Prince Tucker Problems

A Tip from Tucker: Super Chewers

When I bring home a new toy, I get the distinct feeling that Tucker’s first thought is “challenge accepted!”

Tucker is a super chewer. His favorite thing in the world is to rip things up into tiny little pieces and leave them scattered all over the floor. And yet, even as a puppy, he only chewed one hairbrush handle and put one hole in a slipper (that I remember). I credit that track record, and today’s continued success, to consistent supervision as a puppy and the accessibility of a wide array of appropriate toys.

Dogs chew. If we don’t tell them what to chew, they will choose something on their own (and that doesn’t usually end well).

So, here are a few tips for the owners of the super chewers. (Note – this is not a product endorsement – just Tucker’s personal experiences.)

Hard Toys
> Nylabone – When it comes to hard chew toys, like bones, we buy Nylabone products almost exclusively. They last quite a while, despite Tucker’s best efforts, and I trust the materials. I’m always fearful that some of the cheaper bones will break off in large chunks that he might try to ingest. That being said, we do usually make sure to buy the bones with the highest durability rating.

Rubber Toys
> Kong – The next time you’re in a pet store, look at the labels on the Kong toys. You’ll find that different colors of rubber represent different degrees of durability. The “normal” Kong is red. Tucker laughs in the face of red Kongs. We are strictly a black Kong household. The black Kongs are the toughest and, so far, Tucker has yet to destroy one.

> West Paw – This company makes a toy called a Tux, which we affectionately called “Freezer Toy” in our house. West Paw is so confident in this toy’s durability that they will actually replace it once if it’s destroyed. We have bought, and replaced, two Tux toys. The Tux is rated 5/5 on their website, and while it did last a decent amount of time, it was still no match for Tucker in the end.

> Planet Dog – We are currently on our third Orbee-Tuff Orbee Ball. Again, while these balls are rated 5/5 and have lasted a decent amount of time with a chewer like Tucker, they all eventually come to an end. We also recently tried an Orbee-Tuff Eggplant which has a 4/5 rating. It was dead within 30 minutes and we utilized Planet Dog’s replacement policy to try a different 5/5 ball.

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> GoughNuts – This is a new company we were turned on to by friends who work German Shepherds in search and rescue. Tucker has one of the GoughNuts sticks, and so far, so good, though he really hasn’t laid into it too hard yet. Similar to Kong, GoughNuts uses different colors of rubber to represent different levels of durability. Given our track record, we decided to start with black. This company will replace a damaged toy as soon as any part of the red core, a stop indicator, is exposed.

Curious what Tucker might pick for squeaky, stuffed, fabric, rope, or leather toys?

Ha! You’re funny. There is a reason the only two categories on this page are “hard” and “rubber:” nothing else survives longer than an hour around Tucker. If you need/want to utilize those types of toys with your dog, make sure it is during supervised play and that the toy is taken away before they begin trying to destroy it. Tucker doesn’t tend to ingest the items he destroys, but if your dog does, a damaged toy could pose a major health concern.

Happy toy shopping!

Categories: Behavior, Blog, Prince Tucker Problems, Toys | Leave a comment

The Prince and the Pea

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I often affectionately refer to my faithful Labrador Retriever as “Prince” Tucker. Why? Because he seems to believe he should be treated like royalty and he’s extremely picky.

While Tucker may not be quite as sensitive as the princess in the fairytale, “The Princess and the Pea,” who is able to feel one pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds, he is still quite princely.

Several weeks ago, my very obedient Tucker suddenly started balking at the idea of going to bed. Tucker has slept in the same crate since he was a puppy (almost six years), and up until this point, had never had an issue with it. Our routine has always been pretty much the same – he goes outside for a break, comes inside to get his nightly pills and evening snack, and goes to bed. All of a sudden one day, he started sneaking back to his bed in the living room after his snack instead of going to his crate. When my husband or I would ask him to go to his crate, he would hang his head sadly, and, slowly but surely, plod over to his crate.

We were both quite perplexed for a while until one day when I decided to wash the mat in his crate. As I pulled it out, I realized just how thin it had become.

And that’s when it hit me: the Prince had decided he preferred the very fluffy bed in the living room over the worn out old mat in his crate.

The next weekend, I bought a new fluffy bed and laid it on top of the old mat.

And guess who doesn’t balk at going to bed anymore!

The lesson is this – sometimes, it’s necessary to apply what you know about your dog’s personality when you’re trying to figure out what’s causing a certain behavior.  Remember that dogs, like people, all see the world a little differently.

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Happy as a clam now that he has extra padding.

Categories: Behavior, Blog, Prince Tucker Problems | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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