Sunday, March 06, 2011

"Oh, did you need this old thing?"

I should have put Levi in his crate before I took a shower yesterday, but he was sleeping soundly and I knew the shower was going to be a quick one, so I didn't. That was my first mistake.

Midway through my shower, I saw his big head poke through the shower curtain and his mouth clamp down on the hot water faucet. "Okay, now he's going to scald me," I thought right before telling him to go away. Telling him to go away was my second mistake.

I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair, wrapped a towel around it, dried off as quickly as possible, and walked into my bedroom to get dressed. This is what I saw there:

What looked like an explosion in a cotton candy factory had been Butch's bed only minutes earlier. I didn't have time to deal with it right then because I was on my way to take Kadi to the vet, so I got dressed, put Levi in his crate, and left the house. I was pretty upset; this was Butch's favorite bed. When I got back home, I discovered that Butch didn't seem to mind the damage as much as I did.

It was late afternoon before I could face cleaning up that mess. With Levi hovering nearby and watching every move I made, I fussed at him the entire time I filled two kitchen-sized trash bags. I grabbed another bag of trash from the kitchen and hauled all three of them outside to the garbage can. When I got back in the house, Levi was missing. I found him back in my bedroom with this:

That was all just yesterday. Earlier in the week, wielding a shovel for the first time in, oh, probably twenty years, I filled five large holes Levi had dug in the yard. That little hole he dug the first week he was here? That was nothing. He's a much better digger now:

In fact, he's such a good digger that it took him only about fifteen minutes to redig two of the five holes a few hours after I'd filled them.

Here's some of his other handiwork:

Another one of the four dog beds he has destroyed so far.

A chenille throw that had been folded and draped
on top of a decorative trunk in the corner of my living room.

The first of three books he's chewed. There would have been many others
in this condition if I hadn't caught him while he was running
 with them. He actually pulls them off the bookshelves.

The biggest item he has damaged so far is the futon mattress. Its black, faux leather cover was an early casualty, an easy target because it already had minor damage from the other dogs' toenails.  Levi ripped it to shreds. He also bit through it--and through the original green microfiber cover and the mattress underneath. He pulled stuffing out of the corner of the mattress. I threw the black cover away, sewed up the green cover, and thought it would be okay. An hour later he had torn part of the zipper out of the green cover. I repaired it again, and this time I covered the whole mattress with an ugly, heavy-duty, clear plastic tarp. So far that's still intact. 

I've already told you about the many, many stuffed toys Levi has disemboweled. The only other items that come immediately to mind are the umpteen pens and markers he has snagged off tabletops and countertops. That boy loves the taste of ink.

Now, I realize that this is typical puppy behavior, and I also realize that the fault is mainly mine for not watching him as closely as I should have been. I have consistently failed to comprehend that he has long ago scoped out the house, noted the location of all the items of interest, and needs only a minute away from me to set his plans in motion.

Levi is good about minding when I tell him "no," but the "no" doesn't stick for too long. He's scheduled for obedience training next week. He's already good at "sit," "shake," and "down." I'm hoping the training will focus on teaching him what not to do as well as on teaching commands to do something. 

When Levi isn't in barbarian mode, he's sweet, lovable, smart and very, very funny. That's why I haven't killed him. I forgave him for all of yesterday's transgressions when he climbed up on the sofa last night, pushed as close to me as he possibly could, licked my chin, then lay down beside me with his head in my lap. He's just a baby, after all. A great, big baby.  With a whole lot of teeth. 

But he will grow out of this.


  1. Oh, shades of Mabel Lou's puppyhood! I spent the first two years wanting to kill her half the time and being mesmerized with her cute sweet self the other half. I still don't think I could ever raise another puppy!

    Love that pic of Butch!

    I'm wondering: how does Kadi react to all of this?

  2. Holly, I didn't think I could raise another puppy either, because I KNEW how destructive puppies are. But here I am, giving it my best shot anyway.

  3. Oh dear, Levi!! He so reminds me of one of my dogs when they were young, even down to looks. I've wondered for awhile how the two of you have gotten along...

    I can raise a puppy vicariously through you! Hahaha

    It'll only be another year or so before you can have a shower in peace!

  4. Oh Linda, I laughed right out loud when you explained why you haven't killed him !! He really is a beautiful dog. I have a feeling he will be worth all of this as time goes by.

  5. I wouldn't want to be in your shoes and have to pick all of that up, but just reading about it from my comfortable chair was sure good for a laugh! Hang in there!

  6. Nightmare! A friend's dog did that destroy the dog bed thing. She'd some home to tiny bits of foam all over her living room floor. Your bedroom picture is the same scene.

    Cheyenne cheyed a couple pair of shoes but she liked to hit me where it hurt: removing books from the bookshelf (like Levi) and usually my favorites or the older, more valuable ones. Also? She would knock framed photos off my dresser or end tables, then chew the support stand off the back. Drove me NUTS!

    Good luck with the training. It worked wonders wtih Cheyenne!

  7. Marion, he's a lot of work (and he's a piece of work), but I'm glad to have him in spite of it.

    Harriet, he is beautiful, isn't he? The vet calls him her "muppet boy."

    Joy, it's OK to tell the truth: you wouldn't want to be in my shoes because one of my shoes is torn all to pieces. LOL!
    My daughter saw the shoe picture today and reminded me of the time her toy poodle ate a cleat off one of her son's football shoes and had to have major surgery.

    Alison, I don't even turn the corners down on the pages of my books, so you can imagine how I feel when I see covers chewed and pages ripped out. On the other hand, I'm kind of impressed that Levi and Cheyenne know a good book when they see one.

  8. I had to laugh while reading this, the image of you leaving him sleeping for a few minutes and his instantly taking the opportunity to "redecorate" was too funny. Like he was faking sleeping so you'd leave him alone so he could have some fun. It's amazing, isn't it? The doggie equivalent of taking your eyes off a toddler for two seconds.

    Many times I've thought that even Cesar Milian would be stumped by Spot's puppy behavior. Good luck with obedience school! I'm sure you can get advice there.

  9. he will grow out of it? you hope or perhaps you will not have any thing left for him to destroy.

  10. Patsy, "He will grow out of it" is positive thinking, based on the fact that my other two dogs did. In the meantime, though, I do feel like one of those women on "Hoarders" when the cleaning crew comes in and starts throwing out all her good stuff.

  11. Oops, I missed Janet. I've tried using some of Cesar Milan's techniques with Levi, for instance, standing with my arms out and my back to the couch, moving back and forth to "reclaim the couch." It worked for about two minutes.


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