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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Fergus the Destroyer

I pictured a Golden Retriever as soft, cuddly and playful. I knew there would be a teething phase and a digging phase. I did not expect to meet Fergus the Destroyer. I am on the hunt for a dog toy that is indestructible. Fergus appears to be teething again. Either that or he just likes chewing things.

We got through the puppy teeth stage virtually unscathed. Fergus sampled a few prohibited items like the carpet on the stairs and a cardboard baby book that probably smelled of milk when his sharp little puppy teeth were coming in. But he didn’t destroy any shoes or anything else of particular value because we kept a close eye on him when he wasn’t locked in his crate. He carried stuffed toys around for a few months, and this was a cute trait.  He would select one from the toy box, then proudly parade around the house with it in his mouth, wagging his whole body proudly to show us what he had “retrieved”. Then he began ripping their limbs and head off. Now he is making short work of any toy he discovers, even if it is made specifically for a teething dog and rated 9 out of 10 for durability.  

Fergus thinks the 10 rating refers to the number of minutes it should take to complete de-stuff a thing. I am kicking myself for buying those expensive chew toys at the local pet store. The only toy he hasn’t completely destroyed yet is the rubber chicken I bought him from the dollar store. Granted he leaves it outside for playing fetch so it is dark, dirty and likely not very tasty anymore. It’s missing its squeaker but it still has all its body parts.

I bought the Ferg an identical rubber chicken for the house and he declawed, de-beaked and de-squeaked it immediately.

Our Golden Retriever is 9 months old this month. According to the lady who attempted to give us obedience lessons, he is right on schedule for the second round of teething for the molars. Those are incredibly powerful jaws he is exercising, and although I have found most of his baby teeth embedded in various items around the house, his adult teeth seem to be adequately sharp as well.
I posted about my chew toy problem on Facebook. I was recommended the heavy duty Kong toy. Fergus ate it. I was told to buy the Chuckit brand tennis balls. Fergus ripped the fur off them and cracked them in half. I bought street hockey balls, which I remember as being hard as rocks. It took the better part of an evening but eventually Fergus chewed those into little pieces too.

The only chew toy he has not been able to crack is a rock-hard fake white bone that is lightly scented like chicken. He likes it more than the real deer antler I bought him and it is lasting longer than anything else I have purchased. I guess I will have to go back and get another one as backup because I hate to think what will happen if we lose this one.

Fergus is also destroying the landscape. The Farmer is mourning the loss of his beautiful lawn and garden. Originally trained to do his business at the edge of the yard in the long grass, Fergus has taken to using our perennial flowerbed as his toilet. I stoop and scoop his poop every day but his stomping and digging is taking its toll. There are huge holes in the garden leading to tunnels under the porch. He loves to leap up onto the porch, down the stairs, through the garden, under the porch and pop out on the other side. He seems to find it hilarious if you yell at him, and he speeds up like a runner performing for his cheering fans.

The Internet doesn’t have much advice on how to stop a dog from digging. My husband has long talks with his dog, in an attempt to appeal to his sense of reason. The trainer says there is only one way to stop a dog from digging: tire him out. So the Ferg is going on walkabout with the Farmer on a daily basis now. It’s helping him to stay out of mischief, and the Farmer is getting some exercise too.

Soon, with any luck, there will be snow and the Ferg will be able to dig to his heart’s content.

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