Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Destructojaws likes hot sauce

Today my dad came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea to help me put a stop to Maggie's destructojaws.

Rather than getting better, our puppy Maggie has actually got worse as the months have rolled on. We now literally cannot leave anything on the floor on any surface she can reach, when we are not physically present or she will steal it, hide it, chew it to pieces, and digest it. It's not just when we leave her for long periods either, she'll do it while we're in the room and thinks we're not looking, or when we leave the room momentarily to go to the bathroom or something. We're at the end of our tether with her as she has literally ingested hundreds of dollars worth of shoes, clothing, books, electrical components... you name it, she'll eat it.

We've tried beating the hell out of her when we catch her, which clearly hasn't worked since (although she is chargrinned at the time) she continues to go back for more with gay abandon. We've tried exchanging the wrong item with a toy of her own, which works while we're in the room but is abandoned when we take our eyes off her. We've tried giving her different bones each day to chew (positively channeling the chewing desire) but she just takes them into the yard and buries them. We've tried giving her differently textured toys, which again works for like a day and then she gets bored of them. Nothing seems to work.

Because of her destructiveness, although she is almost a year old, she is still relegated to only one room in the house and Hubby and I spend our day impaling ourselves while stepping over baby gates just to get in-and-out of the family room and adjoining kitchen. (Yes, this has been great for the hip.) Although we try our best to leave everything out of her reach, we're not perfect and occasionally we slip. For instance, today it was one of Hubby's baseball caps, which he left on the top of the patio table.

Our next stop is an expensive trainer, so you can imagine that I'm ready to seize upon whatever cost-saving bright idea comes my way before I have to resort to this. Either that or this dog is going to the pound. (See, you think I am kidding.)

Dad's idea was to put something hot (like mustard or hot sauce) on something that that wasn't valuable but that we thought she might steal, leave it out in a precarious place (so, like anywhere), the goal being aversion therapy. Maggie would get a burning hot mouth and decide this whole stealing things was a bad idea.

Sounds like a good idea, I thought, so this afternoon I decided to put it to the test. I grabbed an innocuous, decorative, square of soap wrapped in a box, and a plastic covering. I placed a generous dollop of hot tapatio sauce on top (something so hot even I can't eat it) and I left it on top of the side table in the family room. My plan was to check on it every 10-15 minutes but work got in the way and I finally made it down the stairs 45 minutes later.

And what did I find?

The plastic wrapper. Licked clean and no sign of the box or soap itself.

Obviously having got the taste of delicious destruction, she had then progressed on to the trash can, where she pulled out several pieces of rolled-up tissue, leaving small pieces all around the family room and kitchen.

I looked at her to see if there were any obvious ill effects of today's forbidden snacks but so far she seems unaffected. Shame. A little vomiting and diarrhea might teach her a lesson.

I hate this damn dog.

(Again, you think I'm kidding.)


Mala said...


e said...

The angelic little puppy face belies her true nature: DESTRUCTOJAWS!

caw said...

hey, here's something i watched on one of those dawggie type shows about a 2 yr old doggie who used to pull rubbish out of the bin, steal stuff, chew it to bits, etc.

basically if you can put a really loud alarm mat in front of the bin, the noise will shock her into not wanting to pursue the food. dogs apparently don't like loud sudden noises. it's an ordinary housemat, with a noise detector thing underneath it - one of those things that if you tread on it, a buzzer goes off. then, when the family was out of the room, and the doggie went near the bin, they set it off remotely. she hated it and hestiated to go near the bin.

when they left the house and the doggie was filmed on hidden camera, she walked on the mat to get to the bin and when the mat went "beep! beep! beep!" she turned and walked away. after 5 or 6 attempts, she gave up going near the bin b/c the beeping noise was so obnoxious for her. eventually, the family were able to take the beeper away - and just leave the mat in front of the bin. seeing the mat was enough to put the doggie off.

i dont know if that helps, but hopefully it might.

ive also heard that pepper puts dogs off, but god. if maggie can eat all that hot sauce, pepper won't do a damned thing!!

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