Most of you will know by now that Glacier seems to be able to chew his way through anything. It's hard to keep toys in working condition around here. I'm not entirely sure what his fascination with destroying toys is, but I have a few theories.
At Leader Dogs for the Blind, and several other guide dog programs, the guide dogs are only allowed to play with the traditional Kongs and nylabones. I think this is to prevent dogs from getting injured through ingestion of a squeaker and other such things. Monitoring your dog may be difficult for some blind people and so I think they have made it an all encompassing rule. With that in mind, it is no reason Glacier doesn't know how to play nicely with other toys. If he is given Air Kong products, he will sit down to de-fuzz the toy first and then crack it in two with his gigantic jaws. I attempted giving him a stuffing free skunk that he promptly started ripping to shreds until I intervened. He just has never been taught, from a young age, to be gentle with toys.
I also think Glacier has inherited the oral fixation that a lot of labradors come with. He has improved with age, but just six months ago he ate seven Brillo pads. I was freaking out. I didn't even know the house we were in had them where he could reach them and was not aware he had ingested them until it was too late. I searched grocery stores frantically for pumpkin, but it was not in season yet. When dogs eat things they shouldn't, pumpkin, if eaten, will form a smooth casing around the foreign object and help them pass it. I monitored him closely for weeks, but was not rewarded for my efforts until three weeks later when he threw up an impacted ball of Brillo pad. Someone was watching out for both Glacier and I because the eating of Brillo pads could have been fatal.
So, as you can see, Glacier just likes to eat things. He's even powered down velcro. Yes, velcro. I don't even know how that feels good going down, never mind taste. The frustrating thing is that everything that Glacier has managed to munch that he shouldn't, haven't even been my things. So as proven by the Velcro and the steel wool, Glacier is an eater and his toys suffer for it.
The moment that I was allowed to give Glacier toys I knew that i had a chewer on my hands. Brooke and her husband Huib from Ruled By Paws came to visit me when I was in training at Leader Dogs for the Blind. They asked me if I wanted a toy for Glacier and I said he could use a Kong since the school provided us with a Nylabone. Upon arriving at my room we gave Glacier the King black Kong to see what he would do. Destroy was what he did. Within fifteen minutes or so of having the black Kong, he had the top ripped off. I took the pieces in for a refund and the clerk said,
"well, what kind of dog did you give this to?"
"That one." I replied pointing down at Glacier lying calmly at my feet.
"Oh." Was the response and I was given my money back.
I think another reason Glacier is a toy murderer is because of the size of his jaw/head ratio. Dogs usually have a strong jaw because of the width of the back jaw. Glacier's is particularly large. If I place my hand under his jaw, my hand is about three quarters of Glacier's jaw width. He's got some chewing power back there. His nicknames range from "block head" (lovingly given to him by my Grandpa), "fat head" (my doing), "bobble head" (given to him by one of my friends), and some other variation of "huge head dog." I've seen dogs with bigger heads than Glacier's, but it's the width of the back of his jaw that impresses me. When I first met him, I said he looked like a chipmunk because his cheeks stuck out so far due to his jaw structure.
With all of that power it's no wonder he can crunch through a hockey puck in less than seven minutes; crack beef femur bones in half with one chomp; reduce elk an antler that is supposed to last three weeks to splinters in 25 minutes; and many other toys/objects that he shouldn't have been able to ruin. I am always when we go to visit other people's houses that have dogs because I don't want to have a fifty dollar toy bill just because he managed to munch up most of their dogs' things. I've just learned that I have to monitor him closely and take toys away that I know he will shred.
VIP Products, which is the sponsor for this month's "What's This Wednesday" give away has a toy tester program that I have joined simply because I want to see what toys will withstand Glacier's pearly whites. Depending on how many toys you get a year to test, the price of the toys are significantly reduced. We usually have to replace a toy once a month anyway, so I thought that I would sign up for the monthly program. This month's toy was the Toughies Square ball that seems to be alive thus far. Glacier has managed to put a little tear in one of the seams and the toy has sort of lost its shape because he and Roscoe were playing tug of war last night, other than that it is holding up well. That said, once Glacier is done chasing/rolling/tugging with the toy I put it up because it is when he is done playing this way that he lies down and goes into destructo mode. So, if there is ever a toy that you want to know whether or not it is durable, send me an email. If we've tried it out I'll let you know how it held up to "Fat Head's" Jaws of Steel.
Even though he might prove hazardous if you are a toy, Glacier is a great dog who probably wouldn't hurt a fly. I retract that statement: he loves chasing bugs. I always told Mr. K that I am glad Glacier's energy has been channeled into a positive thing because if it wasn't he could cause some real damage. Anyone read Marley and Me? :)