Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Life of a Dog Toy

I have a theory about dog toys. It goes a little something like this:

The toys that the dogs like the best always have the shortest life span. The average life span of my golden retriever puppy's toys is 7 days. We spend so much money right now on dog toys that I am thinking about putting in a separate line item in the family budget labeled "dog toy allowance".

Take for example the mean green and white nylabone toy:

It hurts to pick it up much less chew it! The softer green part is hard for Wrigley's mouth to chew it without getting scratched on the two ends.

I don't think Wrigley would touch this toy even if I dipped it in juice from a steak! This toy's going to be around for a long time!

This round toy's been around for a month or two. It's soft but apparently doesn't taste good or is much fun to play with, but he does like to rest his head on it before taking his afternoon nap. It also works well for collecting dust and dog hair while being scooted on the wood floors!

The lifespan of the toys Wrigley really likes, all follow the same pattern. First, he's so excited to play with it and chew on it:

He's gentle with his touch and they are best buddies for hours, even days:

Then, something triggers the dog and all of a sudden there is increased aggression to the toy and the chewing becomes very intense:

From there, it just gets ugly. Here is a picture of last week's favorite toy (the inside parts are strewn all over the house or somewhere in Wrigley's stomach):

Poor little guy; didn't stand a chance:
The big red Kong toy is a hit, but only when it's filled with the Kong peanut butter:

The soccer ball pillow wasn't really a dog toy at all; it was off the bed of one of my son's bed. It lasted 3 days:

Of course tennis balls are fun if you throw them.
Tomorrow, I will head to my favorite pet store and choose some innocent victims, er, toys for Wrigley to enjoy, er, destroy.
Now it's your turn. Send me your recommendations of your dog's favorite toys in the comments. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Knocking People Over is not Nice

Wrigley is a perfect one-year old golden retriever, except for one very bad habit. You see, he's the kind of dog that loves people and interacting with them. He gets so excited that he jumps on the person and at 80 pounds, that can actually be dangerous...not just annoying. If he doesn't get a massive amount of attention from this person, he will lunge at them again.

My dog trainer told us how to turn around and ignore him, which actually works, but unfortunately, strangers and guests are not aware of this tactic. I've also tried distracting him with treats, but friendship trumps treats at this puppy age.

The other day, we were walking on the golf course behind our house and an innocent woman was taking her morning walk. Wrigley was off leash (shhh! don't tell!) and he spotted the woman and before I could say, "come Wrigley" he was tromping towards her. Then he proceeded to try to get her undivided attention by jumping up on her again. Apparently, she was having a bad day, and she barked at me! "Get a leash!"

I need each and everyone of you to give me their best advise because I cannot afford more dog training at this time and don't want to lose friends with this bad habit. To a golden retriever, everyone is either a friend or someone who is going to be a friend. I cannot change this part of his nature, nor do I wish to try. In fact, I wish more humans had this personality trait. But, it's time to stop this jumping ASAP.