EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

September 4, 2009

Why does my dog chew my clothes?

Dear Dog Lady,

We currently adopted a one-and-one-half-year-old male cock-a-poodle.¬ We have one problem with him. We usually throw our dirty clothes on the floor in a bathroom closet.¬ My dog, in the middle of the night, when everyone is asleep in the household, seems to go pick out a piece of clothing (mostly female/male underwear) and chew holes in them.¬  Needless to say, we are running low on underwear. Why does the dog do this?¬ We have hit him with the piece of clothes he chews, (not hard), but he seems to go right back to the same habit.¬ Now, he even chews holes in any kind of clothing he finds on the floor.¬ Could you give us some advice on how to stop the dog from chewing clothes?¬ I know you will recommend not to keep any clothes on the floor.¬ But sometimes, in a hurry, we forget to do that.

Barbara

Dear Barbara,

Chewing clothing is a love thing, a loneliness thing, an anxiety thing, a wanting-to-be-close-to-you thing. Dog Lady wrote recently about the dog that chews underwear and she dips into this topic again to answer your letter because there are a couple of lessons here: Do not hit your dog — ever. With anything. This cowardly punishment is shameful and hurtful. Do not swat your dog again.

Also, we who are more evolved must do everything we can to help our dogs become more successful at living with us. This means we must bend and scoop up dirty clothes so the dog doesn't chew them. You say you are in a hurry and forget to pick up. No excuses, please.

Dear Dog Lady,

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