probably an easy fix.

Hey everyone, so if you follow my blog you’ve noticed I haven’t been around in a while. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been swamped pampering my pets and creating lots of awesome content for you guys, but the truth is I just haven’t been a very pampering pet parent at all recently. I fell into the classic “I’m too busy” trap, only to find myself more stressed and cohabitating with bored, attention deprived animals. It happens to the best of us, when we just feel too overwhelmed to go the extra mile for our pets, but it doesn’t have to. Here’s what I’m doing to give my pet-parent relationships a fresh kick. Feel free to steal an idea, or two, if you need them.

 

Learn something new

dog, ready to learn

There are few things that bring you together with your pets like learning a new trick. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Training is one of the few things that: bonds, creates security, uses pent up energy, and exercises the mind all at once. Learning keeps the mind young, and that’s true for animals too. Five to ten minutes a day, consistently, is all you really need to master a trick. We are finding time and squeezing this in! I’m determined!

Here are some simple ideas to get you started:

Dogs

Nail down the basics (sit, down, stay)

“Look” (get your dog to look at you so you can give a command no matter what else is going on)

“Shake” (This is what Max is learning)

“Roll over”

Leash manners (have you slacked off here, use this time to polish them up)

Cats

Jump through a hoop (this is Saint’s trick)

Fetch

Stand

Birds

Step Up (get your bird to easily step up on a stick or your hand)

Dance (Learn to dance together)

Small Mammals

Spin

Stand

 

Cuddle

So this one’s not for all pets, I get that. But if your baby is all about the cuddles, then stop and cuddle! When you’re busy and stressed it does seem like you don’t have ten minutes to sit on the couch with your cat. For me this past several weeks the idea of lying on the floor and cuddling with Max has seemed like the laziest waste of time. But I was being selfish. Spending quality time with your pets is never a waste of time because it’s what they need, and your pet’s happiness is not a waste of time! If you really need to justify the time, do something productive while you cuddle. Luckily pets don’t need to have a conversation. So read, text, listen, have that conference call while holding your bunny…no one will ever know. Or while brushing your cat in your lap, and then you’ll feel like Dr. Evil 🙂

 

Get Active

Whether you go for a walk or just play with a favorite toy, get active. Play stimulates your pets mind and body and keeps them from getting destructive. Take a few minutes to satisfy those natural urges and use up that extra energy. Max will always let me know if I’ve ignored him for too long by whining…loudly and constantly. It overbears conversations and distracts from anything I’m trying to get done. It makes me honestly crazy, but it’s easily fixed with ten minutes of fetch. So before you loose your mind over your pets behavior, think, have we played today.

So if you and your pet seem to be drifting apart, or you’re getting the constant stink eye, try one of these quick relationship fix ups. I promise you have ten minutes in your day *say I to myself. You can grow your bond and make your pets happier healthier critters.

 

 

Have some more ideas? I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

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