It's Me or the Dog...

This morning I was awoken from my deep slumber by Matt huffing and puffing through our bedroom about Tassel having chewed up his precious, albeit inferior to maroon and orange, blue and orange UVA hat.  I knew he was frustrated, but then...

Matt emailed me from work this morning: one more strike and Tassel's gone.  The entire message wasn't that curt, but that was the main idea.  He doesn't want to have another destructive dog in the house.  And who could blame him?  I don't want that either.

After sobbing for several minutes, clutching my little 4 pound shih-tzu/maltese as he licked my salty tears, I realized there is no way in hell we can have another strike!  Tassel is my dog.  And he really is a sweet companion.  He curls up with me on the couch, is very playful, and is great with Ivory, our other dog.  He is not a little terror 24-7.  Now I will admit, he may be a little spoiled, but he certainly is not a mean-spirited dog.  The thought of surrendering him to another family made the tears flow faster.

So I decided it's time to take steps to keep Tass from striking out.  I had to identify his main issues and ways to fix them.

1.  Occasional Destructive Behavior- I feel like it happens when he is unsupervised and bored.  And really, he doesn't tear things up all that often...  One thing I have already done months ago is sprayed a bitter barrier on the legs of his favorite furniture.  This has helped Ivory stay away as well.  I think something we also need to do is "baby proof" the house in a sense.  Why was Matt's hat anywhere in Tassel's path of travel?  Maybe we should make sure our shoes are put up and toys are the main attraction for chewing.  The fact that he resorts to this behavior when he is bored tells me two things: he needs to be in a more restrictive space when I can't fully watch him (i.e. baby gated in the kitchen perhaps?)  Also, he needs more exercise.

2.  Barking- Whenever he sees a person walk past our house, whenever a doorbell rings on tv, whenever a car door shuts outside, whenever Ivory starts grumbling her low pre-bark, whenever he hears someone on the stoop... this small dog likes to bark and does not stop, even when we are firm with him.  Aside from my opinion that there has to be a better way, shock anti bark collars are too powerful for a dog of Tassel's size, having the ability to make their heart stop, which almost stops mine at the thought of it.  I have also read that these shocks can burn the dogs.  One option is a citronella collar... I just don't see it working.  Tassel is pretty relentless...  So I am thinking of investing in a ultrasonic bark sensor that releases a high pitch sound inaudible to humans whenever it senses the sound of a dog bark.  That type of noise, I believe will at least pause his barking.  When he stops barking, we can praise him.

3.  Some indoor peeing-  The dog is house-trained.  I swear on my life.  He lets me know most times when he has to pee.  He knows peeing inside is not okay.  I think the biggest mistake I have made here is also the lack of supervision and not taking them out often enough.  I am going to take them out hourly when we're here, rather than ever couple hours like we have been doing.  Tassel is small and his little bladder can't be that big.  I think having him being contained in a smaller area should help with the peeing.  Our carpets have been cleaned within the past month, so he should not have an abundance of fave spots to go.


I think we're going to be okay here.  Just the thought of having to give this little guy up is too much for me to think about.  Do you guys think these modifications will work?




  1. Omg. I almost cried, too. Also, had Jimmy said that to me I probably would have told him if its you or the dog, then you can pack your bags. haha

    Anyhoo, we have similar issues with Bailey. He barks like crazy at anything that goes by our house and pees inside even though he's (mostly) housebroken. Thankfully we don't have any destructive problems with him (you know how messy my house is...that'd be a HUGE prob!)

    I think your plan of action sounds perfect. While Tass shouldn't be chewing on things, things also shouldn't be left around for him to get to.

    Keeping him confined is also a great idea. I've been keeping Bailey confined to wherever I am and its really helped with his bad potty behavior. I know our house is set up different than yours, but you saw the baby gate I have up betweent he living room and the hall...its really helped.

    As for the barking, I feel like thats a toughy. I know what you mean about the shock collars. My mom had used one of those high pitched things with Rascal (our dog that died a few years ago)and it never worked. Hopefully you'll have better luck. With Bailey, I usually just grab him, hold him really right to me, and hold his mouth shut while saying firmly, "no barking." Usually that stops him.

    I wish you guys had a fence! That would really help with his exercise. If Tassle is anythign like Bailey, he's not a good walker. Maybe you can let him run loose on the deck for awhile?

  2. i hope this high sound wave thingy works.. i just bought one from petco and some kongs, too.. hopefully that will give both dogs something to chew on that's not our belongings..

    i have cried a lot today, but now i just have to get him trained better :-/