Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bone Wars

At nine years old, Tess has rediscovered chewing.

When I first adopted Tess, she was a year old and chewed her way through a pile of bones and hundreds of dollars.  Every few days I had to buy her another bone to keep up with her crazy energy for chewing.  Rawhide lasted maybe an hour with her so I started buying her actual leg bones of cows with meat still on them to keep her occupied.  She would go through one of those in a couple of days, whittling them down to tiny nubs or swallowing them completely.  She also tore through countless stuffed and squeaky toys, and destroyed several plastic water bowls.

I switched to metal bowls, but it still wasn't enough.  She started playing with her water bowl outside, and I would come home in ninety degree weather to a dog dying of thirst and throwing her water bowl up in the air with glee.

I got it pretty quickly and bought her two large tubs to splash around in and a large rubber bucket for her water.  She loves to splash knee-deep into the water when she drinks, so the tubs were a good idea. She still threw her rubber water bucket in the air sometimes, dousing herself with water, but at least she had the tubs to keep her thirst at bay.

I remember going to Shipton's that day I was finally tired of my dog flinging water everywhere to purchase a large rubber horse bucket, the kind you put grain in, and a huge shinbone, one I could barely carry.  I placed them on the counter and the checkout girl said with wide eyes, "What kind of dog do you have, a mastiff?"

"No, she's a just a little sixty pound German shepherd."

Within a week Tess had that bone whittled down to the size of something she could easily carry around in her mouth.  I kept her in bones that size for several years.

When she was four she sort of lost interest in chewing, and at least she never took to chewing my shoes. She ate the heel off one of my Victoria's Secret shoes once, and after I scolded her and told her no, she never did it again, going so far as to sit on my shoes after another dog attempted to chew on one of them.

Only recently she has begun to chew again, and I don't know if it's because she's getting older and less energetic, or if Surina plays an influence because that dog loves to chew.  California Guy and I have found ourselves in the midst of a bone war.  There are always enough bones to go around.  At his house they each get a bone, and at my house there are several bones that Tess has chewed to convenient size.  Yet each dog always wants the bone the other dog is chewing, and sometimes they both just want BOTH bones.  If Tess is chewing on one bone and happens to leave it, Surina will take the bone and start chewing on it.  If Surina is chewing on a bone, Tess will wait until she drops it and then take it and put it back in the bedroom.  Sometimes she'll chew on it for five minutes, but then she'll leave it and come find us again.

Sometimes it seems like Tess only wants to chew when Surina is chewing.  Then she'll get bored pretty quickly and wander off, and then Surina will go pick up the bone she left behind.

There is no difference between these bones.  At least not to me.  Maybe they smell differently, though I'm sure they both smell like Tess since she's the one who has chewed them to convenient size.

The other night Surina and Tess were both lying around the kitchen table when Surina got up and went upstairs to the bedroom.  She got a bone and brought it back downstairs to start chewing on it.  Suddenly there was growling and teeth, and Tess grabbed the bone and took it back upstairs.  She left it in the bedroom without chewing it and came back downstairs.

Apparently Tess wants all her toys to stay in the bedroom.  She has taken her stuffies upstairs and left them there too, as if she is OCD about where her toys can be left.  She does the same thing with her squeaky toy.  Surina brought it downstairs to play with it once and Tess snatched it from her and took it back upstairs.  I don't know if this is a result of me disciplining her for dropping her bones down the stairs and allowing them to clatter across the kitchen floor, something that causes an immense amount of noise and freaks me out every time she does it.  Finally she just figured out she needed to keep the bones upstairs on the carpeting, and she must assume this goes for the stuffies as well.  She does this with her doggie pops too.  I give her a cookie and she takes it upstairs to eat it. Surina just wolfs hers down right by the doggie pop cabinet, but Tess has to take hers to the bedroom.  I'm not sure when that started, but now everything must go upstairs.

This is a double edged sword for me.  One the one hand I hate the noise of bones clattering across tile floors and down hardwood steps.  On the other hand at least once a day I trip over one of those bones in my bedroom, hurting my foot, because those things are hard and sharp, and I'm usually stepping on doggie pop crumbs too, if I haven't vacuumed.

I thought at first that Tess didn't mind sharing toys as long as they stay in the bedroom, until the morning she and Surina got into it over the only bone outside.  Surina started barking, Tess growled. Hackles stood up everywhere.  I'm not sure who won that little spat, but by then California Guy and I decided to just let them work it out for themselves, mostly because there was a foot of snow on the ground and it was cold and we didn't want to go outside.  There was no bloodshed after all.

We'll just fix the problem by buying two more bones, because we can't seem to get it through our heads that no matter how many bones there are, each dog will always want all of the bones.

And Tess will want all the bones in the bedroom so I can trip over them and stub my toe.

Tess and Surina waiting for their bones

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