Real Life: My Dog Loves Textiles

real lifeWe’re starting a new blog series around here called Real Life and we couldn’t be more excited to share some of the behind-the-scenes moments that take place everyday that aren’t so pretty or blog-worthy. To kick off this new series I will be sharing a few real life moments that have taken place since purchasing our home and bringing home our first fur baby. Let’s just say this…Piper and I have something in common and that is our love and appreciation for textiles.

Three summers ago we had one of the busiest months of our lives. Two days after returning home from vacation in California we got in the car and drove four hours to pick up our first puppy. We brought her back to our current home (a loft in a small suburban downtown area) and after  living there for a week, we packed up everything and moved into our first home. We like to joke and say that when big things happen in our lives they all happen at once. Hopefully this won’t be an on-going trend because it can definitely be stressful!

dining room and entrywayWe quickly realized that our dog had severe separation anxiety and hated, I mean HATED, being in a crate. There were countless times we would put Piper in the crate, leave home for a few hours and come back to Piper waiting for us at the door. She would literally houdini out of her crate and we had no idea how. After countless tries we decided to start leaving her gated in three (pretty much) empty, unfinished rooms in our home instead.

For the first year of her life we had a pet sitter who came over during the day to feed her, let her out and spend some time with her while we were at work. I remember one day my brother went over because the sitter (his girlfriend) was unavailable. I remember coming home that night and going to reach for my scarf as we headed to the gym. This particular scarf always hung on a hook in our entryway and was no where to be found. I frantically looked in every place it could have been, then looked at Piper and thought to myself, “there’s no way”. After a quick text to my brother he confirmed that there was a scarf laying on the ground when he went over to let her out and he had confused it for a towel.

scarfThe next day we took Piper into the vet and they confirmed our suspicion: Piper had inhaled an entire scarf. They informed us that we brought her in at just the right time…if the scarf had started to enter her intestines she would have died. They kept her overnight and performed emergency surgery the next day. To this day that is the most expensive scarf I have ever owned. FYI – the scarf in the image above is the same one she ate. No, I did not keep it after they surgically removed it (although they did offer, ha!). My sweet husband sent an email to the company we purchased it from and told them the whole story and they kindly sent us a brand new one! How’s that for customer service?! “My dog ate it” typically isn’t a believable excuse.

Fast forward two years and Piper’s love for textiles has continued. We are on our third entryway rug because Piper chewed up the first two. Most recently she has chewed up our 8×10 dining room area rug, which we are looking to replace very soon. Never in a million years would I think I would say this because I am totally a shoe person, but why can’t she be a normal dog who chews up shoes instead of rugs? They are much cheaper to replace. See the photo below for evidence.

real lifeWe have had numerous people ask us why we keep buying rugs if she is just going to continue chewing them up. The answer is simple. We have wood floors throughout our entire home and we need rugs to make it feel cozy and warm. Plus, I like when things feel finished and having all wood floors with no rugs really isn’t an option for us. I may be naive but I always convince myself that Piper is “through that phase” because she hasn’t chewed up anything in awhile…then she goes and proves me wrong- again.

In the meantime, here are a few things we have tried:

  • Doggie cam: One of the best things we ever added to our home was the Logi Circle home security camera from our giveaway last summer. We turn this on every morning before leaving for work or anytime we are going out so we can keep an eye on the dog. I will admit – it is addicting! I love pulling it up during my lunch hour and spying on Piper. The nice thing about it is that you can talk to your pets, so if Piper is up to no good (like chewing on the rug again) I will say “Piper, NO!” and she immediately stops. I think it kinda freaks her out, but hey, it works!
  • Bitter spray: I know some of you swear by this bitter apple spray and I have definitely had plenty of people suggest it for Piper’s problems, but we haven’t had as much success with it as I had hoped. I have tried spraying down all corners of the rugs we buy so she won’t chew on them, but overtime it wears off. I have had more success with actually spraying it in her mouth if she chews something up. Part of me feels like this is too harsh though and I hate doing it (she definitely hates it too).
  • Space: We are now to the point where Piper has free reign of the house while we are gone – no crate, no gate, nothing. Our thought process in doing this was that maybe if she had more of the house to roam around in and a couch to lay on she might not be as bored and want to chew up everything around her. So far this has worked better, but has not completely kept her from chewing. I have always been anti-dog on the couch person, but I’ve kinda given up with Piper. She is such a snuggly bear and it’s so hard to say no. Plus, I would much rather have her laying on our couch then chewing up a rug. Vacuuming daily is a necessity around here because of it.

