Bailey is a lively, bouncy animal, and even though Jim takes him for three good walks every day, he’s always bursting with energy. He’s a well-behaved dog in almost every way: he’s good-natured, fully house trained, he never barks in an annoying way, and he’s well trained when out on walks.
There’s just one problem, and it’s a difficult one to solve: he loves chewing. Jim gives him plenty of toys and treats, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to chew other objects. And his special passion is something that Jim really doesn’t want him to chew: the daily post.
Bailey has learned the precise morning routine: he hears the postman approaching from several doors away, and he starts to whimper. As the postman gets closer, he gets more excited, starting to howl in an eerie wolf-like way. He then bounds down the stairs at full tilt, timing his approach perfectly, leaping at the door and grabbing the post delivery at the exact moment as the postman pushes it through the door. He always grabs just the post – he has never caught the postman’s hand. He then rushes off to a quiet spot in the house so that he can settle down and chew the post to shreds.
When Bailey first started to do this, Jim had a real problem. He’d come down in the morning to find the post completely destroyed. Bank statements, bills and personal letters were as comprehensively torn apart as if they’d been through a shredding machine. Sturdier objects such as plastic bank cards were distorted with tooth marks so that they were unusable. If Jim wasn’t home when a parcel was delivered, Bailey would chew up the card that Jim was meant to take to the sorting office to collect the item: he had to use that corny excuse “My dog ate the slip”.
Jim quickly learned that he had to beat Bailey in a daily battle for the post. As soon as he heard Bailey starting to whimper, Jim had to stop whatever he was doing, and shut Bailey into a side room. He then had to pick up the post from the front door mat straight away, so that Bailey couldn’t get at it later. Jim hasn’t always managed to beat Bailey in the daily race to the post, and there have continued to be unfortunate accidents from time to time.
This isn’t the first time that Bailey has caused problems with his passion for chewing. Over the years, he has taught Jim and his family to be tidy: anything left within his reach is picked up and munched. The most expensive lesson happened when Jim’s girlfriend left a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes in the kitchen one evening. The following morning, the designer shoes were in pieces: Bailey had even managed to make the heels vanish entirely, presumably by chewing them into smaller chunks which he then swallowed. It’s no wonder that the dog has been prone to occasional digestive upsets over the years. The only surprising aspect is that he has never needed to have an operation to remove an object that has become lodged in his intestines: this is an ongoing risk for dogs like Bailey.
Last week, Jim found the obvious answer to the post-chewing problem: he’s installed a box on the inside of his front door, so that when post is pushed through the letter box, it’s kept safely out of Bailey’s reach.
Jim never leaves anything valuable like shoes within Bailey’s reach, and the post is now safe from his grasp. There’s only one question: what damage will Bailey do next with his passion for chewing?
- Some dogs have an uncontrollable desire to chew objects
- Chew toys and treats can help to satisfy this urge
- Despite an owner’s best efforts, chewing disasters can be an ongoing risk of dog ownership