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Razzle and some of his favorite things

So how do you teach what is ok to chew and rip to pieces and what is not?
He loves his stuffies, particularly his various monkeys (one of which is really a giraffe.) They are his comfort. These monkeys are sometime also toys we play with (light tug, chase, find) and some of them have squeakers inside but mostly they are really in a deep way his go-to for comfort. They calm him down.
He has other toys he can get mouthy with that will stand up to chewing or that we don't care anymore if they start to be less and less, that he rips up but doesn't swallow. He eats raw so there is the chewable bones to crunch and rip and he also gets "chewies" maybe once a day or every other day when he seems to need the recreational chewing...
But now sometimes he does abuse his favorite comfort toys, like tags on them are annoying and some seams annoy him and then that leads to an ear or a nose or a paw or a whole leg gets amputated and he starts systematically eviscerating the stuffing... I will restuff them and sew them back up as well as I can as many times as I can (before it is hopeless) because these are his favorites, his comfort. And with his prolonged incarceration he needs his comfort.
Some of them are starting to look a little wonky. Wonky monkeys and a wonky shark that looks more like a dolphin now because something about the nose bugged him.

I really try to keep an eye. And put them in his clubhouse with him only when he seems to need them. When he stops kneeding and nursing on them and starts down the road of destruction I try to rescue them and give him something else to chew... But is there some better way to teach him which of his things are which?? Does anyone else have this issue?

 photo A2159782-58F8-4EF3-842A-261FC08BC595.jpg


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2015 04:46 pm (UTC)
A super interesting and most FAVORITE part of a Denise Fenzi seminar I went to was "play/prey cycle" and what part of it your dog most enjoys. I like Denise because she really advocates working with the TYPE OF DOG YOU HAVE and not trying to change your dog into the dog you think you want. ;)

So, play cycle. There are various areas of it. Chase, tug, rip apart, eat. She explained it like prey and how dogs (and often breed types) are bred to care about certain parts of it way more than others. Some dogs are natural retrievers, some chasers (but not bringing things back) some use eye, some don't. Others prefer the tugging aspect (in the prey cycle, the KILL mode) and others the ripping up and eating. Each dog naturally is going to prefer some of this over other things. From her lecture, it was led to believe that although you can help a dog enjoy other aspects of the prey/play cycle more than they naturally would, there are always going to be parts of it they prefer, especially as they age.
Rumble is a BIG FAN of ripping stuff up. He loves it. It used to include shoes and underwear and socks and anything left on the ground. He grew into understanding what was ok to destroy, and what he should leave alone. Whew... Razor never ripped up things, but when he plays he plays hard and things will fall apart.

I wonder if Razzle could/would get comfort from things that are harder to rip up. More strong toys made of firehose material. Things that are "bigger" thus stronger? Worth experimenting?
This weekend at the huge Rose City Classic dog show, there was LOTS of shopping... and it does make me sad that so many fun looking toys are off limits for our house. But I've come to except it and work with that I have.
Jan. 19th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately the comfort ones are always soft and squishy......
And aha! I thought all play was just plain prey driven. Interesting... I have to think about that the different parts of prey drive expression.

Edited at 2015-01-19 05:09 pm (UTC)
Jan. 19th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
I wonder if she covers this in her on line play class?
Jan. 19th, 2015 06:11 pm (UTC)
The first thing to do would be to check if she even is teaching that particular class. I found that a lot of the classes on her site have been handed off to others.
Jan. 19th, 2015 08:18 pm (UTC)
This was probably it? She's farmed it out...
BH310: Making Choices, Managing Prey Drive 1
Instructor: Jamie Robinson

This class - the first of two parts on managing undesirable prey drive - has two goals. First, we will work to create a strong recall that will allow you to interrupt your dog in the middle of a predatory-type chase. This will create a dog who will think first, ask questions second, and only move when cued. And second, we will introduce activities for you and your dog that will satisfy the parts of the prey sequence that your dog loves the most.

