Facebook reaction to Tug’s destructive tendencies has been along the lines of “Holy Crap!” (I know Jen; her comment made me laugh). Another friend asked if we had a crate. (We do, but we only use it at night.) In any case, this isn’t a post about best practices for training your dog. It’s just a post about pets and how we love them and sometimes aren’t sure if we’re raising them right.

We adopted our last dog, Clipper, before we had kids. Both my husband and I were lawyers working in Baltimore and we lived in a row house. Our next door neighbor became a very good friend. She was a waitress in Little Italy and she would come over during the day and let Clipper out and he would play in the backyard with her dog, Shadow. Clip chewed stuff too – the knob off of a dresser and some door trim in the kitchen. There were probably other things. I don’t remember because it was a while ago. Maybe it’s selective memory (many times, I still feel as if Clipper was the Best Dog Ever and Tug is the Young Whippersnapper trying to take his place), but Tug seems more… feisty. And, heck, maybe he is. Dogs have different personalities same as people, regardless of their common breed characteristics.

This time, with Tug, we still use a crate. He sleeps in there at night, but spends his days (when he’s not outside) in our kitchen. We bought baby gates for the doorways, which has been interesting. It’s been years since I’ve had to hurdle in my own house and I’ll admit I even fell over one the other day. (Yeah, it was awesome. Thankfully, I wasn’t holding a cup of coffee!!) I’ll also admit that, when I’m in some other part of the house or out of it, I occasionally leave Tug in the kitchen instead of putting him in his crate and THAT’S when he becomes GOZER THE DESTRUCTOR.

Oddly, most of the stuff he’s destroyed is easily fixed. I have spackle and paint and Home Depot has the wall trim (it’s not like the trim in our old house, which was 100 years old). The Lifeproof case did its job and I can read the digital version of April’s RT Book Reviews. The couch I’m a bit miffed about, but to be fair, my cats had already done a number on it (why, oh why, won’t cats use the scratching posts you buy for them??)

Amy asked if Tug’s a hunting dog. No, although if he had a proper trainer, I’m sure he’d be great. But he’s a family dog. And Craig doesn’t hunt birds. He was interested in some of the training techniques for hunting dogs – and anyone with a lab knows how they LOVE to feel like they’re a helpful member of the pack. So he bought a copy of WATER DOG and has been working with Tug, using some of the techniques suggested in there. Me? I mostly train Tug to fetch by taking him out back with a cup of coffee (in a mug with a lid!) and a ball. I throw. He fetches. 😀

Here’s one other Gozer the Destructor story, which I didn’t document because I was too furious, although it looked like a crime scene that should have been documented. At the time, I was pleasantly watching the election coverage (who am I kidding? I’m sure I was horrified at what I was hearing, but this isn’t a political post). I was sitting on the end of my couch with a glass of red wine (yeah, you know where this story is going, right?). I don’t know what set Tug off – the cat? Something someone said on TV? Ha. – but he went nuts. Jumped on me, fled behind my end table, got wrapped around the light cord, pulled it off the table, it came crashing down on my drink… Red wine splattered EVERYWHERE. On me, the table, floor, lampshade, him. Ugh. Believe it or not, I got it all cleaned up. (We have dark carpet and a good stain remover).

If nothing else, these pet challenges make good story fodder. I don’t want to be too much of a spoiler, but Pocket Full of Tinder opens with Nova getting in trouble for chewing up something in Noon’s dorm. Poor Nova! She’s a good girl too.

That’s it for today, folks. Lest you be worried that I’m suddenly going to be filling your in-boxes with daily posts, I’ll tell you that my next probable post will be a guest post next Thursday.

HAPPY SATURDAY, ALL!