12/06/2012 06:17 pm ET Updated Feb 05, 2013

The 10-Minute Demolition

10 minutes! That's all it takes for anything to last in my home once pup's been at it.

Before we got our Portuguese Water Dog, hubby and I did lots and lots of research. We knew that PWD puppies were notorious chewers, and, because they are classified as "working dogs," we knew that unless they had lots of stimuli, they got bored really easily. Unfortunately, in a PWD's case, boredom = destruction.

So, because we knew all this, hubby and I went out and bought him every toy we could think of. We bought him squeaky toys, balls, unstuffed animals, stuffed animals, kongs, and strong braided rope-like toys. Well, let me tell you, it doesn't matter what pup has in his mouth, he will destroy it in 10 minutes or less. We have had pup for exactly six months now, and absolutely nothing lasts. Every toy he gets is absolutely ruined before the 10 minutes is up. How could he be so fast? Each toy we get him is "designed for the serious chewer." However, nothing, but nothing, lasts.

It would be great if the story ended there, but alas, it does not. As I mentioned, PWDs are working dogs so they constantly need something in their mouths. Now, since the toys didn't last very long, my pup started dragging the cushions off the sofa. So, I've started putting all the cushions in a closet. I have to remember to take them out when people come over. So, no cushions equals no chewing... right? Wrong. Now pup sees the sofa as his empty canvas. We've had to take three of the seats to be reupholstered this week. The guy at the shop told us there was not much he could do, so he's just kind turning them around and flipping them over. Sob!!!

Does the story end there? Of course not. Since pup has chewed up all his toys, cushions and seats, I've taken to giving him used bits of clothing. An old running shoe that doesn't fit my son anymore, an old T-shirt that's got a couple of holes in it... the list goes on. Each time, pup gets a hold of the new article and it is DEMOLISHED in less than 10 minutes! My 14-year-old son, who has more sense than I do, pleads with me to stop giving pup clothing. He keeps telling me that we are helping him develop a whole new set of bad habits. Deep down I know he's right, but I just can't help it... pup's gotta chew and I have to be able to leave him out of my sight for a few minutes to get ready in the mornings.

When it was warmer outside, I use to tie him up in the backyard while I got ready. Well, after he chewed through his fourth leash, I started using a bike chain. No, not the metal ones, the ones that are coated in plastic and are pliable. He couldn't chew through them and I felt confident he wouldn't escape the yard. Well, now in December, it's started getting colder. Although we still don't have snow on the ground, I feel uncomfortable leaving him outside. So, being the conscientious (doormat) owner I am, I started putting him in the vestibule (a little foyer, if you will, between the front door and the inner door to the house). I figured he'd like it there, two large windows to look out of, and lots of space. Well, in the two times that I put him in the vestibule, I started noticing that my baseboards were shrinking! Yep, that's right. Not only has he eaten his toys, clothes, cushions and sofa... now our wonderful 8-month-old dog has started eating the HOUSE!!! By the way, yes, I feed him enough food, yes it's very good food, yes he gets plenty of exercise!!! He just loves to chew and chew.

So... last week, hubby and I went out and bought "bitter apple" spray. This is "supposed" to deter dogs from chewing on furniture and baseboards, etc... The smell makes me gag and I certainly never finish my breakfast or coffee after hubby has sprayed the furniture. My son gets up from a deep, deep sleep and closes his bedroom door to block out the putrid smell. Pup, on the other hand, walks over to the remaining frame of the sofa, his tongue out as he licks up every last drop of that wonderful spray...

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