BH310 Opens January 22, 2015 at 9:30am PST
Jan. 19th, 2015 05:06 pm (UTC)
To be honest? I don't worry about it too much. Toys have a limited lifespan, even the comfort ones. Sometimes Riley destroys one of Jodah's cuddle toys, and nothing to be done about it. It gives me an excuse to go buy new ones from time to time. ;-)

It seems to help, though, if I rotate the toys they have available to them, so I try to do this from time to time, pull out an old favorite, and put a "new favorite" away for a little while.

The destruction has decreased some as my dogs have aged....though Jodah does still insist on trying to peel all the fuzz off Riley's tennis balls.
Jan. 19th, 2015 05:21 pm (UTC)
Well I do have some multiples now of his comfort toys, hence the plural monkeys... So I don't expect him to make these last forever. If my sewing machine was working I would attempt to create some Frankenstein toys made up of multiple severed legs and so on... I think he would like that. But sewing machine is still dead
Jan. 19th, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
Rotation. Yep.
Jan. 19th, 2015 05:40 pm (UTC)
I have a ripper/eater, so have to be very careful what toys I have out. My dogs also like to play tug with each other, so soft toys get destroyed quickly here. Noodle can kill a squeaker toy in under five minutes, latex even faster! The only toys we can have is a tug a jug, jolly ball, chuckit balls and nyla bones.
Jan. 19th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
Joey just went and got his hard rubber Kong bone out of his crate to chew. I have a couple of those plus the regular Kongs around. That reminded me that last summer Razzle seemed to like the Kong bones unstuffed just for playing and chewing.
Jan. 19th, 2015 07:54 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately what he likes to do with those now is eviscerate the squeak plug...
Jan. 20th, 2015 03:45 pm (UTC)
I managed to keep a few cuz's - the harder ones. Good Cuz doesn't last more than a day. The Squeaky Freaky lasts and lasts. The J&B Cuz equivalent is much tougher and lasts a long time. I still have an octopus Cuz with a squeaker that works occasionally - amazing. I have a Zanies Bite Me bag/toy that Lana won last year and it is made of fire hose with a squeaker inside and she loves it - throws it around, brings it to me for tug, tugs with Jill for it, etc. She still has her comfort bunny that I gave her when she was 3-4 wks old and nursing. It has been washed so the nursery smell may have gone but bunny lives in her crate - it was a little bigger than her when I first gave it to her.
Yoda destroyed everything including the rugs and the lawn - he ate his way thru everything - the dogbeds, pillows, anything made of fabric. Lana started to learn from him but stopped after he died.

Edited at 2015-01-20 03:47 pm (UTC)
Jan. 19th, 2015 06:27 pm (UTC)
I tell my clients this, as this is my personal opinion regarding toys:
"they are DOG toys, let your dog decide how it wants to play with it if you have decided it's his toy."
in general dog toys are much less expensive than shoes & pillows & underwear, so if you have a dissector dog, they often will find other things to dissect, so let them destroy their toys.
If you want to have toys that you dictate how your dog plays with them, those should be interactive toys that you are playing together with.
If your dog likes to eat or swallow bits then don't leave them unsupervised with toys they can get bits off, if they just chew them up and don't swallow the bits just pick up the carnage and toss it.
Who are we to say what they should find fun? Unless of course they are eating them and risking their own lives, then by all means, step in.
Kate was my last dissector and I found goodwill and places like that a wonderful cheap source of stuffed things she could destroy.
Jan. 19th, 2015 07:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, this sums up a lot of how I feel about it: "they are DOG toys, let your dog decide how it wants to play with it if you have decided it's his toy." :-)
Jan. 19th, 2015 08:02 pm (UTC)
The trouble with this approach (and I am of mind like this too and we have plenty of toy carnage in the garbage) is he needs his monkeys and not interactively, it's when he really really needs to calm down and he has to do this alone, away from anything exciting and when he destroys them he doesn't have what he needs any more.... and of course he would have to choose a discontinued toy that is hard to find and $15 plus shipping.... I have two more of them but it Adds up...
This is him calming himself. It's very sweet:

