Dear Dog Lady,
This is the third time I am writing you. Won’t you please give me an answer? My dog, Milkyway, is a terrier/beagle mix. He sniffs out everything and not only chews but swallows things — paper, tree sticks, grandkids’ small toys, anything he can. I watch him constantly. He is a year old. Is he bored? He has chew toys and bones but still does this. Help!
A: Dog Lady gets hundreds of letters and cannot possibly respond to every one — especially when the answer is well within obvious grasp of the questioner. Basically, there’s no magic answer except you owe more to your dog. You’ve got to keep Milkyway better contained in a crate, a room, or behind a gate. You can’t let him roam and eat whatever he wants because he might ingest something that will rip apart his insides.
Yes, he’s bored and yes, he needs better from you. Walk him more. Keep him on a leash in the house and don’t let him wander away. If you can’t watch him every minute, put him in a safe place where he can hang out. Training a young dog not to chew is like asking the sun not to shine. Training a dog to chew appropriately is all up to you. Go to the pet store and buy some conically-shaped rubber dog toys. Stuff these with peanut butter and give to Milkway. The chomp toys will keep him occupied.
Your pet is a dependent creature. He is smart, but Milkyway needs you to help him learn right from wrong. He is going to stuff things in his mouth as long as you allow him to do that. You must help your beagle mix become successful at living with you.