Help! The dog ate my house

Here is the link to my first Meridian Star pet column! The column will be a weekly feature in the Meridian Star! I am honored & excited to be able to write about something I care about so much!

Help! The dog ate my house

February 1, 2011
Help! The dog ate my house
By Ashley Owen Hill /guest columnist

Tue Feb 01, 2011, 06:00 AM CST

MERIDIAN — Pets bring joy to our lives. Their entire existence is wrapped up in making us happy. Dogs, cats, and the like were born to love us. But often times, our pets engage in behaviors that don’t make us so happy. It’s not their fault; they don’t understand that they are driving us crazy.

When you come home from a long day’s work to find that your favorite sweater has somehow been chewed into a halter-top, it can be a little frustrating. There have been times when I look at a chewed object for a good thirty minutes, trying to figure out what in the world this item was before the dog got to it. Was it a bowl? A dress? A shoe? Maybe an end table? And then there’s the digging, the barking, the indoor potty breaks. The list goes on and on.

I can’t tell you how many calls and emails I receive about the topic of pet behavior problems:
“My dog ate a battery.”
“I’m on couch Number 3 due to my puppy’s bladder.”
“The dog pulled the curtains off the wall and proceeded to open the window.”

These events are quite humorous when they happen to a friend. But when it’s your home, it can begin to affect the quality of life for both you and your pet. Let’s face it: dogs don’t realize that they are tearing up your stuff. It’s not their goal to ruin your life. They chew and dig because they are bored or anxious. They are looking for something fun to do, and your doorframe begins to look mighty tasty.

While I’m always up for a good laugh over a chewed shoe, it’s important for pet owners to learn about proper training to ensure they have healthy, happy pets. Here are some tips that will help with these issues.

One great option is crate training. While you are away, put your dog in a crate that is large enough for them to comfortably stand and turn around. The crate doesn’t need to be so large that the dog can use one side as a restroom and the other as a master suite.

Some people may think this training method sounds cruel. Actually, dogs tend to love their crates. It is a safe space they can call their own. However, in order for the dog to accept this idea, the crate must be presented in the right way.

In introducing your dog to the crate, make it a positive experience. Don’t just lock them in and walk away. This makes the crate a “bad place.” Put a comfy bed, chew toys, and some treats in the crate. Let the dog slowly adjust by leaving the door open until they feel comfortable. Give them praise for this.

I can promise you that praise for good behavior will work wonders for your pet. Dogs live to please you. Take some time to properly train your pet to behave as you expect, and the number of “what-in-the-world-is-that?!” ruined items will decrease dramatically. Ashley Owen Hill is the owner of Lucky Dog Retreat, 8659 Hillview Dr, Meridian. E-mail her at Ashley@luckydogretreatmeridian.com. Follow her blog at www.luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com.


  1. I'm so proud of you. Cute as a Button....

  2. Wonderful column!!! Love the soft humor mixed with the advice! A brilliant writer!! And coming from someone who has raised two puppies - crating is a great tool for learning. Took a year to get them trained and then the crate is gone. Before people adopt a pet, they should really ask themselves if they are ready. You don't have a baby without preparing — so don't get a pet without preparing!!!

  3. Chris, Cheap. Cheap very much.

    Joy, Thank you sooo much! That means the world coming from you! I love to write... I'm just glad that people actually want to read what I have to say! This is honestly a dream of mine to be able to write for a publication.
    And YES, people need to be ready for a pet & prepared for the training phase. A pet is a new family member, & that responsibility shouldn't be taken lightly! Hopefully I'll be able to educate some people about pet care, so they can have healthy, happy pets!
    Love you both!

  4. you are an amazing writer! AND person! Loved the column! So happy for you!

  5. Jen, thank you, sweet girl! So glad you liked it! It's so great to be able to write & actually have people care enough to read it! :)


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