7 Ways a Dog Can Drive You Nuts

As a dog owner, I can tell you that there are days the little furry beasts will drive you up the wall. Since I have two of the lovely monsters, Paisley (three years) and Cody (six months), rarely a day goes by that at least one of them isn’t doing something that gets on my nerves. So, here’s a list of seven of my dogs’ favorite annoying activities.

photo of two mixed breed dogs
Cody (5 months) left, Paisley (3 years) right. They look so innocent, don’t they? Copyright © 2014 E.A. West. All Rights Reserved.

1. Eating a favorite toy.

Dog toys come and go, but we go through a lot of toys in my house. Between a heavy chewer who is only now (at three years old) showing signs of being less destructive and a heavy-chewing six-month-old puppy, I’ve had to throw out half a dozen toys in the last two weeks to keep them from eating the small bits they started chewing off.

2. Hacking up an eaten toy at 2 a.m.

I didn’t get one toy away from Cody soon enough and was awakened one night by this horrid gagging sound on the floor. As soon as I turned on the light, I found him standing in front of a wad of toy that he had eaten earlier in the day (without my knowledge). In addition to being grossed out, I was so relieved that he had coughed up the wad of toy bits. Things like that often lead to emergency surgery due to intestinal blockage. Needless to say, I’ve been even more vigilant than usual since that incident. If you have a dog who destroys toys like mine do, I highly recommend tossing out toys as soon as they start ripping pieces off. It’s worth spending a few dollars to buy a replacement toy than to risk a big vet bill to save the dog’s life.

3. Bringing you “presents.”

As any dog owner can tell you, there are times when your precious pooch will bring you something disgusting and think you’ll love it. Dead animal parts, something from a garbage can, unidentifiable grossness… I’ve received it all. The cutest was when my puppy learned how to hunt a couple of months ago. He deposited a dead meadow vole on my front porch and was so proud of himself. I felt super special that he gave it to me intact instead of in pieces, but still. Ick.

4. Putting on “perfume.”

This is one of the nastiest things Paisley likes to do. She’ll go outside to play, and then she drops to the ground and rolls for joy. When she finishes, she loves to run up to me with a huge doggy grin and an expression that says, “Check out my new perfume, Mom! Don’t I smell great?”

Uh, no, dear dog, you actually smell pretty disgusting. She has rolled in everything from rabbit poo to mud to something unidentifiable that left me saying to her, “Oh, that’s nasty! You’re getting a bath NOW.” While I can appreciate different tastes in scents, some odors should never go near the human nose.

5. Finding their own snacks.

Dogs are eating machines. Kibble, wet food, treats… These are all perfectly acceptable to the humans in the dogs’ lives. Dogs, on the other hand, enjoy going on foraging missions affectionately known as counter surfing. I’ve heard of dogs stealing everything from sandwiches and pies to raw ground beef and entire loaves of bread.

Then there are dogs like mine. In addition to the aforementioned toys, they enjoy the occasional salad (grass), fiber-rich food (cardboard and other paper products), and other lovely, inedible items. Cody in particular has unusual culinary tastes. Just today I have taken away such delicacies as a dryer sheet and several fuzzy pipe cleaners left over from a craft project.

6. Acting as an alarm clock.

I haven’t slept past seven in the morning since adopting Paisley as a five-week-old puppy. Lately, morning has arrived around six thirty or earlier. While most people may not see this as a terrible thing — after all, most of you get up then for work, school, etc. — you have to keep in mind I have always been a night owl. That means I could easily be up writing until one or two in the morning (or later). The dogs don’t care what time I go to sleep. Six thirty comes, and they’re on the bed with wagging tails, licking tongues, and lots of bouncing to be sure I’m awake. Weekends and holidays are meaningless to my canine friends. Routine is all that matters, and sleeping in is a thing of the past.

7. Creatively applying the term “chew toy.”

Sticks, tennis balls, chew ropes, and Nylabones are all great, but my pups know how to find other toys and do so with great regularity. They raid the recycling bin, wastebaskets, the occasional laundry basket, the human toy box, and more. Cardboard, plastic, fabric… It’s all fair game in the minds of my chewing fiends. The Cody and Paisley when she was a puppy have also discovered an amazing chew toy that’s available all over the house — floors.

I know what you’re thinking. Dogs don’t REALLY eat floors… right? I used to think the same way, until I adopted Paisley. Cody is an even more determined floor-chewer. Here’s a little taste of what my sweet, loving, teething boy can do to a floor.


photo of chewed floor tiles
Copyright © 2014 E.A. West

Now that you’ve had a little glimpse of life with my two mutts, please help me feel like I’m not alone. What do your canine companions do that drive you nuts?


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