Well she finally did it. I’ve heard stories about Labrador Retrievers being really destructive, but up until early Saturday our puppy didn’t fall into that group. She’s never been a total angel, but we’ve tried to keep a close eye on her and we were proud to say that she hadn’t really destroyed anything.
I can’t say that anymore.
Early Saturday morning while our puppy was still in her crate I went upstairs for 15 minutes or so. I could hear Midnight playing around in her crate. We let her have a few sturdy toy bones in her den. About five minutes before I returned to the main floor the sounds coming from Midnights cage changed a bit. I told myself that she was probably still playing with her toys, but the thumping sounds I was hearing were dull. Not the loud clatter of her plastic bones falling on the crates floor.
I had a feeling she was playing with her doggy bed and unfortunately it turned out that I was right.
I came down the stairs and I saw that she’d taken the cover off the inner pillow of her bed. What fun! The pillow had a heavy duty Velcro closure, but she’d just ripped the material. The Velcro held up to her chewing and tearing, but the material didn’t!
Chalk one up for Midnight! Her bed is pretty much toast!
Some puppy training class graduate, eh?
I took her bed out of the crate, told her how bad she was in very firm tones and then shut the crate and went back upstairs. For Midnight, a dog that almost always has constant company, being ignored is the worst punishment.
Once we let her out of her crate we left her damaged doggy bed on the floor beside the crate and every once in a while we’d say “Bad” as she walked by it. I know … we were rubbing it in, but we’ve been trying to keep her from chewing on her bed since day one. I’d already repaired a few small holes, but this damage won’t be easily fixed.
Then on Saturday night as we were watching TV Midnight was doing her usual thing. Playing with her bones and chew toys on the floor, in her big doggy bed (the second one we have for her that’s too big to fit in her crate) and taking turns sitting with or lying on Chris and I on the couch.
I think she was sitting with me on the couch when the bone that she’d been chewing on fell off the couch. She leapt down to get it and at the same time the phone rang. Chris answered it and I was looking at him answering something he’d asked me when we noticed that the chewing noise at my feet … just below the living room table had changed.
Midnight wasn’t lying on the floor under the table chewing on her bone. She was chewing the table leg.
I swear she only chewed it for a minute or less, but it has approximately 8 long grooves in one leg where she scraped her teeth across the wood.
Why is she suddenly being so bad?
In the last two weeks she’s started jumping up on us while we’re standing (something we’d got her to stop doing during her first month with us), chewing on our pants legs as we walk or our coats as we try to put them on and other things that she used to do when she was only three or four months old.
Now the chewing has started up again and this time she’s getting destructive!
She’s probably still teething, but she’s going to be 7 months old in a few days so she should be just about done teething. That can’t be it.
It’s like she’s reverted back to early puppy hood.
Midnight at about 3 1/2 months
She’s also showing signs of being scared of a few things. Sometimes late at night she’ll think she hears a noise (maybe our turtles clunking around in their tank?) and she’ll sit up and growl, cocking her head back and forth to determine what the noise is.
Yesterday, Chris brought his guitar downstairs. He really hasn’t played his guitar since we got Midnight in November. He sat on the stairs and started playing a song and Midnight started barking and hugging my leg. She’d dart forward in curiosity, but then she’d jump back to be near me where she felt safe.
Chris slowly came down the stairs with his guitar and she continued to act scared. This dog afraid of a guitar? She isn’t even afraid of our extremely noise vacuum cleaner!
All the dog training books say that if you make a big deal of coddling a dog when it’s afraid you’re only re-enforcing the fear. As in maybe showing the dog that your afraid too. So I walked confidently up to Chris and the guitar and started touching it, saying “Good Guitar”. She calmed down enough to smell and try to lick the guitar a few times while I was touching it, but she was still nervous.
She’ll have to get used to the guitar.
Chris normally plays the guitar several times a week, especially during the warmer months when he’ll bring his guitar outside and sit at the patio in the backyard or on the front steps and play.
She’s shown signs of being a little bit afraid of a few other things but the guitar, by far, got the biggest reaction.
I guess the changes in behavior are probably a phase she’s going through as she gets older, but we’ve made some new rules. If she’s playing on the floor with one of her toys she can’t be near the table or a chair. We’ve got to be able to see her face in order to make sure she’s not chewing on something she shouldn’t be!
I swear Midnight must be part beaver!
Midnight chewing on a super-sized real bone at five months of age!