Saturday, August 7, 2010

Life Lessons from Sophie

Sophie is a thief. I have known this for some time, but it is getting worse and worse all the time. She counter surfs with the greatest of abandon and ease but times if to coincide with me being out of the room so she can pop up and see what is there. I can't catch her in the act which makes it nearly impossible to train out of her.

She used to randomly steal food off the counter. Lately it's been utensils to lick clean, presumably. She doesn't want to chew them, just lick them. She will even steal cutlery out of the sink to lick, even when there's dirty dish water there.  Exhibit A... spatula on the living room floor (look at how clean that carpet is!! I just bought a steam cleaner and it can cover for a multitude of doggy "sins" on the floor!)

Yup, freshly licked clean after I cooked bacon.  Tell me, is this the face of a guilty dog?? YOU BET!

I've always hated that Sophie does this, but I have decided it's a lab trait and I must live with it. After all, my vet has told me stories that make my toes curl and worry that much more. And, did you know that about 85% of all emergency trips to the vet for foreign body injesting accidents are labs? I am convinced the other 15% are terriers because I wouldn't put it past Murphy to do something similar. She tried to jump on the counter the other day and that got squashed fast!

However, Sophie crossed a line last night into dangerous territory. I was making homemade pizza and had left dough on the counter, ready to go in the deep freeze. I don't know what I was thinking but I left the room to get something out of my office, a few steps away. In the time I was gone, Sophie got the dough off the counter and had eaten 1/4 of it. I, of course panicked, and ran to the computer to google what to do. All I could find was information telling me how bad this is, as the rising dough will continue to rise in the tummy, potentially causing it to twist and bloat, thereby needing immediate intervention, possibly surgery to get it out or it could kill her. So, I called my vet who gave me the following information:

3 TBSP 3% hydrogen peroxide given straight down the throat. If she doesn't throw up in 15 minutes, do it again. If it doesn't work, rush her into the vet clinic.

Lifesaving information people!! You have to shove it down there; Sophie was not happy but down it went, and 5 minutes later all that dough came out.  She was very stinky last night (but that could have been the nearly full bag of Mighty Wolf Dog Treats she had stolen previously in the day and eaten) and seemed a little tired but fine. Today, she is back to normal... see, she's looking  a little cranky that Murphy has decided to steal her shot...

And again, still avoiding looking at me (and looking a little rumpled. That is NOT the sign she is not feeling well, that was panic that Murphy was coming too close, LOL) This is typical early morning stuff for Sophie!

Anyway, I've decided enough is enough. I am taking back my kitchen and I am going to work on catching her in the act. Or, maybe I'll get one of those "scat cat mats"; I think that's what they are called. The principle is simple, they shock the animal a bit who jumps up on the counter and maybe that would help? Of course, training her to stay out of the kitchen would be ideal but impossible in this house; to go out to the backyard, she has to go through the kitchen. Anyway, any ideas to help live with a crazy, food stealing labby are welcome... we seriously need an intervention here!


Mango said...

Stupid PeeWee used to do that all the time too. Of course that was not nearly as alarming as his rock eating phase.

Momma still pushes nommies back from the edge of the counter, but she also employed some of that bad dog caught in the act stuff too. This worked well enough that at least she can leave something there briefly when she leaves the room.

Of course I, Mango, have been known to steal a thing or two myself. And my Beautiful Raja calmly ate half a cheesecake one time. Hey! our heads are above the counter, what do you expect?

Momma says those scat things work pretty well too.


P.S. Check out my bloggy. PeeWee is having a black labradog contest.

Joan said...

My puppy stole a plastic shaver off the side of my bathtub one time - with the razor blade end in her mouth! She was running around all happy, playing a fun game of chase with me, while I was worried she'd cut her lip to pieces.

Needless to say, I'm much more careful of what I leave down where she can grab it now.

dewdana said...

Moose has stolen lots of stuff too. I considered the mats and the spray cans but worried it could cause other behavioral issues (based on fear and anxiety) and have also heard plenty of dogs who figure a way around them or decide spray is not scary so I did not go that route. If you do, I will be interested to read about it! It is easy to correct in dogs who do it right in front of you but our dogs are too clever for that, huh?