Three-year-old Porridge has managed to cause a serious amount of destruction in his short life.
Last year, Porridge took down the Christmas tree and tangled himself up in the tinsel and lights. He has eaten the cushions from three different settees – strewing the filling all over the floor. He’s ripped a bag of cat litter open, and a bag of bird seed. He’s shredded endless loo rolls and even chewed up expensive shoes.
‘He’s chewed up my tablet and mobile phone – including three bank cards that were in its case,’ adds Joy.
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‘He’s destroyed numerous teddies belonging to my granddaughter, he lives for straps on sandals and boots, I’ve had to sew them together.
‘He manages to kill a coat hanger almost daily I’m sure he likes to hear them cracking.
‘Nothing is safe on kitchen worktops and you can’t put it to the back thinking he can’t reach there – because he can. The amount of times I’ve turned around to get something and a slice of toast, or my sandwich has disappeared! We hide things in the microwave, oven and the bread bin.’
Porridge also loves foraging for snacks – and he’s even gotten into bottles of fizzy drinks, milk cartons and cereal boxes. Joy says she has a unique way of dealing with his behaviour.
‘My mantra is a cry of panic and then – “Porridge, you little sh*t. Give!”
‘And then try to corner him, usually at the end of the garden or on the landing, depending on the weather – and I try to prize his jaws open, whilst bartering with him, as I try to retrieve whatever he’s found and claimed as his.’
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Sometimes the rescue lurcher gets himself into some real scrapes by putting the wrong thing in his mouth.
‘He tried to kill himself by eating a box of rat poison that I had forgotten we had,’ remembers Joy. ‘He found the bag at the back of the pantry while I was preparing rice.
‘My son and I spent the next two hours and more than £300 at the vets with him – getting him to vomit. We were trying to save a bit of money on a takeaway by cooking our own rice… Fail!’
But this pesky pup has a serious soft spot when it comes to Joy’s granddaughter Alex.
In fact, he is utterly besotted with the five-year-old girl.
‘She was only three when we got him, and I don’t know if it’s because she’s so small or young, but he just knows he has to be careful with her.
‘Alex always wants to sit on the same chair as him for breakfast. She’s pulled and pushed at him, shoved her hand in his mouth to try and get her toys back – and from Porridge… nothing. He lets her do anything.
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‘And when she’s ill. He’s attached to her.’Joy says then when she discovers something has ‘been Porriged’, she heaves a heavy sigh. And no room is safe – he’s even learnt how to work the child gate into her bedroom.
‘He learnt that if he pressed up and down, in just the right place, he could open it,’ explains Joy.
‘I know when he’s in there because I can hear him introducing himself to my pillows – which I assume are female – and when he leaves, he’s always wagging his tail, and I’m left with a bed in disarray!’
Animal magic: how my pet saved me
Joy says that, despite it all, she loves Porridge, because that is what you do when you have a dog.
‘I read somewhere that a dog is a part of our lives, but we are all of their lives. Something like that.
‘If you’re going to kick off because your dog chewed something, or weed or pooed in the house – don’t have one. I treat it as an occupational hazard.’
And it’s certainly not all destruction. Porridge adds a lot of love and companionship to Joy’s life – and she wouldn’t trade him for the world.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Having a dog in the house means more bacteria enters the home and gets inside the occupants (one study found “dog-related biodiversity” is especially high on pillowcases.) In turn, people with dogs seem to get ill less frequently and less severely than people with no pets.
‘When I sit down with a cup of tea he’ll woof at me until I move forward and he can snuggle up behind me.
‘When I go to bed he’ll sleep at the bottom of the bed for an hour, then he’ll walk up, stand over me and lick my face until I lift the covers up and he can crawl under. We call it a drainpipe.
‘Mostly I love him cos he gives the best kisses. If it’s not big wet and sloppy it’s not a real kiss.’
Do you have a dog even naughtier than Porridge? Get in touch: [email protected] .