Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our House is Toyless

Today I went shopping for toys for Secret Santa dogs. I went to several different stores and each place asked about a specific toy I was buying thinking I would be bringing it home to my dogs.

The truth of it is, we don't really have toys at our house.

Mostly we don't have toys because Seth is a jerk and doesn't like to share. Before Seppel came along, he would share with LiLo. I had a wubba skin and an old rope toy that would be in the yard for the dogs and Seth would grab one of the toys and offer it to LiLo - sometimes hitting her with it to get her to play. LiLo is really the only dog in Seth's adult life that he has been able to share toys with. A long, long time ago he could share with my friend's dog Reno - but those days are gone.

When Seppel arrived I allowed them to try tugging with a toy once. Both of them were way too stiff for me to let it continue. In Seppel's previous home he had another dog that he could play tug with. I've seen videos, I know it happened. But I also know eventually he had to be rotated with the other dog because the other dog would attack him.

For me, having toys out is not worth the risk. Not only do I not want the dogs to get into it, but I don't want the cat to get targeted if he walks by too closely when Sepp has a toy. I don't know how big his bubble is when he has things, but I've never left things out to find out.

That's like feeding time. I feed Seppel in the garage and Seth and LiLo inside. Typically Sepp gets fed first because I fill his dish, set it down, fill the other two and take them inside. I did make a mistake one time where I wasn't thinking and put his dish down with LiLo and Seth still out there - and he let LiLo have his food! Just the same, I choose not to feed them together.

In some ways I feel bad. I house-sit for several people who have toy boxes for their dogs and their dogs can take toys out as they please. Seth LOVES going to those places and taking out every single toy [I watch him to be sure he doesn't get nasty with the dogs we watch]. However, the dogs do all get some toy time and some bone time now and then. If it's marrow bones I will leave Sepp in the garage and Seth and LiLo in the fenced off side yard. If it's toys, I will usually take them out individually to play with them. Seppel is the most toy driven of them all, he has a few rope tugs and a jolly ball. Seth has a couple rope toys too. Overall I don't think they are lacking because they don't have free access to toys all the time. It's just one less thing I have to worry about.

So, we're kind of a toyless house. I wish I could just not worry about it. Seeing clips of Cesar Milan throwing balls for 20+ dogs on his property makes me cringe. I don't know how he can not worry about a fight breaking out especially with so many powerful dogs in one area. There's no way he hasn't had to deal with dogs getting into it. I've even seen a clip or two of dogs on the property having a problem. I don't care how 'in control' you are - throwing a ball for a bunch of dogs really just doesn't seem like a good idea. Even with just two of mine, all I can ever picture is Seppel grabbing Seth or them both letting the toy go and trying to kill each other.

The fearful side completely outweighs the side that makes me want to try and see what happens.


  1. I am on the fence with this issue too. Bindi has HUNDREDS of toys. What can I say? I really, really waited a looong time to get a dog, and when I finally did every dog aisle at every single store was calling me. Over time I managed to completely fill one of those ginormous Rubbermaids, the ones that you could fit a body in laying straight out. LOL.

    So, we have a lot of toys. Yoshi and Bindi are doing good with them so far but I wonder if/when the day you speak of will come and they need to go away. I keep really high value things with me (right now that's the raccoon skin, any non-bully stick chews, and this bear that randomly talks) and only give them with supervision.

    Have you tried the giant red egg looking toy? I've seen them in a couple of stores now. We used it with great success at doggie day care. The dogs loved to play with it but no one could "claim" it because it is too oddly-shaped to let them get it in their mouths. That might work really well for you guys.

    As long as you keep them tired and happy, which you do, there's no need to have a bunch of toys. After Bindi got older she ignored most of them except the favorites, but of course right now we are enjoying a revival of interest in everything.

  2. The day of the taking of the toys, may never come. Before Seppel came here Seth and LiLo shared no problem. Maybe since Yoshi is growing up with Bindi they will always have a good relationship and it won't be an issue. Alternately it could become a problem, but I think you have a lot of time before that happens.

    I have not tried the giant egg, but I have seen them! Mostly, I worry with a toy like that, that even if they couldn't grab it Seth and Sepp would still want to guard it and not let the other near it. It's just not a good idea at this point.

  3. I hope the day doesn't come but I always have a teeny fear in the back of my mind that no matter how hard I try to have them get along, it's not going to be enough. Only time and trust will help that. I've been told not to walk them together when he grows up - or walk one muzzled. I'm thinking of doing the muzzle thing but also, it just gives such a bad image. Maybe will have to make a t-shirt along with it that says "I'm very friendly, I just might bite another dog" but I doubt it'd matter much to be honest. He's a pit bull wearing a muzzle, and it wouldn't be able to be an "easy" I don't know what I'll do. One day at a time. It's nigh impossible to walk them together anyway - Bindi yanks constantly and Yoshi didn't want to go on a walk so he was lagging behind. Then on the way back Bindi didn't want to go home, so she lags behind and Yoshi was pulling because he couldn't wait to get back to the house. LOL. Took about ten minutes to walk six house lengths and back.

    Resource guarding is scary and hard to deal with. It's difficult to gauge how much is appropriate and try to work out their complicated games sometimes. Also it can SOUND so bad, and not be bad at all...and sometimes their body language just isn't as clear to me as it seems to be to others. I have a hard time reading it especially on Yoshi because I just don't know him well enough yet, plus he's a pup so it's probably not always accurate.