It’s hard to believe, how such a tiny puppy with the sweetest looking face could do what I am about to detail for you below, but it happened. My dog behavior problems, what I thought was just run-of-the-mill anxiety from when he was away from me, had now escalated. Escalated to the point where my dog did thousands of dollars worth of damage to the rental house where we currently reside. All I have to say is, wtf Murray, wtf.
The beginning of my Dog Behavior Problems…
Murray has never really been a chewer. That is, a chewer of anything really valuable or expensive. He prefers paper products, cardboard, and leaves to clothing, furniture and shoes. In February of 2012 when I purchased Murray, my good friend Mo had just acquired a black lab who was making her way through his expensive wardrobe and kitchen table. I felt lucky. Then I left Murray at home for the first time and when I returned he had torn his pee pad to shreds.
“Separation anxiety is common in toy dogs, nothing to worry about.” My veterinarian assured me.
Flash forward to this fall and I begin to leave Murray outside in the yard all day while I am at work. I figure he’d prefer to run free and pee/poop where he wants instead of being crated for 10+ hours. No, he sits right by the door until I come home. When we first started, I noticed he began chewing his way through the door frame in his efforts to get inside. I read up online about this behavior, started leaving his crate outside for him to cuddle up in, spraying him with water anytime I caught him scratching or chewing at the door.
Things were better.
Until I went to Tuscaloosa last weekend and left him with my new boyfriend for the weekend. I didn’t want to let him stay with one of my other friends for fear of what he’d do to their house, so boyfriend agreed to stay at my apartment and watch the dog while I was gone. The dog was fine when they were together, but then he went to Target for…. an hour. And then came home to this mess:
Yup, both sides of the door frame chewed off, and Murray’s attempts at chewing on the sub-floor. Total estimate of the damage? Around 2k.
WTF, Murray! WTF!
And this is when I learned about unconditional love…
Boyfriend and I are currently looking into option on how to fix the sub-flooring, the costliest part of the damage. I had already assumed I would have to put in a new door/door frame upon leaving as Murray had already scratched through the paint on the door long before he started working on the frame. I’m getting a large tax refund, but I have other things I’d love to do with that money other than pay for my dog’s costly anxiety problems. I’m anxious, I take Zoloft. I don’t break things whenever I’m alone.
At first I was really, really upset, and mad at the dog. 2k is a lot of money! The thought of the money wasn’t as bad as the nagging thoughts settled in; would I have to give Murray away? Is he not suited for my busy career-driven life or life in a rental? Does he need a true writer, someone who stays at home all day every day?
I was talking with a friend (and fellow dog-lover) the other day about how when we say “till death to us part” to our future husbands, it shouldn’t be so scary because we’ve already said it to our pets. Granted, it is two VERY different relationships, I am not even trying to equate my love of my dog to the love of my significant other. Just hearing the word fur-baby makes me vom. Still, the level of commitment is the same. Murray and I will be together until he kicks it, or until I do, and no amount of money, damage or circumstance can change that.
So this is what we ended up doing to keep Murray off the porch.
I’d like to hear from you guys. What are your worst dog behavior problems? Whats the most expensive damage your dog/kid has ever done?