Puppy-hood is a difficult time for furniture, drywall, shoes, and other things in your home, not to mention the new owners. My first dog, Duncan, was an angel and never chewed anything other than bully sticks. Then came Izzy. Nothing was safe, other than my hands, because she teethed on Dunkie's long-haired coat, literally hanging from him as he tried to escape her when they weren't playing. Every pair of prescription eye glasses of mine that she could find were destroyed, along with reams of toilet paper, wicker baskets, bedding, computer cords, you name it. We couldn't scold her after the fact because she would not have associated our yelling with what she had done. So we did what parents of children usually do ... we puppy-proofed our home. She is almost 2 years old now, and while most things have lost interest for her, she still sneaks into our bathrooms to see if toilet paper is hanging from the roll. And yes, she still unravels the entire roll if we are forgetful about it or think she has matured beyond that behavior.
How did we cope? In two words: Bully Sticks. Without going into a lot of detail, bully sticks are the dried tendons of either bull penises or steer (de-sexed bulls) penises. You can get them in various sizes, shapes, and widths. Dogs adore them, at least my dogs do.
- The photo above captures Izzy in the act ... a moment of chewing on a wood dining room table chair. Dining room chairs were only one of many items destroyed during the first year of her life. I usually didn't catch her in time to scold. Now when we have people over for dinner, I hold my breath and watch for the chairs they sit in, lest the chair collapse. Some of the chair rails are 50% chewed through.
Here is Izzy, smiling amidst her damage. She still has that "who me?" wonderful look on her face when she had shredded a roll of toilet paper. Such as sassy little girl. She continues to be capable of doing damage in bathrooms.
Since the very first day that Izzy came home as a 11 week old puppy, she has both loved and terrorized Dunk, who has been a good soul and gives back what he gets .... with restraint. Whatever Dunkie has, Izzy wants. And what Izzy wants, Izzy gets .... one way or another. And that applies to his bully stick. Poor Dunk. He never wins. If you look closely at the photo, you will see Izzy's bully stick lying on the floor behind Duncan. Such chutzpah.
But Duncan gets his revenge. While Izzy gets the bully stick, Duncan steals her bed.
For those of you who might be interested in seeing if your dogs are as passionate about bully sticks as mine are, here's a link for a good online store that has a wide variety of types and shapes, www.bestbullysticks.com. If you are more interested in 'locally grown,' you should consider Jones National Chews, located in Rockford, IL. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase directly from them; I purchase this particular brand at www.SitStay.com online.
A quick note about my dogs' experience with bully sticks. I look for grass fed bulls or steers either in the United States or Canada on the label of the packages. The smellier the bully sticks are, the more my dogs love them. They whine at the bully stick drawer in our kitchen, begging. When I give one to each of them, they are happy dogs. And that makes me a happy owner.