It seems pretty simple really; life would be emptier without them!
For instance, Ryder is a 65 pound 5-month old, cute as can be English Mastiff and our newest boy. When we brought him home we immediately began the doggy door introduction. Since we have three other dogs, I assumed (first mistake) potty training would be accomplished within 48-hours. I hate when I’m stupid, but I can’t deny that I was delusional on that one. I followed the protocol for potty training; outside every 20 minutes for 5 minutes and bring a treat. I swear he knew when the timer had 4 minutes left because that’s when he’d choose to poop and or pee on the floor. I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t I take him every 15 minutes instead. I did. Then he’d go every 11 minutes. Thankfully, this only last about two days before he started figuring out that his bathroom was outside. I was so glad because I was ready to start sleeping in the dog run so I didn’t have to clean up one more poop pile. And, I was running out of disinfectant and paper towels!
Of course I expected some typical puppy behavior. I’m not completely unrealistic. I knew there’d be some shoe stealing, maybe a little snatch and grab with the bathroom rug, or trying to steal some clothes. I was prepared though. I puppy-proofed the house long before we brought him home. After all, I’ve raised a lot of puppies in my life. I didn’t need a “refresher” on the do’s and don’ts of puppy preparation (second mistake). Besides being certain that he wouldn’t be able to reach anything he wasn’t supposed to, we also made sure he had plenty of toys. That was pretty much wasted money. He didn’t care about toys. He cared about stuff. All types of stuff. He wasn’t choosy; he didn’t care whose or what it was. He claimed everything as his own!
Soon after joining our family Ryder found the laundry basket. More things to play with and these things were so cool because when he pulled on them they made a really cool “kerreech” sound. He quickly made me some very special socks and underwear. Within the first few days he made me four pair of shredded socks. I know, I know; why didn’t I move the basket right? I did, many times. There were times I was positive nothing was within his reach and that doors were shut, but I swear that he could open doors, drawers, cabinets, anything! Back to the socks. When I say shredded I’m talking, put the socks through the paper shredder and try to put them on. Or another design was the puzzle socks. That’s where you pick up each piece of your sock, generally there’s eight to ten pieces, and try to put them back together. I’ll admit, it’s quite challenging. The greatest creation of all though, was the butt-less underwear he made for me (I’m sorry for that visual). I don’t mean, “Oh that’s funny, they look like a thong now.” Nope. I’m saying, a pair of bikini underwear that look complete from the front. However, when you see the back, they look like riding chaps, and all you see are bare butt cheeks and a waistband. Yes, they were as special as you’re imagining them to be!
After he turned the fifth pair of underwear into peek-a-boo undies I decided he didn’t have enough toys! We went to the pet store and spent more money on toys than we spend on the weekly grocery bill. It’s ok though because I knew these toys would entertain him better than the others and he’d leave everything else alone therefore, it was money well spent (third mistake)! Nope, jokes on me. Now he was like a one-year-old with birthday presents. The toys entertain him for all of 5.2 seconds before he decides other stuff will be more fun. So now, it’s game on. What else can he find that’s fun? What else do I need to pack away and put in the garage? My thought? Everything! Instead, I went to the computer and looked up “How to puppy proof your home.” It didn’t tell me anything that I hadn’t already done. Not one thing. The big tip from the internet was, “keep things out of your puppy’s reach.” Really? Why hadn’t I thought of that? One thing did become perfectly clear during my internet search, I was on my own in this little battle.
At this point I was almost ready to give in to Ryder; almost. I knew this because I started thinking about gluing doors shut, covering dressers with sandwich wrap, packing anything movable and hiding it in the garage, and hanging all of my underwear and socks from the ceiling fan. It would’ve worked, I was down to the bare minimum by this point. After thinking all of that over, I decided there was probably a better way. I sat down and had a discussion with Ryder and explained that mommy was going crazy and her hair was turning gray in front of his eyes. I told him how I had nightmares about him eating our bed while we were sleeping in it. I made sure he knew that I was on the verge of a breakdown and was scared I’d start talking to inanimate objects (and dogs). I’m certain he was listening; even though I had to follow him around. He heard me though and I know this to be fact because for reasons I don’t care about, he started playing with his toys! Just like that. I was so happy. He loved them and played with them continuously. He’d toss them around and then chase after them. He started playing more with Jax and they’d run around the yard for an hour at a time. He was just so cute and funny. I was so grateful he’d moved on. We were ready for the next stage of puppyhood! Then it started; he started leg humping and licking himself inappropriately and often. It was then that I decided…I’d rather he shred my underwear.