We are going to continue the hunt for a new rug, but meanwhile, what are some things you guys have tried for your pets who just love to chew? I would love to know if this has happened to anyone besides us!

So there you have it… our first “real life” post. Behind-the-scenes aren’t always so pretty and we totally deal with the annoyances of pets, renovating, and everyday mishaps. We might as well laugh about it together, because there has to be someone out there who can relate!

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  1. If boredom is an issue, Amazon sells puzzle toys for dogs that are pretty neat. Kong also makes one that is rubber with ridges and you spray peanut butter or spray cheese in the creases. My dog will spend all day licking and chewing on that thing to get every bit out!

    I also have a cat that loves to scratch on furniture, despite having numerous scratching posts. I ended up allowing him ONE chair (a desk chair that was already old and no one ever saw but me) that he was allowed to tear up. It was the one chair I would let him destroy with no punishment and now it is the only chair he will touch. He is not interested in the others. Weird, right? But whatever works!

    Good luck! She seems like a beautiful ball of floofy love!

    1. Jacqueline says:

      Thanks so much for the advice! We do have a Kong that we give her with frozen peanut butter, pumpkin or cheese every once in awhile. That pretty much keeps her busy until it’s gone. I will have to look into the dog puzzles…never heard of them! She has not chewed the rug up anymore…probably because she already left “her mark”. I am afraid right when we get a new one she will do the same thing again. I’m hoping I’m wrong. xo, Jacqueline

  2. Aww, she’s such a cutie!
    Have you tried any natural pet supplements? You mentioned she has separation anxiety. One of my dogs is high anxiety and must always be nibbling on something whenever she’s stressed, which is often. She’s learned over the years only to nibble her stuffed toys (thank goodness – she always carries one of her “babies” with her from room to room in case she needs a little chew!), but it’s a nervous habit that she can’t quit. Valerian root in her water dish seems to help keep her calm.

    1. Jacqueline says:

      Hi Kate! Thanks for the tips. We have not tried natural supplements. Maybe we will have to look into them! I will say her anxiety has gotten better as time has gone by. I think she just HATED being locked up so much. She has lots of toys to chew on and play with (including a Kong with cheese or peanut butter), but she seems to love textiles way more. :-) xo, Jacqueline

  3. Leah Prevost says:

    I’ve had dogs my entire life. Growing up we always had one or two and sometimes three. I currently have a 10yr old pit bull, a 7yr old chocolate lab, and a 3mo old rottweiler. Puppies chew on things mostly because they’re teething, or bored. An older puppy is chewing probably because they’re bored. The BEST thing you can do is wear them out! Physically and mentally. Lots of walks or if you don’t have time and have a treadmill he can go on there to get some exercise in! Also leave toys that you can hide treats in to keep his mind busy. Teaching them new tricks helps! Last but not least, another dog! I wasn’t able to leave my Pit bull out of his kennel because of separation anxiety, he would tear my house apart. Until we got our lab. She wasn’t destructive. He hasn’t destroyed a thing since. Hope some of this helps!!!!!!

    1. Jacqueline says:

      Hi Leah! Thanks for the advice. :-) This is my first dog…ever. I always wanted one growing up but I was part of a big family so my parents said no to pets. Piper is almost 3 and I will say her chewing habits have gotten better with time. She is also a big dog so she’s not very active but we try to walk her at least once a day. I do love the idea of a treadmill, although I think it would freak her out. Ha! I would love to have another dog someday, but right now her 110 lbs. take up enough space in our home. :-) Thanks for all of the advice. xo, Jacqueline

  4. The solution for my naughty basset hound with separation anxiety…..a second dog :)
    They became instant pals and she was completely cured of all doggy shenanigans. Another dog is way more fun than another rug!

    1. Jacqueline says:

      Hi Erin! I would love a second dog! Right now Piper weighs around 110 lbs. and that is enough fur in our tiny house to keep me (decently) sane since I am kind of a neat freak. I am sure puppy number 2 will be in the future though! :-) xo, Jacqueline

  5. D @ Foster the Puppies TX says:

    Hi. We foster dogs and especially herding breeds. They need to be stimulated and always with their people or a dog friend otherwise that’s what happens. ☺ If not possible, highly recommend getting her bully sticks (we buy Sancho & Lola’s Closet via Amazon), antlers (some vets don’t like but for power chewers it helps), play and run before leaving house, and some rescue friends diffuse lavender or calming scents when away. Piper’s a beauty! Good luck.