Lets all start off and create a bad habit we can complain about later
Well if you don't know me by now your about to find out my opinion is not always the most
popular opinion and I often go against common thinking. The reason is that I live in a real
world and not a fantasy world. I have a deep understanding of common sense, something
most people seem to lack when it comes to animals. No offence it's just true.
So a question I get asked an annoying amount of time, is what can I give my dog to chew
on to occupy him?
I have 2 separate issues with this question.
#1. If you do not have the time every single day for 15 years to interact with and entertain
your dog, then please DO NOT get an aussie or any other breed of dog for that matter
and certainly don't get a dog from me. Dogs have needs and those needs are to interact
with their owners. That means you need to get up off the couch and do stuff with your dog.
No I don't care that it is raining, or cold, or snowing, or that you are tired from work or have
a party to go to and it's inconvenient. If you can say that to me even once, then I do not
want you to purchase a dog from me. Seriously I want my dogs to go to homes that actually
want to spend quality time with them. Homes that will go above and beyond to meet the
dogs needs both physically and mentally without looking for excuses. Excuses fall on deaf
ears with me. I was a single mom of two very small kids on the third floor of an apartment
with 3 high energy dogs, I did not have a car or a licence, and we never missed a day of
exercise or training. If the dogs needed to get out, we went out and we did it in all weather
and never made excuses to neglect the dog.
So if you think you can call me with excuses, you won't find any sympathy. Interact with
your dog, take him out on long runs, train him and be a good responsible aussie owner
and do not rely on chew toys to keep him occupied while you ignore him.
#2. This may shock you but do you realize that when you give your dog a chew toy you are
actually creating a bad habit you will likely use later on to yell at and punish your dog?
Seriously, why do you think the dog needs a chew toy? Who told you that was necessary?
No one intelligent in my opinion. When you give your dog items he is allowed to chew on
and you encourage him to sit and chew for no reason other than to give him something to
pass the time, you are teaching him chewing is an acceptable pass time and when he has
nothing else to do he should look for something to chew on. The problem is then it becomes
a habit. Have you ever had or known someone with a habit? Habits become a form of
addiction and are really hard to break. Think about anyone who smokes. Not only is the
addiction to the nicotine hard to let go of, but the habit of having something in their hand is
equally as hard to let go of. So for the dog who has been taught chewing is a good thing to
do, it becomes something he needs to do over time. The problem now, is what is going to
happen when the acceptable chew toys are boring, or missing. Then the dog chews other
things. It likely starts with non chew toys such as teddy bears which are not designed to be
chewed on. So you spend anywhere from $10-$50 on each stuffed toy, ball, frisbee etc
and the dog ends up destroying them. May as well just throw your money away. When the
dog toys are gone or put away because your fed up with throwing toys away, then the dog
turns to other items in the home. Your shoes, they have rubber on them much like chewable
dog toys so are very appealing. Purses are often leather and make excellent chew toys.
Your furniture is a similar fabric as that of their teddy bears, if they had fun destroying teddy
bears how much fun will they have when they start to chew on your couch? Then you get
really upset and you lock the dog in a bathroom, bedroom, laundry room etc so now the
dog who has always had fun chewing, is forced into a form of withdrawn and is desperate
for that release and he chews up the flooring or the drywall.
This is a problem YOU as the owner created but encouraging him to chew so you did not
have to spend as much time with the dog as the dog needed. It is very satisfying for us
as humans to have a dog laying on a dog bed leaving us alone, and if we can create
that scenario by tossing chew toys at the dog, then we do. Trust me when I tell you, you
want to break that train of thought before you ever bring a puppy home.
These bad case scenarios can all be avoided by not allowing the dog to chew for fun.
If your dog's mental and physical needs are met by you, then the dog should be very
content to hang out and relax without the need to chew.
Not one of the aussies I have ever owned had a need to chew on things because it's not
something I have ever encouraged. You will no find a lot of chewable toys in my house
or on my property, I simply don't buy them. You WILL find a lot of interactive toys, balls,
frisbees, ropes, things that I can use to play WITH my dogs. These are the toys you
should be focused on and you should use them to interact with your dog and create
a special everlasting bond.
I believe in creating good habits and acceptable behaviours from day one and not
having to fix unwanted behaviours later on.