Whole Dog Journal's Blog February 15, 2013

No more noise, no more fun

Posted at 10:04AM - Comments: (6)

One of my favorite things about my dog, Otto, is that he loves and apparently cherishes his squeaky toys. Unlike dogs I’ve known who feel that the only good squeaker is a dead squeaker, Otto has had squeaky toys that have lasted for years with nary a squeak-ending puncture. Sadly, this trend seems to have ended.

It started with a soft rubber pig that made a realistic, low grunty sound – not incidentally the noise-making toy that created more excitement from Otto than any toy ever had. Otto would do anything for that toy, including a long, arduous chain of behaviors, in order to earn a minute of blissed-out noise-making with that toy. But a moment’s inattention led to the toy getting stolen away by Diamond, my former foster dog, who very quickly chewed the pig’s nose off – and with it, the ability of the toy to make noise. When Otto discovered the theft, and attempted to make the pig grunt, he seemed genuinely puzzled by the “whoosh, whoosh” noise it made instead. He would make the noise, put the toy down, look at the toy carefully, nose it around on the ground, pick it up again, whoosh whoosh, again and again. He was disappointed -- nowhere near as excited or as motivated by the toy as he had been before. As soon as the novel “Grunt, grunt” noise was done, so was he.

The toy was such a motivator for him, I took a long drive out of my way to return to the only store where I had ever seen the toy sold, and bought him another one. By this time, Diamond was placed in his new home, and Tito the Chihuahua isn’t a chewer, so I felt safe in handing over the new pig to Otto to enjoy. But within about two minutes, to my surprise, I heard a familiar sound: “Whoosh, whoosh.” What? I investigated and lo and behold, the pig’s nose had been chewed off, as neatly as if Diamond had done it.

A few months went by before I was anywhere near that one pet supply store again. I looked at the pig toy, and the price. Did I dare buy another one? It’s a fragile toy. But he used to treat it so gently; the first one lasted for at least six months before its rhinoplasty. I spent the money.

Sadly, the new toy quickly went the way of the previous two. It’s almost as if he can’t help himself. He loves the grunting noise, but he has to bite the nose off the toy. I won’t buy another, and it makes me almost as sad as it’s made him.

Comments (6)

I have two dogs, Max the Labrador, who will never go anywhere even out in the car except he has a soft toy in his mouth and Ben the Rat Terrier. Ben has learned about toys from Max, at first he was not very interested but when he saw Max run to me with a toy he copied now they both greet me with their toys. As to chewing and destroying I have two tips which may help. I always avoid plastic as it is just too tempting to tear into and go for solid plush, no rope bits either as they associate them with tugging. (We have rope tugs). the other thing is totally basic. If I see any destructive play I simply tell them 'don't do that', just as I would with any other unwanted behaviour and they have both learned I mean it because I take the toy away unless they stop. They get it back after a few minutes. also works with 'don't take the toys out in the rain'. Sounds silly but I have always done it and they understand me.

Posted by: Ellie590 | February 19, 2013 6:17 PM    Report this comment

Years ago we had a Doberman that would hold a sqeaky toy in his mouth and squeak it for hours at a time, till it drove my husband mad and he took the toy away from the dog. Zak never tore up his toys--he just loved to hear them squeak.
Fast forward a couple of decades and now I have my second Boston Terrier. Both have loved to "disect" squeaky toys (the first one had a method--nose first, then ears, then appendages--second BT just starts shredding).
For my first BT I finally tried the Giggly Wiggly ball--she loved it! She tore up the small one that I got for her first but the big one she would shoulder around like a soccer ball for hours until she was exhausted. BT #2 has no interest in the Giggly Wiggly--I think he is a bit on the lazy side in some ways. He likes to be entertained but is not so much into entertaining himself. I don't know how much of the difference is due to the fact that BT #1 I had since a pup and BT #2 was an adult rescue with unknown history. He does like things that make noise, though.

Posted by: PJKutscher | February 19, 2013 4:47 PM    Report this comment

I've spent $$ on a battery replacement of the Screaming Monkey's gut when his EEE EEE EEE died away. But on the occasion when the Quacking Duck was torn up, leaving his gut intact, I performed a gut transplant the next time Screaming Monkey's gut's battery died again. Thank you, Quacking Duck for the generous donation. Imagine Sharpie's dismay the next time she found that sweet spot on Screaming Monkey and out of his depths came "Quack, Quack, Quack!" :-)

Posted by: MARIE-LOUISE H | February 19, 2013 2:08 PM    Report this comment

My first dog, as a puppy, loved to chew toys into pieces. I started taking the squeaky toys away from her when she started to tear at them, and return them, until she finally figured out she could have them if she didn't destroy them and bonus: the squeaker would last a long time for her noise-making enjoyment. Eventually, the squeakers would give out just from being overworked, but the toys generally remained intact. I loved buying her toys to play with, washing them when they got grungy and seeing her rediscover clean toys.
My current dog just doesn't get it. She loves the squeak, gets so excited her eyes shine and tail bangs as she thumps it fast and hard. But after just a few squeaks, she can't wait to tear into it and find that piece of plastic noise. Similar training did not work. She thinks if I take her toy away that she isn't supposed to have it even when I give it back. So now, as a rare treat, I give her a cheap toy and watch closely so that I can remove the plastic squeaker before she can tear it into bits and swallow any pieces. Sometimes she will play with the toy a little longer if I put the stuffing back and she tears it out again enthusiastically, but after a couple days of this and no squeaker, the toy is done.
I am bummed because I cannot afford to buy her many toys just to have them destroyed in under five minutes. And, she is such a strong chewer, there are very few toys that she can have that would be safe unsupervised for even a short time.

Posted by: ANN S | February 19, 2013 1:39 PM    Report this comment

I've never understood why, once a toy has been compromised in some way, the only thing my dogs could/would do with it was destroy it in the same way, no matter how much they loved it and how long it was intact before the "fatal injury." I've done exactly the same thing as you, bought another, only to have the same result. My husband frequently used to re-stitch soft toys, only to have the stitching become the most attacked part of the toy. It is sad, isn't it? Another thing we wish we could explain to them...or have them explain to us!

Posted by: Susan M | February 19, 2013 1:25 PM    Report this comment

Our dogs love their cuz toys. Soft mouthed Wilma only knows how to squeak it by pushing it with her nose against the floor. Caja tries to get as many squeaks in per minute as possible sometimes. Hazel had been carrying the cuz toys around (and guarding them) for quite some time before she accidentally squeaked one. It surprised her and she picked it up and carried her baby elsewhere, as if to make sure it was okay. She still doesn't squeak them as much as the others, but loves to carry it around in her mouth and show it to us. There have been times when multiple cuz's were being squeaked at once, and it really makes us happy even when we are on a conference call while working from home.

Posted by: Paula B | February 15, 2013 4:05 PM    Report this comment

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