• 63°

Puppy antics caused by boredom

By HELEN PALMER

K9 Corner

Several friends have related stories of what I call “puppy antics” that I felt my readers would enjoy and possibly relate to. Before I go on, I would like to reassure everyone that all puppies do not exhibit these behaviors, nor is one breed more likely to produce puppies with this kind of exuberance and curiosity.

However, everyone likes to watch puppy antics, and some people laugh and go home glad that someone else is raising the dog.

The first story came from a person “who has had dogs all her life, but never one quite like this.” The puppy invents its own games such as “pull the cloth off the table,” and run through the house with items flying in all directions with the cloth waving in the air as the dog circles the furniture in one room, and races for the next room. “It took three of us to corner him.” my friend said.

Even though this pup is only weeks old, he is precocious and needs something to occupy his mind and tire him out. I suggested obedience classes, kindergarten puppy training classes or agility training, without the jumps, as possibilities to give him mental and physical stimulation and make him happier about spending a lot of time sleeping, or lazily chewing on a toy when at home.

The second story came from a friend with a pup that was spending most of her time hiding behind furniture. A week or two passed before the furniture was moved for cleaning, and it was discovered that this pup had been very busy chewing a large hole in the back of the couch and unraveling the carpet edge. The damage was extensive enough that the owners called me. Again, this is a case of boredom. This pup is about 4-months-old and teething; more exercise and plenty of chew toys are in order. I found that soft rubber squeaky balls are excellent for some pups because they give when chewed. I say “some pups” because some pups will take care of these softer toys, and others will have a field day ripping them apart and scattering the pieces.

Talking of ripping toys apart, I had an owner laughingly tell me that she would never get another stuffed ball for her dog, because the animal attacks it and has a wonderful time scattering the stuffing all over the pen. I agree, one of my dogs had the same idea and I am amazed at the amount of stuffing a small toy produces. I tried gathering the material and re-stuffing it into the body of the toy and found it impossible to get it all in.

Which brings me to a fourth story of a dog allowed to sleep on her owner’s sleeping bag, which is now torn apart. This was probably instinctive, since dogs will claw at their bedding and then circle before lying down.

If puppy antics aren’t for you, but a canine companion is what you are looking for, check the local humane society for a mature dog that would love to be your side-kick.