Jan. 19th, 2015 08:08 pm (UTC)
So have some cheap stuffed destroying toys that you give to him when you see he is starting to chew on his pacifier...
Jan. 19th, 2015 10:45 pm (UTC)
Yep. I can certainly be more specific about the cheapos. We have some---I worry about the human stuffies containing dangerous stuff so I've mostly steered clear of the flea market garage sale finds.
Anyway I guess the answer to my question seems to be the dogs can not learn to differentiate the pacifier toy from the rip it up toys when they are the mood to rip it up. So just better monitoring is the save the monkeys plan.
Jan. 19th, 2015 08:24 pm (UTC)
Or think of it the other way around: help him find multiple options if he's in need of that particular comfort. A blankie? Corner of a dog bed? Of course you don't have to do it this way, but it might work.
Jan. 20th, 2015 03:50 pm (UTC)
I use a piece of dogprint fabric from Joanne's - I made PJs out of it for Yoda and the leftover section is big enough for another pair, but Jill drags her blankie around and sucks on it to calm herself. when she sits on my lap, she always has this length of blankie dragging thru her legs - very sweet and plaintive.
Jan. 20th, 2015 09:58 pm (UTC)
A blanky is a great idea
Jan. 20th, 2015 10:40 pm (UTC)
this piece is about 1 yard by 1 yard and I didn't hem it - it didn't need it - just throw it in with the towels when I wash. Holding up really well for the past 4 years -since before I got Jill. I originally used it as a small Yoda blanket to keep him warm and then I made a small quilt out of the stuffing from dead toys and some material I had :) (yes I save the stuffing since I went thru so many including whole dogbeds - Yoda was very destructive after seizures)

Edited at 2015-01-20 10:44 pm (UTC)
Jan. 21st, 2015 12:12 am (UTC)
Jan. 21st, 2015 12:53 am (UTC)
of the blanket? or the quilt (which is a smooth non-fleece material)? Or Jill running around with blankie or Yoda in his jammies?
Jan. 21st, 2015 01:16 am (UTC)
Ha! All??
Jan. 21st, 2015 04:13 am (UTC)
Yoda in his jammies:


Yoda's quilt for nighttime to keep him warm (wouldn't let him sleep in his jammies in case he had a seizure and got all twisted up):


Let me know if this doesn't work. Don't have a photo of Jill with the blankie :(
Jan. 19th, 2015 06:59 pm (UTC)
His behavior is totally normal. Steam used to nurse on a large stuffed bone that was fake fleece, and dog beds that were also fake fleece. Thankfully he rather quickly grew out of the toy nursing but he nursed on a dog bed for years. The dog beds used to get so soaked with slobber when he nursed on them and then they smelled so gross. I used to let him but now he only tries to nurse when I am sitting at the kitchen table working on bills or something. When I see him start to nurse I tell him no and he has pretty much given up the habit, at 8 years old... good grief. :-) He has been my only nurser. All my dogs have ripped up toys. I always remove the tags and any strings and dangling bits before I giving them to the dogs. Kirby would immediately remove the squeaker and kill it and then ignore the toys. Slider would then pull all the stuffing out. Then the carcass would get played with for a while. I never fixed toys, but that was back in the day when agility clubs used to regularly give out stuffed toys as entry or qualifying gifts. Merc was/is an appendage remover. None of them ate toy bits. Davy is another matter. He started destroying and eating soft toys so I put all the soft toys away and we only have rubber toys out now, and Nylabones. And I don't buy any rubber toys that have easily chewed off bits, and they get tossed once they start wearing out and cracking. I am fine with the destroying but not the eating; that is just going to cost me a lot of money and result in major surgery to remove the pieces from Davy.
Jan. 19th, 2015 08:26 pm (UTC)
I don't care if he outgrows the behavior but I hope it just becomes just one of his ways to soothe/calm himself. He's very smart about it, before his surgery he would reach these moments where he would do laps around all the walls... And he couldn't stop. but then he would find his monkey and still himself.

So far he doesn't eat the bits of his evisceration but I would never leave him alone in his crate with any of the stuffies to find out if he ever would...

I just wondered if the could learn to differentiate. This toy is for destroying and this one is hot keeping
Jan. 19th, 2015 08:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm a let the dog destroy the dog toy believer, unless they eat parts at which point I manage/supervise. I like my couches. And pillows. And clothes. :)

The toys that I want kept intact are kept separate for agility training :)
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )